Friday 8 March 2013


Welcome to the March issue of the Australian Human Rights Commission's monthly e-bulletin, where we keep you up-to-date with our latest programs, projects and news.

Please forward to friends and colleagues who have an interest in human rights and social justice issues.

In this e-bulletin

International Women’s Day


International Women’s Day

Today March 8 is International Women’s Day.

The United Nations focus this year is a promise: time for action to end violence against women.

Sex Discrimination Commissioner Elizabeth Broderick took up the theme, encouraging Australians to recognise that violence against women isn’t just an issue overseas, but also an enormous problem in Australia.

She said it’s happening all around us – to women of all backgrounds and income levels, women with disability, older, migrant, refugee, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, and women of diverse sex, sexuality or gender.

“On International Women’s Day, I’d like people to stop and think ‘what can I do?’ – as friends, colleagues, employers or executives in large businesses – to support women living with violence, including making work a supportive and safe haven,” says Ms Broderick


Twenty Stories Competition


Governor-General Ms Quentin Bryce AC CVO at the 20 Years, 20 Stories launch

The Twenty Years, Twenty Stories film project was officially launched by the Governor General Ms Quentin Bryce AC CVO last week.

The films showcase twenty inspiring stories told on film as part of celebrating twenty years of the Disability Discrimination Act.

The films are now up on the website, and we’re running a competition to encourage you to have a look.

Each week you could win a $50 Coles voucher and a Twenty Years: Twenty Stories DVD.

To enter, all you have to do is state in 25 words or less what your favourite film is in the Twenty Years: Twenty Stories collection and why.

Email your answer to: Entries for week 1 close 12 March at 5pm.


Saving my language

This is the story of Laurie Baymarrwangga, told in her own words:

I am a 96 year old indigenous woman from the Crocodile Islands. I am also the Senior Australian of the Year 2012.

I am attempting to achieve something unique, truly remarkable and, as I hope you will agree, so very worthwhile.

For the last twenty years, the Yan-nhangu Dictionary Team and myself have been working to save my language - Yan-nhangu, the language of the Crocodile Islands.

Before 1993 there were only 300 words recorded, but we have now saved more than 3,500 words in which are embedded the rich natural, historical and ritual knowledge of the islands.

Read the full story at our Age Positive site.


Complaints from asylum seekers on Nauru and Manus Island


Asylum seeker boat

The Solicitor-General of Australia has recently provided advice on the jurisdiction of the Commission in relation to complaints from asylum seekers detained on Nauru and Manus Island, Papua New Guinea.

We can now clarify that the Commission WILL inquire into complaints received from asylum seekers detained on Nauru and Manus Island, Papua New Guinea.

However, the President will not travel to Nauru or Manus Island for this purpose, as the powers of the Commission in relation to complaints cannot be exercised outside of Australia.

Complaints can be lodged with the Commission from Nauru or Manus Island by phone, email, in writing or via a third party.

The complaints will be dealt with in the same manner as if they had been brought to the Commission in Australia.


A Path to Dignity: The Power of Human Rights Education

Path to Dignity

We had a full house for the screening at the Commission of ‘A Path to Dignity: The Power of Human Rights’.

The film is a 28-minute film which raises awareness about the positive role that human rights education can play in fulfilling human rights.

It presented three stories illustrating the impact of human rights education respectively on school children (India), law enforcement agencies (Australia), and women victims of violence (Turkey).

For those of you who missed the film, watch it here


Recent media releases

Recent news stories

Recent speeches

Recent Podrights

Episode 3 – (5 March 2013) - The Disability Discrimination Act: 20 Years 20 Stories

Friday 1 March 2013 marked 20 years of the Disability Discrimination Act. To mark this momentous occasion, the Commission felt that individual stories were a powerful way to get the achievements and importance of this piece of human rights legislation across. So we launched a project in which 20 filmmakers would make 20 films of 20 stories that took place over the 20 years since the DDA was brought in back in 1993. The films premiered at Admiralty House in Sydney on this date. In this instalment of PodRights, Disability Discrimination Commissioner, Graeme Innes surrenders his chair to his media advisor, Neena Mairata, who interviews him about the project and the stories it tells.

Go to for audios and transcripts of all Pod Rights.

Get involved - upcoming events

For the latest media releases, speeches, opinion pieces, go to the media centre on the Commission’s website at: