Pamela Curr AM

Pamela Curr has dedicated the past 15 years to fighting for the human rights of outworkers and asylum seekers.

Honour Roll

"I look at the lives of the refugee women I have met, who fled countries like Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan, and I look at the decisions they have had to make and I can only have the deepest respect for them; for their strength of character and for being able to do things that I have never had to face" - Pamela Curr

Pamela has been a tireless social justice advocate and worked with others to improve the lives of outworkers, culminating in legislation to protect their pay and conditions. She worked with the refugee advocacy movement to expose the harsh conditions in detention centres as well as assisting men, women and children to adjust to a new life outside detention. She assisted in the release of detainee Cornelia Rau by working with a trusted female journalist to find Cornelia's family when all other avenues failed.

"We all have commitments to those things we have decided are important in our lives," Pamela says. "Social justice and human rights happen to be the two areas that I feel are very important in my life."

After working in Australia as a nurse and midwife, Pamela worked overseas before returning in 1992 and undertook a diploma in welfare studies. This led to an Arts degree focusing on community development. In 1994 she watched a Four Corners program about outworkers, which showed women sewing in their homes for as little as $2 an hour.

"I immediately thought, 'that is not right. How can this happen when we have industrial legislation and minimum wages in this country'? That got me started."

Annie Delaney from the Textile, Clothing and Footwear Union was initiating a community-based campaign with the Uniting Church. Pamela was asked to join the 'Fairwear' campaign on a student placement for 12 weeks. She stayed for five years.

In 1999 Pamela also became aware of refugees and asylum seekers 'being detained in desert centres in appalling conditions,' which led her to the refugee advocacy movement. Pamela is now campaign coordinator at the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, which provides services to asylum seekers and refugees while fighting for their human rights.