Alex Cassie

2004 Collegian

Alex Cassie: middle

What I am most proud of is the founding of community civil rights group Search for Your Rights in opposition to the Barnett Government's "stop and search" legislation and the subsequent defeat of this legislation.

It wasn't until I read an opinion piece by academic Peter Van Onselen that the penny dropped that this legislation needed to be stopped. I asked around my friends who were more involved in activism than I was to see if there were any efforts that I could join.

The response was negative and I realised if I wanted someone to speak up about this attack on our rights, it would have to be me.

I set up the Search for Your Rights Facebook group to gauge who would help to speak out, and by the next morning had about 400 members.

I had a small committee who helped lead the group through its two peak years (2009-2010) and we managed scores of volunteers to do things such as distribute 2,000 flyers a week outlining the case against "stop and search" laws.

It was incredibly tiring and emotionally draining to see the legislation committee delay time and time again before finally rejecting the legislation.

Campaigning is hard. I learned how to manage a large group of people, manage my own time, and my own expectations.

Having a fantastic team of people working with me and supporting me helped me stand tall and get on with the job.

Most of all, it was the knowledge that I was doing something tangible to help the people of WA – including my friends, family, and strangers that may not ever know how close they came to losing those freedoms - that made me keep going every day.

SFYR is now a 3,000-person strong group that has raised awareness about stop and search, anti-association laws, prohibited behaviour orders and CHOGM special powers.

I have felt proud, not only of successfully opposing "stop and search" but also of raising the general population's awareness about civil rights issues at home. Perth and WA are my home, and it is heartening to think I have made a positive contribution.

On MLC: My fondest memory is of talking in class! I am sure my teachers would have seen it differently, but I always enjoyed the activity and vibrancy of a room full of friends. I also loved the time I spent in theatre productions, both onstage and backstage and winning the 2nd VIII Head of River race in 2003.