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Julia McGrath
Candidate for Ballarat

Julia grew up in Creswick and, after several years interstate working in legal practice, has returned to Ballarat in pursuit of a regional lifestyle and to be closer to family.

While working in the Administrative Tribunal, Julia acted in a range of matters relating to public servants exceeding their legal authority, acting in ways that unnecessarily constrained the autonomy, rights and privacy of individuals. Julia’s ‘watershed’ moment came during her involvement in a landmark personal liberty case in which a person was unlawfully detained whilst under the guardianship of the Public Advocate, causing the Supreme Court to issue the writ of Habeas Corpus. 

This cut across Julia’s understanding of individual freedom in a liberal democracy and exposed the challenges of holding statutory decision-makers accountable under the rule of law. This, together with the findings of the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the NT, cemented Julia’s concerns that if left unchecked, those employed to serve and make decisions for us can come to regard themselves as masters. Naturally, the pandemic has exacerbated these concerns.

Julia believes that government should provide a limited range of core functions and services which are consistent with a safe and civilised society and do not unnecessarily constrain a person’s rights, autonomy or privacy. This begins, in her view, by treating individuals as rational actors, capable of exercising judgement and choice according to their own values.

Julia is also undertaking a Masters in Policy where she has a keen interest in the role of citizens in the policy cycle.