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Dr Vanessa Goodwin

Tasmanian Honour Roll of Women logo
Vanessa Goodwin

Awarded for service to Public Services and Politics; Human Rights, Justice, and Corrections; Community Advocacy and Inclusion; Arts and Media

Born: 22 April 1969
Died: 3 March 2018

Entered on roll: 2021

Dedicated to law reform

Dr Vanessa Goodwin devoted her working life to the service of the Tasmanian community as a lawyer, criminologist, Associate to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Tasmania, and later as Member for Pembroke, Attorney-General, Minister for Justice, Corrections and the Arts; as well as Leader of the Government in the Legislative Council.

Dr Goodwin was passionate about her local community, the law, social justice and disadvantaged Tasmanians. Through her work as a Criminologist, Dr Goodwin spent significant periods of time during her study with Tasmania’s prisoners, talking to them about their lives, why and how they had found themselves incarcerated. Vanessa dedicated her studies to researching the causes of crime, to prevent people spending time in our corrections system. This work has contributed to some significant law reform in this State.

Vanessa also conducted post-doctoral research on inter-generational crime through the Tasmanian Institute of Law Enforcement Studies and collaborated with the Australian Institute of Criminology to explore the role of inter-generational transfer of criminality within families.

In 2009, Vanessa was elected to the Tasmanian Parliament as the Member for Pembroke in the Legislative Council. As Attorney-General, Minister for Justice, Corrections and the Arts, she put in place key reforms in relation to bullying, the corrections system, reducing recidivism, and the Neighbourhood Disputes about Plants Act 2017 to help resolve disputes among neighbours about problem plants and trees.

One of Vanessa’s key reforms was the Tasmanian Government apology and expunging of historical criminal records for people charged under Tasmania’s previous laws that criminalised homosexuality.  In 2017, the Expungement of Historical Offences Act created a scheme to enable charges and convictions of historical offences to be expunged.

Vanessa’s dedication and pursuit of the law was recognised with the establishment of the Dr Vanessa Goodwin Law Reform Scholarship in 2019, supported by the Tasmanian Government, Dr Goodwin’s Estate, UTAS, the Tasmanian Law Reform Institute and many private donors. The scholarship is a fitting tribute to Dr Goodwin’s legacy, fostering and supporting the next generation of legal minds in Tasmania.

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