Welcome to Pod Rights, a series of podcasts that looks at different human rights issues over a series of fortnightly installments.
Many of the podcasts take the form of discussions between one of our Commissioners and an expert in the relevant field.
If you have a suggestion of someone who the Commissioners could talk to on the podcast or have a comment about the podcast, please email firstname.lastname@example.org .
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22. Involuntary sterilisation of people with disability
In October this year, the Senate Community Affairs Committee announced its intention to consider the involuntary sterilisation of people with disability. Despite the requirement for authorisation for sterilisation of girls and women with disability from the Family Court of Australia, or from state guardianship tribunals, the practice of non-therapeutic sterilisation continues to occur. While exact figures within the health sector are difficult to obtain, the anecdotal evidence received suggests that the practice still occurs both formally and informally. In this installment of Podrights, Executive Director of Women With Disabilities Australia Carolyn Frohmader, joins Disability Discrimination Commissioner, Graeme Innes, to discuss this issue.
21. Sexual harassment in the workplace
Recently, Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Elizabeth Broderick, released the Commission’s Working without fear: Results of the sexual harassment national telephone survey 2012. The research is the only national and trend date on sexual harassment in Australian workplaces. The survey is carried out approximately every third year and this is its third iteration. In this instalment of Podrights, Elizabeth Broderick joins Disability Discrimination Commissioner, Graeme Innes, to discuss this research and its implications.
20. The Grey Areas: Age Barriers to Work inquiry
In February this year, the Attorney-General announced the Grey Areas: Age Barriers to Work Inquiry into legal barriers to mature age persons participating in the workforce—namely for people aged 45 years and over. Under the Terms of Reference, the Australian Law Reform Commission is to identify these barriers and consider reforms to address them in Commonwealth laws, including: social security, superannuation, insurance, compensation and employment. In this installment of PodRights, Age Discrimination Commissioner, Susan Ryan, who was appointed as a part-time Commissioner to the inquiry, joins Disability Discrimination Commissioner, Graeme Innes, to discuss the inquiry and its second phase.
19. Principles to Promote and Protect the Human Rights of International Students
Race Discrimination Commissioner Helen Szoke recently released a new Commission publication entitled Principles to Promote and Protect the Human Rights of International Students. The principles are targeted at organisations and individuals working with and providing services to international students and they're intended to provide assistance in solving this ongoing problem.
In this issue of Podrights, the Commission's Race Discrimination Principal Advisor Rivkah Nissim talks to Graeme to explain and discuss the publication and the principles.
18. Disability and the ageing process
As we age, many of us will develop some form of disability. For this reason, the work the Commission undertakes in relation to disability discrimination and age discrimination overlaps in many areas. This week, Disability Discrimination Commissioner, Graeme Innes talked about these issues in a speech he gave at the Council of the Ageing. In this issue of Podrights, Graeme’s Media Advisor, Neena Mairata, interviews him about these issues, the policy that applies to them and steps that need to be taken to overcome the stereotyping that supports discrimination.
- Audio - 5 October 2012: Neena Mairata and Graeme Innes (MP3, 19 minutes 35 seconds)
- Transcript of episode
17. The Anti-Racism Strategy
|Dr Helen Szoke|
Earlier this year on PodRights we spoke to Race Discrimination Commissioner Helen Szoke as she led the development of an antiracism strategy for Australia. This strategy was launched recently in Melbourne and a number of Australian sporting and other organisations have already come on board. Helen gives us an update on the Strategy and also talks about racism and its impacts.
16. New President - Professor Gillian Triggs
|Professor Gillian Triggs|
The Commission has a new President and her name is Professor Gillian Triggs. Gillian was, until recently, the Dean of the Faculty of Law and Challis Professor of International Law at the University of Sydney. She is a barrister and a Governor of the College of Law, holds a PhD in Law from the University of Melbourne and has combined an academic career with international commercial legal practice. In this installment of PodRights, Disability Discrimination Commissioner, Graeme Innes, introduces our new President, talks to her about her life so far and discusses her aspirations for the Commission over the next five years of her term.
15. Report on the treatment of women in the Australian Defence Force
Today, Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Elizabeth Broderick released the Commission’s Report into the Treatment of Women in the Australian Defence Force. In this instalment of PodRights, Commissioner Broderick discusses the report, its findings and its recommendations with Disability Discrimination Commissioner, Graeme Innes. She also explains the context of the Review, the methodology employed by the Review team and the implications these recommendations will have for the Australian Defence Force of the future.
14. The rights of children and the people smuggling debate
|Catherine Branson QC|
As a country, we are understandably anxious that the rights of our own children should be respected when they come into contact with the authorities of other countries. Yet, between late 2008 and late 2011 – in the midst of the ongoing people smuggling debate - Australian authorities apparently gave little weight to the rights of young Indonesians who said they were children, holding them in detention for long periods of time. This has resulted in numerous breaches of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Last week, Departing Commission President, Catherine Branson, released An age of uncertainty, the Commission’s report on its Inquiry into the treatment of individuals suspected of people smuggling offences who say they are children. In this instalment of PodRights, Catherine joins Disability Discrimination Commissioner, Graeme Innes, to explain the inquiry, its issues and its findings.
13. Bystander interventions strategies for sexual harassment
Research has shown that sexual harassment is prevalent in Australian workplaces. There has been a lot of work done to find ways to prevent it, reduce its incidence, build awareness of what it is and develop actions that can be taken against it. The strategic importance of people who are bystanders, and their role in taking action, is a new area of consideration in this regard. Today, the Commission has released a research paper entitled ‘Encourage. Support. Act!: Bystander approaches to sexual harassment in the workplace’ written by Associate Professor Paula McDonald from QUT in Brisbane and Dr Michael Flood from the University of Wollongong. Paula McDonald joins Disability Discrimination Commissioner, Graeme Innes to discuss this important area of intervention.
12. International fieldwork in Human Rights
Many of the people who work at the Australian Human Rights Commission have extensive fieldwork experience which informs the work that they do here. Work in the international field is very valuable because it allows for a comparison between the way Australia and other countries deal with human rights issues and the effected communities. In this instalment of PodRights, Disability Discrimination Commissioner, Graeme Innes, is joined by a former member of the Commission's Race Discrimination Policy unit, Amy Lamoin. Amy was Graeme's principle policy advisor when he was Race Discrimination Commissioner. Recently, she has been working for Unicef in Liberia and the UNHCR on the Thai-Burma border, and joins Graeme to discuss this work.
11. Nominations open for the 25th Human Rights Awards
The Commission’s Human Rights Awards have been held every year in relation to World Human Rights Day, which takes place every December 10. This year will be the 25th Awards and, over the years, they have attracted some very prestigious winners. But you don’t have to be a high profile person or organisation to win an award. Some of the greatest achievements in human rights are made quietly by people who are diligently working, for want of a better term, ‘under the radar’. In this instalment of PodRights, Disability Discrimination Commissioner, Graeme Innes, is joined by the Commission’s Executive Director, Padma Raman, who explains what the Awards are about, what the categories are, who can nominate for them and how.
10. Working past our 60s: Age discrimination in employment
One of the areas in which age discrimination has some of its greatest and most destructive impacts is the arena of employment. Attitudes to older people are such that employers often apply incorrect stereotypes to mature age workers when deciding not to select them for a job. Yet at the same time, there are in-built barriers in things like workers' compensation, income insurance and essential professional licences that actively discourage employers from hiring older people and effectively push those people out of the workforce. To discuss this issue, Disability Discrimination Commissioner, Graeme Innes, is joined by Age Discrimination Commissioner, Susan Ryan, who has just released Working Past Our 60s: Reforming Laws and Policies for the Older Worker paper.
9. The Complaints process
One of the avenues a person can pursue when they believe they have been discriminated against is to lodge a complaint with the Australian Human Rights Commission. This is a completely confidential process in which the Commission acts as an impartial third party. But how does it work? When can you make a complaint, and on what grounds? What happens? And are there any other options? In this installment of Pod Rights, Disability Discrimination Commissioner, Graeme Innes, is joined in a discussion about the complaints process by the Director of the Commission’s Complaints Unit, Tracey Raymond.
8. Accessibility in public buildings
Most of us go into public buildings regularly during our daily lives and probably don't even think about the ramp at the entrance, the raised metal circles on the footpaths, the width of the doorways and corridors, or the braille or large print on the lift buttons. But for people with disability, these things are extremely important, making the difference between whether they can use those buildings in a safe and dignified manner or not. In this instalment of Pod Rights, expert consultant, Michael Small, joins Disability Discrimination Commissioner, Graeme Innes, to explain these fixtures, fittings and features that assist accessibility and the Standards and Guidelines that prescribe their implementation in public buildings.
7. Racism in sport
When it comes to sporting prowess and achievement, Australia has an outstanding record. Yet for all the massive highs in our sporting life, there have been shameful lows where the issue of racism has raised its ugly head in various guises. Despite the efforts of many, this issue remains – and it is not restricted just to elite sport. Yet there are many people committed to building awareness and understanding of this issue and to creating solutions. Play by the Rules is an organisation committed to preventing and dealing with discrimination and harassment in sport and to developing welcoming and inclusive environments for participation in sport. In this instalment of Pod Rights, Disability Discrimination Commissioner, Graeme Innes is joined by the National Manager of Play by the Rules, Paul Oliver, to discuss this issue.
6. Human rights education
|Dr Annie Pettitt|
There has been much talk about how human rights approaches can be built into our education system. What will this achieve and what will it mean to students? How best should it be done? What will it mean for people who grow up having been educated in human rights at school? In this instalment of Pod Rights, the Commission’s own expert on human rights education, Dr Annie Pettitt, joins Disability Discrimination Commissioner, Graeme Innes, to explain and discuss this issue.
5. National Anti-Racism Strategy
Australia is a multicultural country. Half of us were born overseas or have at least one parent who was born overseas. Yet again and again in work, in public places, in sport, instances of racism occur. The Australian Human Rights Commission is leading work on the development of a national anti-racism strategy. In this installment of Pod Rights , Race Discrimination Commissioner, Helen Szoke, joins Disability Discrimination Commissioner, Graeme Innes, to discuss the strategy and how you can get involved.
4. Age Discrimination and the Internet
Most of the older generation, those of us over 60, missed out on formal education in digital technology. The world of the Internet and iPhones, which are something younger generations navigate without a second thought – for their news, entertainment shopping and banking – is, for many older people, creating a digital divide in our society – a new form of age discrimination. With many older people lacking the confidence to go online, the need has now arisen to provide them with accessible and appropriate information and education about computers, email and the rest of the digital world. In this installment of Pod Rights , Age Discrimination Commissioner, Susan Ryan, joins Disability Discrimination Commissioner, Graeme Innes, to discuss this issue.
3. Marriage Equality
The Australian Human Rights Commission continued its campaign to allow same sex marriage by entering a float in the Mardi Gras parade on Saturday.
In this installment of Pod Rights, Chief of Parade and National spokesperson for Parents and Friends of Lesbian and Gays, Shelley Argent, talks to Disability Discrimination Commissioner, Graeme Innes, about how her son’s ‘coming out’ transformed her from being a stay at home mum from Queensland’s suburbs into a leading gay rights activist in Australia.
2: Human rights compatibility statement
In the Australian parliament, every bill tabled must now be accompanied by a human rights compatibility statement and a specific parliamentary committee has been set up to scrutinise each bill from a human rights perspective. But what does this mean? Is it a federal charter of rights by stealth, as some people would claim? Or will nothing much change?
In this instalment of Pod Rights, Executive Director of the Human Rights Law Centre, Philip Lynch, joins Disability Discrimination Commissioner, Graeme Innes, to discuss the implications of this change.
1: Constitutional recognition of Indigenous peoples
In late 2010. the government established an expert panel to consider changing our constitution to recognise the first Australians. After 12 months of consultations around the country, the panel delivered its findings to Prime Minister Julia Gillard on 19 January.
In this first instalment of Podrights for 2012, Disability Discrimination Commissioner Graeme Innes speaks to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Mick Gooda, about Constitutional recognition of Indigenous peoples and the Panel’s recommendations.
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