Our Staff

Patrick O’Connor
Principal Lawyer & CEO

Patrick was admitted to practice law in 2013 and has practiced predominantly in immigration and human rights law since that time. He has extensive experience representing clients at all stages of the immigration process including at the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, Federal Circuit Court, Federal Court of Australia, Immigration Assessment Authority and the Department of Home Affairs. Patrick also has extensive experience in partner and protection visa applications, skilled visa and visa cancellation matters.

Prior to his career in law, Patrick was tertiary qualified in Psychology. He has previously worked as a general manager of a research and consulting firm and has extensive experience advising clients in the corporate sector.

In 2017 Patrick spent a year working as a lawyer in Europe at the Aditus Foundation which was based in Malta giving legal advice to refugees entering Europe who were seeking protection. The Aditus Foundation is one of Europe’s leading human rights organisations.

Patrick has a strong understanding of current immigration issues. He is passionate about social justice, human rights and refugee issues that exist in contemporary Australia and abroad today. Patrick has also worked pro bono for over 5 years at the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre and Refugee Legal in Melbourne.

Taya Ketelaar-Jones
Senior Lawyer

Taya completed her Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws with Honours in Law (First Class) at the University of Tasmania and was then admitted to practice in the Supreme Court of Tasmania.

Taya is the Senior Lawyer at Tasmanian Refugee Legal Service and manages the specialist Family Violence Migration Service (‘FVMS’). Taya also practices in the refugee and humanitarian area and assists client with a range of matters including applications for onshore protection visas and partner visas.

Prior to commencing at TRLS Taya worked at Women’s Legal Service Tasmania in family law and family violence and has extensive experience working with victim/survivors of family violence both in Tasmania and overseas. In 2019 Taya moved to Kiribati where she provided legal support to establish the country’s first and only specialist gender-based violence service. Taya’s practice experience across the intersection of family law, family violence, and migration law has equipped her to provide culturally sensitive and trauma informed legal services.

Taya represents FVMS and TRLS clients at all stages of proceedings including primary stage applications with the Department of Home Affairs, appeals to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, and applications for Judicial Review.

Melody Tan

Melody was admitted to practice law in August 2020 after completing her Bacher of Law with Honours and Legal Practice Course in Tasmania. 

Melody grew up in Malaysia and speaks several languages including Mandarin, Cantonese, Malay, Japanese and English. 

Melody was awarded a Tasmanian International Scholarship to study in Tasmania in 2016 and as a migrant with lived experience of the immigration system, developed a keen interest in migration law. 

In 2019 Melody was the recipient of the Vice Chancellor’s Award for Community and Civic Service, and volunteered throughout 2019 as a Student Adviser at the University’s Student Legal and Student Migration service. 

Melody’s interest, passion and skill in migration law developed during this time, which led to her commencing her legal career as a volunteer at the conclusion of her Legal Practice course with the Tasmanian Refugee Legal Service, before securing a contract at TRLS. 

Melody is now specialising in skilled pathway visas for Safe Haven Enterprise Visa holders. Melody also has experience in offshore protection visa, child visa, and partner visa applications.

Outside of work Melody is a talented musician and graphic artist and loves nothing more than snuggles with her cat, Mika.

Daisy Kateros

Daisy is employed to work on the Offshore Humanitarian case load. Daisy was working to co-ordinate TRLS’ response to the Afghanistan crisis in 2021, however, since being admitted to practise law she has been assisting our clients with broader casework specialising in split family and family reunion visa applications.

Daisy is passionate about human rights, and it was this passion that led her into Refugee Law. Prior to being contracted, Daisy completed her law degree at the University of Tasmania and her legal practice placement at TRLS and then volunteered with the Service for six months. Daisy has also served on the Board of Citizen Tasmania, an arts and human rights organisation and as the Public Officer since 2019.

Kawindi Batuwitaarachchige

Kawindi was admitted to practice law in August 2021 after completing her Bachelor of law and Legal Practice Course at the University of Tasmania.

Kawindi was awarded a Tasmanian International Scholarship to study in Tasmania in 2017.

Initially Kawindi was employed to on a short-term basis to work on the Afghan client caseload. Kawindi has been working closely with our Afghan clients in response to the crisis to complete and finalise applications as well as draft proposer Statutory Declarations.

Kawindi also works closely with our Ukrainian clients in response to the crisis to complete and finalises applications enabling their family members to enter Australia. Now Kawindi predominately works in offshore protection visas.

Kawindi has experience working at the Magistrates Court in Tasmania as a duty lawyer providing legal advice and court appearances for clients. She was also employed as a lawyer at Tasmania Legal Aid.

Prior to joining TRLS, Kawindi volunteered for Community Legal Centres and other organisations in Tasmania. Her volunteering experience includes Red Cross Tasmania, Worker Assist Tasmania, and the Tenants’ Union of Tasmania.

Kawindi has also volunteered as an event facilitator for individuals who are new to Tasmania from migrant backgrounds to introduce people to local Tasmanians to facilitate connections within the community.

Outside of work, Kawindi spends her time camping and exploring Tasmania.

Jarin White

Jarin was admitted to practice law in August 2023 after completing her Bachelor of Law with Honours and Legal Practice Course at the University of Tasmania.

Jarin is a lawyer working in the Family Violence Migration Service (‘FVMS’) where she assists temporary visa holders who are experiencing family violence. Jarin also practices in the refugee and humanitarian area, assisting clients with a range of matters including onshore protection applications.

Prior to joining the Tasmanian Refugee Legal Service (‘TRLS’) as a lawyer, Jarin was a volunteer with TRLS before working part-time as a paralegal in the FVMS.  She also volunteered for other organisations and initiatives in Tasmania including the Environmental Defenders Office, the Premiers Youth Advisory Council and the International Justice Initiative.

Quan Nguyen
Office Manager

Quan started earlier this year  as the Office Manager at TRLS. They hold a Bachelor’s degree in Communication (RMIT University) and a Master’s degree in Social Work (UTAS), which enrich their perspective in their role.

Quan’s career journey has been diverse, starting in university settings within the Student Engagement team, where they contributed to events and projects that enhanced the student experience. Later, Quan transitioned to social work, focusing on providing support to families from refugee backgrounds. In this role, they worked intensively with high-need families, addressing complex issues such as family violence, mental health, and separation in a new country.

With this wealth of experience, Quan shifted their focus to capacity-building projects and assumed roles at more administrative and operational levels, collaborating with various communities and group initiatives. They’ve also been involved in short-term projects in the corporate sector and worked with the Tasmanian Council of Social Services, prior to joining TRLS.

In their current capacity as Office Manager at TRLS, Quan’s experience and skills contribute to the efficient coordination of daily operations.

100% made in Vietnam, they have called Tassie home for over six years. Outside of work, Quan enjoys board games and jewellery making. As a proud member of the LGBTIQ+ community and a neurodiverse individual , they are dedicated to promoting justice and equity.