The 2019 Phillipa Weeks Scholarship in Law for rural and regional students has been awarded to Aidan Hookey, who comes to The Australian National University (ANU) from Alice Springs, Northern Territory.
Aidan will be studying a Flexible Double degree – a Bachelor of Laws (Honours) and a Bachelor of Politics, Philosophy and Economics (PPE).
“I decided to come to ANU because the law program is very good, the employability of graduates is excellent and there are many career options after completing such a degree,” he said.
“In addition, my father studied archaeological studies here (at ANU) in the 80s and my grandfather taught law in the 70s.
“I enjoyed legal studies at school and participating in community engagement programs. I also worked as an assistant clerking for a sole practitioner in Alice Springs. That experience opened my eyes to a lot of legal issues that the community was facing.
“With this degree, I am hoping to eventually give back to my community in some way – that is the nature of a law degree, I guess. I love Alice Springs, so maybe I will go back and do some work there. A degree in law opens a lot of doors and allows you to make changes, and I am keen to do that.”
The Phillipa Weeks Scholarship in Law was established in memory of ANU Law Professor Phillipa Weeks. It assists dedicated and gifted students from rural and regional parts of Australia in completing a Bachelor of Laws (Hons).
One of its selection criterion is contribution to the community. Given his love of sports and Australian football in particular; Aidan joined the Redtails Football Club, which operates the Right Tracks program. This program was developed as a positive response to the growing disengagement of young Indigenous men in the Alice Springs region and aspires to engage and support Indigenous men through Australian rules football.
“I am a big sports fan and I play a lot of sports. I found that this was also a great way to give back to the community,” Aidan explains.
“The youth suicide rates in Alice Springs are disproportionality high compared to the rest of Australia. The program aims to address this as well as other mental and health issues, not just in Alice Springs but all over Central Australian communities.
“It is a great program. The coordinators are health workers with an interest in football and set the program up after a young kid took his own life. They run sessions in schools and talk about physical, mental and sexual health.
“Being part of the football team, I got to participate in these sessions, train in football and play against other teams from Victoria and South Australia. This way we had the opportunity to broaden our horizons that we wouldn’t otherwise have, but more importantly, this program unites all participants and eliminates discrimination.
“We even got [actor] Chris Hemsworth on board as our National and International Ambassador of the Central Australian Football Club/Right Tracks Program,” Aidan says.
“Receiving the scholarship is amazing and a huge honour; I simply wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for the scholarship. It is hard for people living in Alice Springs to leave secondary school and come to a city. It is also very expensive, so I simply would not be here without the financial support.”
“I think studying at ANU is a great opportunity. You have Parliament House on your doorstep and there are so many great resources available here. I’m so happy to be here - just stoked!”
“I owe a lot to the donors and those who fund this opportunity. I can’t thank them enough.”
Domestic applicants who apply for the Bachelor of Laws (Honours) through the University’s new Admission Scholarship and Accommodation application process will be automatically considered for the Phillipa Weeks Scholarship in Law based on them meeting the eligibility criteria and electing to be considered for scholarships.
ANU Admissions, Scholarship and Accommodation applications are now open to domestic undergraduate school leavers for 2020. Apply now.