Only two weeks left to get your tickets
It is time for us to talk about the Australia that we want to live in, and how we want our rights and freedoms protected. There are great opportunities ahead for human rights protection in Australia, but also great challenges. How do we balance competing rights in a complex legal landscape? How do we keep improving protections for vulnerable Australians? How do we find common ground on human rights in a diverse Australia?
The Free and Equal conference is the centrepiece of a national conversation and once-in-a-decade event. It will take stock of themes emerging from Australian voices and allow us to hear from human rights experts, industry and community leaders on how we can advance human rights into the 21st Century.
The conference will be held at the Hyatt Regency Sydney on Tuesday October 8.
This conference is the centrepiece of our major project for 2019-2020 where we aim to host an Australian conversation on human rights. We invite you to take part in this national conversation and have your say on the Australia that you want to live in. Purchase your ticket now to take part in the conference and hear from experts on themes emerging from Australian voices.
It is your last change to take part in the submissions process – which closes on 8th November 2019. Provide a written submission and let us know what human rights matter to you and how respect for human rights can improve your life and make our communities stronger.
Dr Michelle Bachelet
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
Emeritus Professor Rosalind Croucher AM
President of the Australian Human Rights Commission
Dr Julia Baird
Journalist, Broadcaster, columnist and political commentator
Community and Human Rights Advocate, Football Victoria
Hakeem al-Araibi is a former Bahraini national footballer, currently playing for Pascoe Vale Football Club in Melbourne in Victoria, Australia. Since 2011, Hakeem has spoken out against torture and other rights abuses in Bahrain. In 2014 he fled Bahrain after being unjustly convicted of vandalizing a police station, a crime that took place while he was playing football in a televised game. He has since been granted refugee status in Australia and subsequently gained Australian citizenship in March 2019.
In December 2018, he went to Thailand with his wife for their honeymoon, but at the Bangkok airport was detained after Bahrain authorities issued an illegitimate INTERPOL “red notice” for his arrest. The 25-year-old footballer was released from a Thai prison in February 2019 after 76 days of incarceration. Today he works for Football Victoria as a Community and Human Rights Advocate.
Professor George Williams AO
Dean of UNSW Law
Reporter, TODAY Show
Professor Mick Dodson
Northern Territory Treaty Commissioner
Former Socceroo, Broadcaster, Sport and Human Rights Advocate
Award winning human rights advocate and lawyer
Non-Executive Director and Sustainability Advisor
Cathy McGowan AO
Former Independent MP, women’s rights advocate and community worker
The Hon Catherine Branson AC QC
Chair of the Board of the Human Rights Law Centre and Deputy Chancellor of The University of Adelaide
The Hon Susan Ryan AO
Former Age Discrimination and Disability Commissioner at the Australian Human Rights Commission and freelance advocate for the rights of older people
Professor Helen Milroy
Professor and Director of the Centre for Aboriginal Medical and Dental Health at the University of Western Australia
ABC Producer, Access and Inclusion Coordinator Arena Theatre
Founder of Tiddas 4 Tiddas
Media Spokesperson, School Strike 4 Climate Action
Artist and advocate
CEO of Keep Talking NT
ADVANCE AUSTRALIA WHERE? INDIGENOUS AUSTRALIA IN THE 21ST CENTURY
Join journalist and Gamilaroi Gomeroi woman Brooke Boney as she moderates a panel of eminent Aboriginal voices who will set the tone for the Free and Equal Conference. Thirty years on from the Mabo decision that changed the game for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander recognition, how far have we come and how far do we have to go in terms of the human rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples? What will the next Mabo moment for Australia look like, and what steps do we need to take to get there?
This panel will discuss the big questions around reconciliation, closing the gap to ensure access to basic human rights, and the importance of both history and living culture in helping us find the best way forward together.
FREEDOM TO VS FREEDOM FROM: BALANCING COMPETING RIGHTS
In human rights law, rights and freedoms are the fundamentals of the game, but as Dean and Scientia Professor George Williams AO (whose specialty is constitutional law), knows well, balancing competing rights (freedom of speech, freedom from discrimination, or freedom of conscience and religion) can be a particular challenge— even for the more adept players.As recent public debate has shown, the issue of competing rights can be fraught and furious. Though the discourse can often be combative, the real challenge in human rights law is achieving balance between different freedoms. How can the law help us find the right balance to ensure that human rights is not a game of winners and losers?
UNITY IN DIVERSITY: CAN HUMAN RIGHTS BE OUR COMMON GROUND?
Everywhere you look it seems communities are facing a crisis of clashing identities, different priorities, and differences of opinion. Just as the voices of marginalised communities finally rise above the fray, we face a crucial question: Should we break away into our tribal identities and alliances or try to keep to the collective cause? In such a divisive age, what is the glue that holds communities together? Can human rights be our common ground? And if they can, does selling the message of human rights for everyone require a new pitch?Sports broadcaster Craig Foster heads our community panel in navigating what might just be the major question, and crisis, of our time.
LOOKING TO THE FUTURE
Renowned American anthropologist Margaret Mead once wrote, ‘the young, free to act on their initiative, can lead their elders in the direction of the unknown… The children, the young, must ask the questions that we would never think to ask.’In looking to the future of human rights in Australia, Emily Dash leads a panel of young people who are facing the future head on, and ready to ask the hard questions. What new challenges await in a changing human rights landscape—one in which the footprints of future generations will be as digital as they are real? Will our human rights language need to change to adapt to new realities and ways of thinking? How should we equip ourselves for the challenges of the future, and who do we want to be, as Australians, when we get there?