National Human Rights Dialogue

One function of the Australian Human Rights Commission is 'to promote an understanding and acceptance, and the public discussion, of human rights in Australia'.

As Human Rights Commissioner, I am keen to speak to and hear from as many interested people as possible. Questions include:

  • What are international human rights?
  • Which rights are most valuable to us?
  • Is there a hierarchy of rights?
  • Which rights are well-protected in Australia?
  • Which rights need better protection?
  • What happens when rights conflict?

The full enjoyment of human rights by all of us in Australia will not be achieved until Australians know more and care more about human rights. Only if we demand effective remedies in the case of human rights violations will they be secured.

Australians have a strong core national value of basic justice and fairness expressed vividly in the 'fair go' ideal. In opinion surveys over the last decade or so, Australians have overwhelmingly agreed on various rights as fundamental. Some of them received 100% endorsement including:

  • Freedom of speech about the process and functioning of government
  • Trial by jury
  • Freedom of religion
  • Protection of ethnic and racial minorities
  • Right to vote
  • Freedom from arbitrary arrest
  • Right to work
  • Protection of people with disabilities

Public meetings and seminars or workshops are being convened to discuss human rights in Australia and how they can best be protected. Commissioner Innes or staff of the Human Rights Unit will try to accommodate as many requests as possible. Invitations should be sent to paffairs@humanrights.gov.au

The following information sheets on different aspects of human rights are available at present:

Meetings which have been addressed as part of this dialogue include:

2005

  • Law School, Sydney University 25 August 2005
  • UNICEF Weekly Staff Meeting, Sydney 24 August 2005
  • 25th Anniversary of Solidarity Movement Polish Club Ashfield 21 August 2005
  • Sydney Leadership Forum Parramatta Town Hall 6 July 2005
  • NSW HREC Mtg, Centre for Peace & Conflict Studies Sydney University 30 June 2005
  • Marist Solidarity Day, St Joseph's Hunters Hill 24 June 2005 
  • Ethnic Communities Council of Nth Tas, Launceston 10 June 2005
  • Rural Australians For Refugees Tas, Launceston 9 June 2005
  • FECCA Congress, Nan Tien Temple Wollongong 27 May 2005
  • Reichstein Foundation Donor Circle, Melbourne 14 April 2005

2004

  • Unrequited Justice Colloquium, Macquarie Uni, Sydney, 30 November 2004
  • Lawyers Reform Assoc Meeting, Sydney, 17 November 2004
  • YWCA Week without Violence B'fast, Sydney, 28 October 2004
  • Aust Nurses Federation SA, Adelaide, 20 October 2004
  • HSC Legal Studies HR Conference, Sydney, 15 October 2004
  • Womens & Childrens Hospital "Grand Rounds", Adelaide, 29 September 2004
  • Multicultural Education Committee Conference, Adelaide, 17 September 2004
  • Chain Reaction B'fast Meeting, Sydney, 17 August 2004
  • Chain Reaction B'fast Meeting, Sydney, 17 August 2004
  • Nthn Sydney Refugee Forum, 12 August 2004
  • Aust Institute of Admin Law Seminar, Sydney, 4 August 2004
  • Racial Respect Group Meeting, Canberra 28 July 2004
  • Speaker at UN World Refugee Day Rally (Field of Hearts) Canberra, 20 June 2004
  • Speaker at UN World Refugee Day Rally (Refugee Action Collective) Brisbane, 19 June 2004
  • Lecture on Children in Immigration Detention, Women taking action Workshop, Uni NSW 17 June 2004
  • Guest lecture RMIT, Justice & Youth Studies students, Melbourne 16 April 2004
  • Monash University, Castan Centre for HR Law Workshop, Melbourne 2 April 2004
  • UNAA (Vic) Meeting, Melbourne 1 April 2004
  • Social Justice in Early Childhood Group Conference, Sydney 20 March 2004
  • Southern Highlands Rural Australians for Refugees, Bowral. 23 February 2004
  • Civil Liberties Australia, Canberra, 20 February 2004
  • Refugee Action Network Darwin, 2 Febuary 2004

2003

  • Speaker at ECCNSW End of Year function, Sydney. 10 December 2003
  • Speaker at Sydney Rotary Meeting. 1 December 2003
  • Speaker at ECCQ Regional Conference, Brisbane. 30 November 2003
  • Presentation at AGM of Survivors of Torture & Trauma Assist Rehab Service, Nth Adelaide. 25 November 2003
  • Speaker at Harkness Fellows Annual Dinner, Melbourne. 20 November 2003
  • Presentation to Aust Rural Leadership Program students, Barton ACT. 17 November 2003
  • Lecture to NSW Schools Constitutional Convention, Parliament House, Sydney. 17 November 2003
  • Presentation to NSW Young Lawyers HR C'ttee and NGOs, Law Society, Sydney. 13 November 2003
  • Guest speaker at Inaugural Diwali Mela Festival, Canberra. 9 November 2003.
  • Session Chair at International Committee of Red Cross Seminar, Parliament House, Sydney. 5 November 2003
  • Real Rights for Refugee Children Meeting with Early Childhood Profession, Yarra Victoria. 29 October 2003
  • Refugee Hypothetical, Curtin University Centre for HR Education, Perth. 6 October 2003
  • Human Rights Students, Curtin University, Perth. 6 October 2003
  • 28th Int'l Congress on Law & Mental Health, Sydney. 2 October 2003
  • Financial Counsellors Assoc Conference, Adelaide. 11-12 September 2003
  • Seminar to Kyoto Bar Association, Kyoto, Japan. 5 September 2003
  • Law Faculty Students, Melbourne University 27 August 2003
  • Human Rights Alliance Australia Meeting, Melbourne 26 August 2003
  • Chances for Children 2nd Birthday Celebration, Mildura, Vic 9 August 2003
  • Launch of Monash Institute for Study of Global Movements, Melbourne 24 July 2003
  • Political science students, Sydney University, 12 May 2003
  • Legal Studies Students All Saints College Bathurst, 9 May 2003
  • Bathurst Refugee Support Group Public Meeting, Bathurst, 8 May 2003
  • SA Family Support Assoc Conference, Glen Osmond SA, 5 May 2003
  • Harmony Week Function, Alice Springs, 23 March 2003
  • Wesley Mission Harmony Day, Brooklyn Park SA, 21 March 2003

2002

  • Chatswood Intensive English Centre, 19 December 2002
  • Holroyd High School Annual Presentation at University of Western Sydney, 10 December 2002
  • 8th Asia-Pacific Conference on Education & Culture, Adelaide 14 & 15 November 2002
  • University of Southern Qld, Staff/Students & Community, Toowoomba 11 & 12 November 2002
  • Developing Leadership for Mental Health Conference, Melbourne 18 October 2002
  • Faculty of Economics students, Sydney University, 14 October 2002
  • Waverley Council's Refugee Week, Waverley NSW, 9 October 2002
  • Great Lakes Branch of Rural Australians for Refugees, Forster, 2 October 2002
  • National Strategic Conference on Human Rights Education, Canberra, 23 August 2002
  • Delivery of 2002 Sir Frank Kitto Lecture in Law, University of New England Armidale, 8 August 2002
  • State Conf of Vic Confederation of Paediatric & Child Health Nurses, Clayton, Vic 3 August 2002
  • Aust Early Childhood Assoc Annual Council Meeting, Tweed Heads 19 July 2002
  • Equity Reference Group Lecture at Vic University of Technology, Melbourne 9 July 2002
  • Governor's Leadership Foundation Seminar, Adelaide 9 April 2002
  • Justice for Refugees Group meeting in Armidale, 3 April 2002
  • Muticultural Education Committee Conference, Adelaide University, 19 March 2002
  • Hosting of Bill of Rights Roundtable, held at HREOC, 1 March 2002

2001

  • 2nd Nat'l Conf on Reconciliation, Multiculturalism, Immigration and Human Rights, Geelong Vic. 1 December 2001
  • Equal Opportunity Practitioners In Higher Education A/Asia Conf ANU Canberra, 30 November 2001
  • Dougherty Community Centre (Launch of Northern Syd Health Cultural Diversity Policy)Chatswood, 8 November 2001
  • Jewish Community Service Board, Adelaide, 28 October 2001
  • Rotary Club of Sydney CBD, 22 October 2001
  • Forum on Gene Technology and Rights of Children, Tasmania, 29 August 2001
  • Human Rights Committee, Law Institute of Victoria, Melbourne, 27 August 2001
  • Mission Australia, Address National Management Team Meeting, 22 August 2001
  • Law students, ANU, Canberra, 10 August 2001
  • NOW We the People national conference, Sydney, 15 July 2001
  • NSW Justices' Association, Tuggerah Lakes Branch, Toukley, 9 July 2001
  • International Commission of Jurists (WA Branch), Perth, 29 June 2001
  • Forum hosted by Broome Shire Council at Mamabulanjin Aboriginal Resource Agency, Broome, 27 June 2001
  • United Nations Association of Australia National Conference, Canberra, 23 June 2001
  • Adelaide Rotary Club, 20 June 2001
  • Centre for Intercultural Studies and Multicultural Education, University of Adelaide, 19 June 2001
  • International Commission of Jurists (Australian Section), Sydney, 18 June 2001
  • Human Rights Committee, NSW Law Society, Sydney, 2 May 2001
  • International Commission of Jurists (NT Branch), Darwin, 5 April 2001
  • Tangentyere Council forum, Alice Springs, 4 April 2001
  • Migrant Resource Centre gathering, Alice Springs, 3 April 2001
  • Multiculturalism in a New Millennium Policy Forum", Brisbane, 29 March 2001