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Vaishnavi Pappu

Vaishnavi Pappu

Research Officer


Vaishnavi Pappu is a Research Officer at the Centre for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance at the University of Canberra. She graduated with a Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Business Management (HR major) dual degree from the University of Queensland in December 2017. She holds a Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice from the Australian National University (2018). She is currently undertaking a Master of Laws exploring issues at the interface of law and policy (e.g., protection of cultural heritage during armed conflict).

Vaishnavi is a lawyer and public policy professional with experience in human rights (e.g., criminal, family, mental health), animal interests and rights, social justice and community legal education. She worked at the UN Global Compact on issues of global governance, gender equality, democratisation, social movements and environmental politics. She is currently a member of the Activism Leadership Committee (ACT and Southern NSW region) at Amnesty International Australia and an Animal Lawyer (volunteer).

Vaishnavi is passionate about community legal education, law reform and policy. She has extensive experience in the social justice sector and contributed to community law and mental health law at peak community legal centres. She co-launched an education and outreach initiative at the University of Queensland Pro Bono Centre called ‘Domestic Violence and the Law’, which contributes to better understandings of family and domestic violence (particularly in context of intimate partner relationships), who may be particularly vulnerable in our communities and how the law responds to the impacts of violence (e.g., homelessness, financial hardship, parenting, education).

Law and Policy - Research, Publications and Presentations


Vaishnavi completed a Graduate Certificate of Public Policy (with Distinction) at the Crawford School of Public Policy at the Australian National University (2019- 2020).

Her areas of focus include:

  • The institutional and political architecture of public policy in Australia (democratic backsliding, rule of law and judicial independence).

  • Process and methods of empirical policy research (positivist and interpretivist research paradigms).

  • Contemporary policy making and research (analysis, development and preparation of policy advice in contexts of complexity, crisis, risk and conflict in Australia and internationally).

  • Sustainable development and global development policy (emphasis on the 2030 agenda for sustainable development).

Industry Publications

  • Raising the minimum age of criminal responsibility (MACR) for children in law and implementing a MACR in the Australian Capital Territory (Addendum to Amnesty International Australia’s submission to the Australian Capital Territory government), August 2021.

  • Social Return on Investment (SROI) Model and Report to measure the social value and impact of a non-profit, Social Impact Consultant at 180 Degrees Consulting, June 2017.

  • Community Legal Centre (CLC) Mentoring Evaluation Report to improve the CLC mentoring program, Community Legal Centres Queensland, June 2016.


  • Co-designed content and presented to Year 6 Radford College students about equity and equality ('how to be the change' education and outreach), Amnesty International Australia, Canberra, September 2023.

  • Co-designed content and presented about the value of human rights education to a commonwealth Human Rights Act in Australia (Amnesty International national activism forum), Amnesty International Australia, Adelaide, October 2022.

  • Presented to school students at Amnesty International Australia Student Conference 2019 (social media, conversations and human rights 'urgent action' letter writing), Brisbane Boys College, Brisbane, May 2019.

  • Presented to solicitors and law students about access to information and patient rights under the Mental Health Act 2016, LawRight Queensland, Brisbane, June 2017.

  • Co-designed curriculum and presented to Year 10 and 11 students about Domestic and Family Violence in intimate partner relationships (community legal education), All Hallows School, Brisbane, May 2016.

Awards and Accreditations
  • Lawyer of the Supreme Court of Queensland (admission Oct 2018) and the High Court of Australia (entered on Register of Practitioners Dec 2018).

  • Pro Bono Award 2018, LawRight Queensland Mental Health Law Clinic, University of Queensland Pro Bono Centre.

  • Pro Bono Award 2016, for launching a family law outreach and education program ‘Domestic Violence and the Law’, the University of Queensland Pro Bono Centre.

  • Highly Commended Community Project Award and Individual nomination, Domestic Violence SpeakUp Campaign, Community Legal Centres Queensland.

Professional Experience
  • Lawyer (volunteer), Animal Defenders Office, Canberra (July 2023 to now).

  • Rights Activist and Activism Leadership Committee Member (Indigenous Rights and Education & Outreach Lead), Amnesty International Australia, Canberra (July 2021 to now).

  • Family Lawyer, Mazengarb Family Lawyers, Canberra (November 2020 to May 2022).

  • Sustainability and Gender Equality Intern, United Nations Global Compact, New York (November 2019 to February 2020).

  • Research Officer, Australian National University (School of Law), Canberra (August 2019 to February 2020).

  • Legal Support Officer, Queensland Director of Public Prosecutions, Brisbane (August 2017 to June 2018).

  • Industrial Intake Officer, Working Womens Queensland, Brisbane (August 2017).

  • Pro Bono Law Volunteer, LawRight Queensland, Brisbane (February to June 2017).

  • Social Impact Consultant and Team Leader, 180 Degrees Consulting, Brisbane (February to June 2017).

  • Family Law Intern, VM Family Law, Springfield Lakes (January 2017).

  • Titles Registry Intern, Queensland Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy, Brisbane (June to July 2016).

  • Business Consultant and Advocacy Officer, Community Legal Centres Queensland, Brisbane (August 2015 to May 2016).








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