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Book Event: ANU Meet the Author with Isabelle Reinecke (Canberra)

16 October 2023 at 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm AEDT

Courting Power event image

Isabelle Reinecke will be in conversation with Kim Rubenstein on Courting Power: Law, Democracy & the Public Interest in Australia.

In Courting Power, Isabelle Reinecke, founder of public interest litigation incubator Grata Fund, explores the importance of access to the courts for ordinary people to keep the powers that be accountable and our democracy healthy. It looks at how people and communities can and have challenged systemic gridlock across human rights, climate change and democratic freedoms to make change through access to the courts. It also examines the pernicious forces seeking to influence Australian courts, hungrily eyeing the impact of the far right on the US Supreme Court, and why political attacks on the courts are always sharpest when First Nations people’s rights are at stake.

The book takes us through the trials and triumphs of some of the public interest cases Reinecke has helped bring about-from one launched by Torres Strait Islanders to establish the federal government’s duty of care regarding climate change, to a High Court case on remote housing rights in the Northern Territory, and Doctors for Refugees’ successful challenge to government gag laws, among others.

In a world of spin and puff, inattention and information overload, media deregulation and TikTok, evidence and accurate information have never been so important. The courts are perhaps the last remaining place where facts are primary and hyperbole is ignored. Courting Power is a timely reminder of how ordinary people can rely on them to keep the powers that be accountable. A healthy legal system, one that ensures access, transparency and accountability, is fundamental to democracy.

ANU alumna, Isabelle Reinecke , is Founder and Executive Director of the Grata Fund, a body which has helped shape landmark cases that have shifted the dial on issues such as abuse in offshore refugee detention centres and humane housing in remote First Nations communities. Isabelle, who was named the 2022 Emerging NFP Leader in the Women’s Agenda Leadership Awards, has been a Churchill Fellow and Women’s Leadership Institute of Australia Fellow.

Professor Kim Rubenstein, lawyer, academic, author, distinguished human rights advocate, is a champion of equal opportunity and active citizenship. She is a Professor in the Faculty of Business Government and Law at the University of Canberra and an Honorary Professor at the ANU.

John McMillan AO, Emeritus Professor at the Australian National University and a former Commonwealth Ombudsman and Australian information Commissioner will deliver the vote of thanks.

This event is in association with Harry Hartog BookshopBooks will be available for purchase on the evening in the Cultural Centre foyer. Pre-event book signings will be available from 5.30pm and again after the event.


16 October 2023
6:00 pm - 7:00 pm AEDT


Kambri Cultural Centre
153 University Avenue, Australian National University
Canberra, ACT 2600 Australia
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