To mark International Women's Day this year we are celebrating some of the women who make our College a world-leading institution for legal education and research.
Dr Dominique Dalla-Pozza is a senior lecturer and public law scholar at the ANU College of Law. Her primary research deals with the Australian Parliament and the legislative process, especially the process by which Australian national security law is made. One of her main aims as a researcher is to continue to bring together ideas from the disciplines of political science and law to provide a richer understanding of the law-making process.
What inspired you to get into your field of research?
I was studying a combined BA/LLB degree at the University of Sydney when the first tranche of counter-terrorism legislation was introduced into the Commonwealth Parliament. That was the first time I could remember being really interested in how Parliament made laws in response to internationally significant tragedies.
Under the supervision of Professor Mary Crock, I wrote a law reform essay about some of those laws. A few years later, a friend of mine remembered my interest in counter-terrorism laws and forwarded me the advertisement for a PhD scholarship attached to the Terrorism and Law project that was beginning at the University of NSW. That led me to work with Professor George Williams and Professor Andrew Lynch. They were incredibly generous and supportive mentors, who nurtured my interest in national security issues and law-making.
What is a teaching/research project you are currently working on that motivates you?
I am beginning work on what I hope will be a multi-year project looking at the mechanisms which provide oversight for Australia’s national intelligence community. To me, this is a logical progression of my interest in national security law-making, as passing appropriate legislation is one way to ensure that our national intelligence activity remains democratically accountable.
Who is a woman in your field you look up to?
I look up to the current Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security (IGIS), the Hon Margaret Stone. The IGIS and her office forms a critical oversight mechanism for Australia’s National Intelligence Community. I particularly admire the way in which she balances the need to ensure secrecy, which is necessary for Australia’s national security community to continue its important work, with the recognition that it is important that the Parliament and the Australian public be able to be assured that national security activities are conducted in accordance with the law.
What does International Women’s Day mean to you?
International Women’s Day is an important opportunity to celebrate the significant impact women have had on shaping our world. It is a day where we can be grateful that we are the beneficiaries of the efforts previous generations of women have had to ensure that we live and work in a fairer world. It is also a day for us to take stock, and to continue to plan ways in which we can support the next generation of girls and young women to fulfil their incredible potential.
What advice would you give your more junior self?
Never underestimate the importance of being interested in, and kind to, other people. You can learn so much from them. This is one fantastic way to build up a robust network of people, who will often be happy to return the favour, and help you out when you need it.
See more Inspiring Women of ANU Law