Relby’s Journey with DPM

Meet Relby Luke, the Principal Legal Officer for the Department of Personnel Management.

Ms. Luke who returned in September from Melbourne Australia after completing her Masters in Employment and Labor Relations Law.

Relby is from one of the D’Entrecasteaux Islands of Milne Bay Province called Normanby and is married with two beautiful kids.

She began her formal education in 1998 in a school that was established in the 90’s and still exist today.

Hohola Demonstration Primary School or Hox Dem as they use to call it back in those days.

She spent eight wonderful years of her early childhood in this institution.

“I must say, this was the place where many of the principles I hold at heart today were taught and I owe it to the teachers, especially my very first teacher Mr. Auri” Relby said.

After completing her Primary School, in 2006 she secured a placing at Kilakila Secondary School here in the Nation’s capital and spent another four years of her teenage life in the city’s capital.

“The four years didn’t come easy for me, especially having been raised single handedly by my dad” she recalled.

Family issues within her family were the biggest motivating factor that steered her in working towards who she is today.

Relby then made up her mind on her future ambitions, she decided to take up law studies at the University of Papua New Guinea in 2010 and successfully graduated with a degree in law in 2014.

In 2015, she was amongst the many lawyers that got admitted to the National and Supreme Courts of PNG.

Soon after being admitted to the bar, she secured employment with the department and have been with DPM since, hence making it her first employer.

She commenced employment as a legal officer and gradually took up the position of senior legal and was further promoted to principal legal officer before undertaking further studies in Australia.

Relby’s current position plays a significant role in supporting the office of the Secretary through the provision of legal advice on employment matters.

More importantly, the interpretation of the law that establishes the foundation of the department’s existence and that is the Public Service Management Act.

She also defends the department in litigation matter through providing support to the office of the Solicitor General and provide necessary legal advice to other wings of the department as and when requested.

In 2022, she applied for the Australia Awards Scholarship program and was privileged enough to have been awarded with this prestigious scholarship for further studies in Australia to study Masters of Employment and Labor Relations Law at the University of Melbourne for a year.

“Life in Melbourne was totally different from life in PNG and I can honestly say that after two days of arriving in Melbourne, I wanted to return home.

It was winter when I arrived and God knows how cold and depressing it was for me. Make matters worse, I kept getting lost in the big city.

Everything was at your fingertips or a button away but it was a whole new experience for me” Relby said.

She said her biggest challenge was missing her family, especially her kids who are very young in age and her sick mum, whom she just lost early last year to a fatal disease.

Relby also mentioned that being away from her family, friends and country made her realize that our mental health is a serious concern affecting our daily lives and that depression was real.

Despite these challenges, she pulled through and completed her studies and is now looking forward to attending her graduation which is scheduled to occur in August of this year, 2024.

Relby wishes to thank the Australian Government for the opportunity to further her education in her field of expertise and also the Department of Personnel Management for allowing her to take on this offer.

She also extends her appreciation to her fellow colleagues who have helped her in one way or another. “Never compare yourself to anyone and never look down on yourself, God has a plan for each and every one of us hence be patient and never ever give up on your dreams”.