Stephen Pallaras

Greek Australian QC Stephen Pallaras launches his own political party

-from Neos Kosmos, 7 October 2021

The former director of Public Prosecutions has decided to launch his own political party, named Real Change SA.

Stephen Pallaras QC hopes to run as a candidate in the upcoming state election in March 2022, he revealed.

Drawing on his legal background, the Greek Australian QC, who served as the state’s top prosecutor from 2005 until 2012, will run as an independent candidate in the SA Legislative Council.

“I have always had an interest in political issues, but I have been disenchanted by the lack of real actions by the politicians of both sides. I had a choice to either feel strong about it and criticise it all from the outside or I could actually do something about it and contribute to the community instead of trying to be critical of others,” Mr Pallaras told Neos Kosmos.

The former QC revealed his priorities as a candidate at the upcoming state election and his plans to run on a platform of improving domestic violence services, care and housing of the elderly and the state of the health system, as well as areas of law reform.

“After spending decades in court rooms and having a sound understanding of the challenges we face as a community I decided it was time to get involved and make a contribution in areas that I believe we need to focus on if we want to move forward and make progress,” he said.

READ MORE: South Australian ethnic groups join forces to help Greece’s fire victims

The former QC identified the low conviction rate among sexual crimes as a priority should he be elected.

“We have a situation in this country because of the legal system that we inherited 200 years ago that so disadvantages women. When we do rape trials and sexual related trials, of every 100 assaults that might take place, we get about one or two convictions, which suggests, on the face of it, that 98 women out of 100 are lying. Now that just can’t be right,” he said.

“There must be something amiss with the system, which I think there is, and I want to tend to and fix so that we get a result which is in the same ballpark of trials in relation to every other offence. It is a disgraceful situation for a socialized society that is also harmful to our children and his harm doesn’t die out but moves from the one generation to the next. It is unjust, unfair, cruel, and it costs the community a lot of money to imprison people and also look after people. The way that we treat those sorts of cases does not do women any favours at all and I want to do something about it.”

Mr Pallaras said he had developed certain policy ideas to fix the issues but it was “not yet the time” to make them public.

“I think South Australia has a lot to offer, it’s a great state, but there are many things that need fixing,” said the former QC whose family migrated from Kastellorizo to Port Pirie in the late 1800.

READ MORE: Early Greek Settlers: Pandemic, racism and the Greeks of Port Pirie in 1919

“My grandparents were amongst the first Greeks to migrate to Australia back in the 1890’s and I am very proud of how well they did and how hard they worked in order for us to have a better life in Australia,” he said.

Having qualified in Melbourne, Australia in 1974, the son of Evagelia and Alexandros Pallaras, was South Australia’s second Director of Public Prosecutions.

He is admitted to practice as a barrister in the High Court of Australia and in the States of Victoria, Western Australia, South Australia as well as Hong Kong.

 
Stephen Pallaras and his family. Photo: Supplied

During his career he has prosecuted and defended at both the national and international level in many high-profile cases particularly in murder, corruption, fraud, drug and sex related cases.

He has successfully prosecuted cases of international fraud and international drug trafficking.

In 2000, he was appointed as Queen’s Counsel and in 2005 became the Director of Public Prosecutions for South Australia.

In 2010, Mr Pallaras was appointed as an Adjunct Professor to the School of Law, University of South Australia. He is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

In 2012, he was appointed as a Justice of the High Court and Court of Appeal in the Solomon Islands.

Throughout his career he has been awarded many commendations for excellence including those from the U.S. Justice Department, the US Drug Enforcement Administration, the Federal Police of the Netherlands and the Hong Kong Customs and Excise Department.

In the international arena Mr Pallaras has held the position of Executive Committee Member of the International Association of Anti-Corruption Agencies and was elected as Vice President of the International Association of Prosecutors.

He has also recently been engaged by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community in addressing parliamentarians in several Pacific countries including Fiji, Marshall Islands, Vanuatu and Kiribati on issues relating to domestic violence and human rights. For his work in these areas Mr Pallaras has been described as a “Human Rights Champion of the Pacific”.

“I am a very excited about this new chapter and I am hopeful that our community will come along with me to this journey,” concluded Mr Pallaras.

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