Zoe Bush’s passion for a cause has seen her make quite an impact since graduating from the Duncraig campus in 2009, including the honour of being named the 2019 Zelman Cowen John Monash Scholar, which will see her pursue a Master of Laws at Columbia University this year.
According to the John Monash Foundation, these post graduate scholarships invest in outstanding Australians from all fields of endeavour who demonstrate remarkable qualities of leadership and have the ability to deliver outcomes and inspire others for the benefit of Australia.
Zoe is humble when speaking about her achievements, referring to the coup as “intimidating”, yet she intends to use the scholarship to focus on the criminal justice response to Indigenous people with neurodevelopmental disorders – a topic she is passionate about and well-versed in.
Now a solicitor at the State Solicitor’s Office, a tutor and guest lecturer at UWA Law School and an elected member of the Law Society of WA’s governing council, Zoe has undertaken extensive on-the-ground research during her studies.
“During my university studies, I got a lucky break as a Research Assistant to Prof. Harry Blagg at UWA Law School,” she said.
“The research involved working closely with Indigenous communities in the Kimberley, police, judicial officers and corrections officials to identify and develop law and policy reform to address the causes of Indigenous peoples’ mass incarceration.
“That research led to my engagement as a Research Consultant for Amnesty International’s report on Indigenous youth justice in WA, and identified the inadequate legal response to Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) as a key issue that required further research – my research has since focused on the criminal justice response to Indigenous peoples with FASD.”
Zoe spent time with Indigenous communities in Brooke, Derby and Fitzroy Crossing during her research and in 2016, a Senate Standing Committee adopted one of her law reform recommendations to improve the criminal justice response to Indigenous peoples with FASD.
Zoe’s recommendations have also been published in peer-reviewed academic journals, presented at an international conference and taught at UWA Law School.
On a more personal note, Zoe has travelled through Europe and Asia with friends and spend six months in Copenhagen on an exchange program. She is still based in Perth until mid-year when she will relocate to the US to start her scholarship studies.
When Zoe isn’t tackling the big issues, you might find her cycling, reading or drinking wine – “preferably the last two hobbies occur simultaneously”.