The Premier of Victoria Hon. Dr. Denis Napthine in the presence of the Governor of Victoria, Alex Chevron, handed over the award to her. Also present were the Minister for Multicultural Affairs and Planning Matthew Guy, Shadow Minister for Multicultural Affairs Thelmo Languiller, Minister for Education -Hong Lim MP, Chief Commisioner Police Ken Lay, VMC Chairman Chin Tan, VMC Commissioners Mr Srinivasan and Marion Lau and others.
Molina recieved this award for using her skills as a solicitor to advocate for human rights, particularly in the areas of women and health issues. The award recognises her instrumental role in promoting the need for social change. Her involvement and leadership with many organisations she is involved with has assisted in raising awareness of specific problems in South East Asian communities, as well as advocating for the need of cultural equality within the workplace.
Molina belongs to a family of prominent lawyers in India. She moved to Australia in 2004 and after completing her Masters of Law degree from Melbourne University, has been practicing in Australia.
Molina Asthana is a Principal Solicitor with the Victorian Government Solicitor’s Office (VGSO) and is looking after Major Projects for the State of Victoria. Molina’s areas of expertise include commercial law, tendering and procurement and contract management. Her previous Australian experience includes working in top tier firms Minter Ellison (Mergers & Acquisitions) and Clayton Utz (Banking & Finance).
She also has significant experience in the Indian jurisdiction having practiced in the Supreme Court, with law firms in the commercial area and also as an in-house counsel of a big conglomerate. She has been actively involved in community work both in India and in Australia and has received recognition for it.
Whilst practicing in India she was involved in a number of Public Interest Litigations that were reported in the national newspapers. Some of the significant cases Molina was involved in included PIL’s on behalf of the parents of students of public schools challenging the unjustified fee hike by the schools and also a PIL to enforce rules in Colleges to prevent and take action against ragging.
She has been involved in significant community work in both India and Australia making the contribution that has got her the recognition today.
She is on the Board of four NGOs working on diverse issue facing the South Asian Community, including domestic violence, youth issues, illegal prostitution, education, health, cultural awareness and policy initiatives.
She is also significantly involved in the development of links within the Indian and Australian Legal
communities as well as the promotion of cultural diversity within the senior ranks of the Australian legal profession. She is the president of the Victorian Chapter of the International Law Association and also the Co-chair of the International Law Section of the Law Institute of Victoria. Law Institute of Victoria is the peak body governing the legal profession in Victoria and makes decisions about an array of matters directly affecting the profession. She is also a committee member of the Asian Australian Lawyer’s Association.
Molina also speaks on SBS Hindi radio regularly on legal issues of interest to Indians living in Australia with wide ranging topics from racial discrimination to consumer protection. She also writes in Indian newspapers on these issues.
Further she is also contributing to the development of laws in India. She has been consulted on the drafting of the privacy laws in India and has been acknowledged as an expert in the report accompanying the draft Indian Financial Consumer Protection Code, for her assistance in the drafting of the legislation.
She has been profiled in the Top 50 of the Indian community in Melbourne in 2012 and 2013.
She also won two awards at the Indian Executive Club Awards 2013, the Young Executive of the Year Award Female, which was a jury, based award. She also received the prestigious Person of the Year Award, which was given by Hon. John Howard, ex-Prime Minister of Australia.
She also received an award for ‘Excellent Achievement in her own field’, which was given by the Federation of Indian Women’s Associations in Australia on their 12th year Multicultural Celebrations of International Women’s Day 2014.