Free legal service founder awarded
Wesley Mission’s Richard Brading has been awarded the Justice Medal from the Law and Justice Foundation for his outstanding work in providing legal services to problem gamblers and for driving reform in response to the impact of problem gambling on disadvantaged people.
He was presented with the pinnacle honour by The Hon Sir Anthony Mason AC, KBE, former Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia, and patron of the Foundation at a gala awards event and dinner in Sydney.
Director of the Law and Justice Foundation of NSW Geoff Mulherin said Mr Brading was a “true pioneer” of the world’s only free legal service for problem gamblers and their families – Wesley Community Legal Service – which began more than 20 years ago.
“He has provided advice and representation to hundreds of people, in many cases turning their lives around,” Mr Mulherin said. “Richard has also taken gambling operators to task in an effort to reduce the social harm caused by problem gambling.”
Mr Brading is also regarded as an expert in the field of credit and debt recovery.
He is unwavering in his commitment to raise awareness of problem gambling and improve the response to gambling-related legal issues. He does this despite a significant hearing impairment.
Mr Brading has also provided significant input into Wesley Mission submissions to Commonwealth Government enquiries on the reform of the finance and banking sectors and the recent Upper House enquiry into gambling in NSW.
The CEO of Wesley Mission the Rev Dr Keith Garner said Wesley Mission was delighted by Mr Brading’s award and that it was recognition of his work among some of society’s most disadvantaged people.
“For more than two decades Richard has shown a courageous commitment to people in great need,” Dr Garner said. “His understanding and knowledge of the legal and policy framework of both the gambling industry and the finance and banking sector has helped change the lives of countless individuals and families for the better.”
Through his representations in court, Mr Brading has been successful in significantly raising the issue of enabling problem gambling. He prepared one of the very few court cases in which a problem gambler was successful in obtaining compensation from a gambling provider (American Express International v Famularo).
This judgement and other successes have had a measurable impact on the gambling industry. When the Department of Justice Liquor and Gaming NSW’s Responsible Gambling Fund conducted research into problem gambling counselling in 2008, significant positive feedback was received about the work of the Wesley Community Legal Service and Mr Brading in particular.
“As a Christian I have always had a desire to help the needy and less fortunate in our community,” Mr Brading said.
“I’m grateful that Wesley Mission gave me the opportunity to make a positive contribution to people affected by financial disadvantage and problem gambling.
“Wesley Mission has pioneered a number of outstanding community services. Wesley Community Legal Service was begun with a vision of creating a unique community legal centre that is integrated with Wesley Mission’s financial counsellors and gambling counsellors in order to provide a one-stop shop for people affected by problem gambling and financial disadvantage.
“I have been at Wesley Mission the past 22 years and my office has become something like a second home. I particularly value working in a team with Wesley Mission’s financial counsellors and gambling counsellors as well as my legal colleague Jodie Rollason, and more recently with staff who support homeless people.
“I find the John Wesley quotation – “to do all the good you can”- adopted by Wesley Mission to be very inspiring as it motivates me to use my time as effectively as possible to help our clients.
“Wesley Mission has always had a strong position on the harms caused by gambling in our community and I am pleased that this award is recognition to one aspect Wesley Mission’s contribution to helping those who are suffering as a result of problem gambling.”
Pictured: Richard Brading with journalist and broadcaster Stan Grant at the Award’s ceremony.