Gerard Brody is CEO of the Consumer Action Law Centre, an independent, not-for-profit consumer organisation based in Melbourne.
He is a passionate and articulate consumer advocate for vulnerable and disadvantaged Australians and has extensive experience in consumer advocacy having represented consumers on a number of bodies, including the ACCC’s Consumer Consultative Committee, the ASIC’s Consumer Advisory Panel and the Australian Energy Regulator’s Customer Consultative Group.
Gerard and I talk about
· Growing up in the unsexy side of the Grampians on a sheep farm and why he didn’t become a farmer
· Choosing the University of Melbourne to study because he didn’t want to go to university where his sister was– and the reason he chose law having more to do with his marks than a real passion for the law
· Why he ended up with a job at KPMG in their tax department
· Volunteering at Consumer law Centre (working with Nicole Rich ) – how volunteering creates job opportunities
· Explaining how the Brotherhood of St Lawrence works to fulfil its mission of “An Australia free of poverty”
· His work on the Financial inclusion saver plus program- supported by the ANZ providing a matched saving program
· How that program went from 3 Melbourne centres to Australia wide in 60 locations
· Funded from 3 occasions in Melbourne and then went country wide to 60 locations. Still funded by ANZ bank and operations funded by the Federal Government.
· Gerard Brody and providing staff an opportunity to develop
· The importance of longevity of the senior management roles.
· Consumer Action Law Centre- community legal centre with a vision for a just marketplace
· Also provides legal advice service, support for community workers, and offer financial counselling services through the debt helpline. Speak to 15,000 to 20,000 consumers each years.
· How to successfully transition from a member of staff to the ole as a CEO –
· How risk appetite has changed since taking on that role
· Naminge businesses who are doing the wrong thing is a scary thing and have had threats. Need to be really clear about the evidence that you have,
· Memorable campaigns – “junk insurance” focussing particular on credit insurance where often worthless or people rarely claim on it.
· Going outside one of the insurance companies in garbage bags and garbage bins yelling “stop selling junk”
· Developed the online tool “demand a refund” that included a letter people could send to their insurers generated 40 million dollars of refunds for consumers
· As a result ASIC also took action and insurers were required to remediate other consumers
· How can casework assist policy work – taking on a case can demonstrate the harms
· Role of community legal education, originally vey cynical as thought contracts should be fair. People knowing there is a place to call when they have a problem or that they do have consumer rights is something that is valuable for consumers to know
· Pitfalls of industry and consumers working together. Whilst there are great benefits you can spend a lot of time talking to industry and if you or your organisation get too close can get captured
· How to harness consumer voices
· Why vulnerable consumers do want to speak publicly
· Payday lending campaign, parents of young man who committed suicide and why telling that story was empowering for the parents
· Th effectiveness of working with financial counsellors. Lawyers learn so much from financial counsellors and vice versa.
· Hot new campaign CALC is launching is based around “scams”. And the premise that the banking payment system should take more responsibility for scam transactions.
· How to build effective relationships
· Why twitter is effective and why he recently joined Linkedin
And Find out what’s next for Gerard, not sheep farming in country Victoria I suspect
or drop me a line through the website www.lorettakreet.com.
#gerardbrody #consumeractionlawcentre #calc