Skip to main content

Annual Report 2007-2008: Chapter 2 - Human Rights Education and Promotion

Chapter
2
Human Rights Education
and Promotion

Back to Contents


A central function of HREOC is to
undertake education programs that increase public awareness and generate
discussion of human rights and anti-discrimination issues within Australia.
HREOC’s legislative
responsibilities are:

  1. To promote an understanding and
    acceptance of, and compliance with, the relevant Act:

    • Human
      Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission Act section 11(1)(g)
    • Racial
      Discrimination Act section 20(1)(b)
    • Sex
      Discrimination Act section 48(1)(d)
    • Disability
      Discrimination Act section 67(1) (g)
    • Age
      Discrimination Act section 53(aa)
  2. To undertake research and education
    programs for the purpose of promoting the objects of the relevant
    Act:

    • Human
      Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission Act section 11(1)(h)
    • Racial
      Discrimination Act section 20(1)(c)
    • Sex
      Discrimination Act section 48(1)(e)
    • Disability
      Discrimination Act section 67(1)(h)
    • Age
      Discrimination Act section 53(ac)

Human rights education is also an
international obligation which Australia has consistently supported. In the
earliest international articulation of universal human rights, the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights, the General Assembly proclaimed:

every individual and every organ of
society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching
and education to promote respect of these rights and freedoms and by progressive
measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective
recognition and observance.

Top | Contents

2.1 EDUCATION AND COMMUNICATION STRATEGY

Education is a crucial area of
HREOC’s work. At a basic level, everything HREOC does – from
resolving individual complaints to holding national inquiries – is about
human rights education and communication.

The aims of HREOC’s education and
communications program are to:

  • raise
    awareness about human rights and responsibilities, within the Australian
    context
  • stimulate
    discussion around key human rights issues
  • promote
    community ownership of human rights
  • promote
    awareness of HREOC’s complaint process and rights protected under its
    laws
  • provide
    information to the widest possible audience in a range of accessible
    formats.

HREOC uses a range of strategies to
communicate its key messages, including:

  • media
    engagement, with metropolitan, regional and specialist press, radio and
    television outlets
  • the
    President, Commissioners and staff holding consultations with a range of Non
    Government Organisations (NGOs) (including peak bodies), community groups,
    parliamentarians, business and industry groups, academics and government
    officers
  • an
    extensive and accessible website which includes human rights information and
    education materials for students, teachers, employers, government, media,
    community groups and individuals
  • curriculum-linked human rights
    education materials for teachers and students which are promoted on-line and at
    education/teaching conferences, workshops and forums around the
    country
  • new web
    technologies and social networking sites (such as Facebook and YouTube) and
    popular media (such as blogs, bulletin boards and e-forums)
  • publishing
    and distributing plain English reports, discussion papers, brochures, posters
    and other resources (CD-Roms and DVDs) on human rights and discrimination issues
  • hosting
    conferences, seminars, forums and events, such as the annual Human Rights Medal and Awards
    ceremony.

Specific human rights educational and
promotional programs conducted by individual Commissioners are detailed later in
this Report.

Top | Contents

2.2 MEDIA ENGAGEMENT

HREOC has consistently engaged with the
media to promote human rights issues. This is a crucial element of HREOC’s
public education function.

Each year the President and
Commissioners give hundreds of interviews to newspaper, television, radio and
on-line media outlets, as well as specialist, Indigenous and ethnic
media.

Extensive coverage of major HREOC
reports has been critical in drawing public attention to important human rights
issues and bringing about positive change in attitudes, laws and
policies.

All HREOC media releases, opinion pieces
and speeches are available at: www.humanrights.gov.au/about/media

In 2007-08, HREOC issued 154 media
releases and alerts. The President and Commissioners had 20 opinion pieces
published in major metropolitan newspapers throughout Australia and conducted
hundreds of media interviews resulting in a significant range of press, radio
and television coverage. Several thousand media enquiries were received.

Image of Social Justice Report 2007 Cover

 

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
During 2007-08, Commissioners engaged with the
media on a diverse range
of issues.
Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander Social Justice
Commissioner, Tom Calma, was extensively interviewed after the Social Justice
Report 2007
and Native Title Report 2007 were tabled in Parliament
on 20 March 2008

 

HREOC’s President and three
Commissioners contributed to public debate through the media on a diverse range
of human rights, equality and discrimination issues.

President von Doussa engaged in public
debate on a range of human rights issues, including: anti-terrorism laws, work
and family balance and paid maternity leave issues following the launch of the
It’s About Timereport and a charter of
rights.

Human Rights Commissioner Graeme Innes
was interviewed and quoted in a range of media for the state launches of the
Same-Sex: Same EntitlementsInquiry and report and on the
removal of discrimination against gay and lesbian people from all federal
legislation.

Commissioner Innes also appeared in the
media on issues related to refugees and asylum seekers, including: immigration
detention centres, the end of temporary protection visas for refugees and the
government’s decision to end the Pacific Solution.

As Acting Disability Discrimination
Commissioner, Mr Innes commented on access issues in relation to transport and
buildings, DVD and cinema captioning, and employment issues for people with
disability.

He made media comment on the
implications under the Disability Discrimination Act for taxi drivers who
refused to carry people with a disability and was interviewed about the
government’s decision to sign the
International Convention for
Rights of Persons with
Disabilities
.

In conjunction with the Australian
Electoral Commission, Mr Innes also promoted electronically assisted voting for
vision-impaired people in electorates around the country where this initiative
was being trialled in the lead up to, and on the day of, the Federal
Election.

Sex Discrimination Commissioner
Elizabeth Broderick promoted the findings of the
It’s About Timereport and had ongoing media
exposure in every state and territory as she undertook her national Listening
Tour.

Commissioner Broderick also promoted
debate in the media about the introduction of a paid maternity leave scheme.
This involved working with external organisations, such as the Australian
Industry Group and the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU), for the
organisation of a joint opinion piece for publication in major metropolitan
press, a joint media release and promotion of HREOC’s submission to the
Productivity Commission
Inquiry into Paid Maternity, Paternity and Parental Leave.

Ms Broderick also completed a range of
interviews on sexual harassment, the ‘glass ceiling’ for women in
work and gender pay issues.

In her capacity as Commissioner
responsible for Age Discrimination, Commissioner Broderick completed a range of
interviews dealing with issues related to age discrimination.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
Social Justice Commissioner Tom Calma’s
2007 Social Justice Reportand
2007 Native Title Reportwere tabled in federal
Parliament on 20 March.

Commissioner Calma completed a range of
media interviews about these reports and other major milestones such as: the
National Apology, the first-ever Indigenous Health Equality Summit and the
signing of a Statement of
Intent to Close the Gap
in life
expectancy rates between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people with the Prime
Minister. He also appeared in a range of media in relation to the
10th
anniversary of the
Bringing Them HomeReport and the
40th
anniversary of the 1967
Referendum.

Mr Calma made an address at the National
Press Club on 4 July and engaged in media debate about issues such as: the
United Nations Declaration on
the Rights of Indigenous Peoples,
alcohol management plans,
99-year land leases, changes to the
Community Development
Employment Projects
scheme and a
proposal for a new national Indigenous representative body.

As acting Race Discrimination
Commissioner, Commissioner Calma completed a range of interviews about racial
vilification and discrimination issues. In these interviews he addressed issues
such as: HREOC’s position paper on multiculturalism, the
Government’s Citizenship Test, protests against a proposed Islamic school
in Camden, racism in sport and HREOC’s
Community Policing
Partnerships Project,
which
invites Muslim communities and Police to establish viable projects to help build
relationships and trust at the local level.

Mr Calma also commented on the federal
government’s ‘emergency response’ in the Northern Territory
which breached the Racial Discrimination Act.

Each year HREOC promotes the annual
Human Rights Medal and Awards, which includes categories to recognise the
outstanding contribution to human rights through the print media, radio or
television. President von Doussa completed interviews both prior to and after
the event to assist in its promotion.

Top | Contents

2.3 COMMUNITY CONSULTATIONS

Community consultations provide a
valuable two-way exchange of information between HREOC and the many different
organisations with which it works.

During 2007-08 the President,
Commissioners and their staff met with a wide range of peak bodies, community
groups, NGOs, government agencies, business and industry groups,
parliamentarians, lawyers and academics.

Community consultations have been the
foundation of recent projects that have aimed to investigate prejudice against
Arab and Muslim Australians, develop strategies to strike the work-life balance
in employment and to respond to concerns regarding changes in Indigenous
affairs.

HREOC also employs seminars and
workshops as a means of sharing information about its activities, such as its
complaint handling role, or to discuss emerging issues in human rights
law.

Consultations held during the reporting
period included:

  • The Disability Discrimination
    Commissioner
    and staff were
    involved in numerous meetings with community organisations, advocacy groups,
    academics, employers and employer groups, federal and state ministers, and other
    members of parliament.
  • The Sex and Age Discrimination
    Commissioner
    (and former Acting
    Commissioner John von Doussa) were involved in approximately 220 meetings. These
    consultations have been with community organisations and activists, academics,
    employers and employer groups, unions, federal Ministers and other Members of
    Parliament.
  • The Race Discrimination
    Commissioner
    and staff held
    approximately 67 meetings, including 38 meetings with key organisations and
    individuals in Victoria, and 29 in New South Wales as part of the Muslim Women
    and Human Rights Forum. Also included was the Unlocking Doors Forum which was
    attended by various members of Victoria Police, the Islamic Council and NSW
    Police Commissioner, Ken Moroney. In addition, a member of staff attended the
    New Zealand National Diversity Forum and met with staff from the New Zealand
    Human Rights Commission and New Zealand Police Service to discuss issues of
    common concern, including those in relation to the Muslim community projects.
  • The Aboriginal and Torres Strait
    Islander and Social Justice Commissioner
    and staff held approximately 50
    meetings/consultations, including the convening of the National Indigenous
    Health Equality Summit.
  • The Human Rights Commissioner
    and staff held approximately 65
    meetings, which included consultations with people who are sex and gender
    diverse, regarding human rights issues that affect them.
  • In this
    reporting year, over 59 organisations throughout all states and territories
    either attended information sessions on the law and the complaint process run by
    CHS staff or were visited by CHS staff. These organisations included: community
    legal centres; professional associations and unions; Aboriginal legal centres;
    multicultural organisations; youth organisations; legal centres; neighbourhood
    centres and disability groups. Locations visited included Darwin, Alice Springs,
    Perth, Kalgoorlie, Melbourne, Launceston, Adelaide, Brisbane, Townsville,
    Sydney, Lismore, Ballina, Mudgee, Coffs Harbour and Port Macquarie.

Top | Contents

2.4 HREOC Website–
www.humanrights.gov.au

HREOC’s website was established in
1998. Since that time it has become the organisation’s primary source of
information dissemination. It is widely used by government, the media, schools,
individuals, legal, community and employer organisations to obtain information
about human rights and responsibilities and anti-discrimination law and
practice.

The HREOC website is maintained to
ensure that the most up-to-date information is posted daily. All reports,
submissions, media releases and other HREOC publications are available on-line
in a variety of formats.

Web resources also include an on-line
complaints form and information for complainants and respondents, a range of
curriculum-linked human rights education resources for schools, information
resources for employees and employers, a legal section which provides full
details of legislation and other legal issues, and information on the work of
the President and Commissioners.

Snap shot of the HREOC website
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
The HREOC website was completely
redesigned in August 2007 in order

to provide a superior service and
common navigation and style
across the entire site

Electronic mailing lists

HREOC offers subscription electronic
mailing lists, maintained by Public Affairs, to communicate up-to-date
information about current human rights issues, both at a domestic and
international level.

Interested parties can subscribe to a
variety of mailing lists offered on the basis of specific interests, including
human rights education, information for employers, legal and complaints, human
rights, Indigenous, disability rights updates, and racial discrimination and sex
discrimination. Subscribers can also join a priority list and receive the entire
set of information sent to all lists.

At the end of the reporting period there
were 18 628 subscribers across the various electronic mailing lists.

HREOC also maintains on-going
communication with teachers and education bodies through an electronic mailing
list, providing regular updates about:

  • the most
    recent human rights education activities
  • reviews
    and links to human rights education resources
  • reviews of
    particular sections of HREOC’s website that would be useful to
    educators
  • upcoming
    human rights education events.

Top | Contents

2.4.1 Major additions and improvements in
2007-08

Website redesign

In August 2007, the HREOC website was
redesigned in order to provide improved architecture and a common navigation and
style across the site. Introductions to each section of the site were rewritten
in a plain English style to be concise and easy to understand. New additions
included a ‘mature age’ section, a Community Partnerships for Human
Rights section, on-line blogs and audio and video files to download. The
‘Education’, ‘Legal Research and Resources’ and
‘About HREOC’ sections were also made more prominent.

Accessibility/usability
features

The HREOC website redesign employed
Cascading Style Sheets to incorporate accessibility issues covered by web
standards such as: the W3C
Web Content Accessibility
Guidelines 1.0
(1999), AGIMO
Web Publishing Guide:
Accessibility
(2007) and the
HREOC WWW Access: Disability
Discrimination Act Advisory Note
version 3.2 (2002).

In addition to the new visual design,
the updated website includes new accessibility features such as:

  • a facility
    to increase text size across the site
  • access
    keys (keyboard based shortcuts)
  • navigation
    (not graphical) text based headings for screen readers and people with visual
    impairment
  • new
    ‘print friendly’ features
  • a
    simplified process for joining mailing lists, and
  • an
    improved, more intuitive website search function, powered by the Funnelback
    search engine.

Major on-line publications

Major publications produced and added
on-line during the reporting period included:

  • information sheets, such as Discrimination: Don’t
    Cop it,
    a resource for young
    people, and Human Rights
    Explained
  • updates
    and additions to curriculum-linked human rights education resources, such
    as:

    • Bringing Them Home: education resources about the
      stolen generations
    • Face the Facts: Questions and
      Answers about Refugees, Migrants and Indigenous Peoples
  • Commission
    reports and publications, such as:

    • Social Justice Report
      2007
    • Native Title Report
      2007
    • Us Taken-Away Kids – Commemorating the 10th
      anniversary of the Bringing
      Them Home
      Report
    • Achieving Aboriginal and
      Torres Strait Islander Health Equality Within a Generation
    • Living Spirit: Report on
      HREOC’s Muslim Women’s Projects
    • gay, lesbian, bisexual,
      transgender and intersex equality pages
    • speeches and other presentations
      by the President and Commissioners
    • Human Rights Medal and Awards
      website section to promote HREOC’s annual Human Rights Medal and Awards,
      and
    • a range of legal submissions
      made to the Parliament and other bodies by HREOC.

Face the Facts cover image
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
A number of major HREOC publications,
such as the Face the Facts: Questions and
Answers about Refugees, Migrants and
Indigenous Peoples
teaching resources
and worksheets, were added on-line
during 2007-08

Listening Tour

In November 2007, HREOC developed its
first blog to support the consultation process of the national Listening Tour,
conducted by Sex Discrimination Commissioner Elizabeth Broderick. The blog
included an on-line diary from the Commissioner, featuring reflections of her
meetings with groups of people around Australia, as well as forums in which
users could write about their own experiences on the themes of the tour. During
the reporting period the blog received 51 982 page views, which equates to
approximately 85 379 hits and 7 647 unique visits. A selection of blog quotes
were used in the community guide of the Listening Tour.

Information for
employers/employees

There is an ongoing need to educate
employers and employees about their rights and responsibilities under federal
anti-discrimination laws, especially in today’s changing industrial
relations environment. On-line resources, such as
Work Out Your Rightsand
Good Practice, Good
Business
, provide practical
information about dealing with discrimination and harassment in the workplace.
Information for employers is available at
www.humanrights.gov.au/info_for_employers and information for employees at
www.humanrights.gov.au/complaints_information/WOYR

Top | Contents

2.4.2 Statistics

HREOC uses a web statistics system that
tracks both the number of visitors to the site and the way visitors use the
site. This allows HREOC to identify materials that are particularly successful
or popular and other areas that have room for improvement.

The site received approximately 11 195
404 page views on the server during 2007-08.This equates to approximately 73 246
868 hits on the site in total and 3 728 515 unique visits.

A summary of statistical information is
provided below:

Table 2: Visitors to HREOC website by page view
Section Views of section home page Views of all pages in section
HREOC Homepage
www.humanrights.gov.au 
280 576 n/a
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice
www.humanrights.gov.au/social_justice/
78 202 963 871
Complaints Information
www.humanrights.gov.au/complaints_information/
48 185 299 631
Disability Rights
www.humanrights.gov.au/disability_rights/
74 760 1 470 096 
Human Rights
www.humanrights.gov.au/human_rights/
71 186 983 912
Legal Information
www.humanrights.gov.au/legal/
47 143 588 544
Racial Discrimination
www.humanrights.gov.au/racial_discrimination/
53 139 315 148
Sex Discrimination
www.humanrights.gov.au/sex_discrimination/
166 560 687 302
Age Discrimination
www.humanrights.gov.au/age/
42 149 59 322
Information for Employers
www.humanrights.gov.au/info_for_employers/
23 663 204 223
Publications
www.humanrights.gov.au/about/publications/
71 160 n/a
Media Releases Index
www.humanrights.gov.au/about/media/
49 100 679 275
Job Vacancies
www.humanrights.gov.au/about/jobs/
51 438 58 522
Human Rights Education Resources
www.humanrights.gov.au/education/
n/a 939 141

Top | Contents

2.5 HUMAN RIGHTS EDUCATION
PROGRAM

HREOC’s Human Rights Education
Program aims to help students develop a critical understanding of human rights
and responsibilities, as well as develop the attitudes, behaviours and skills to
apply them in everyday life. It is guided by a clear set of education principles
and learning outcomes.

HREOC’s approach supports the
goals and direction of the
World Programme for Human
Rights Education
. The first
phase of the World Programme (2005-2009) is focused on supporting human rights
education in primary and secondary schools.

HREOC works with Australia’s state
and territory education departments, schools, organisations and facilitators to
promote an understanding of and commitment to human rights education.

Many schools, principals and individual
teachers have made concerted efforts to integrate human rights education into
their teaching practice, classroom activities and school communities.

HREOC produces a wide range of human
rights education resources for teachers, which are free to download. There are
resource sheets, worksheets and interactive activities, along with links to
useful Australian and international websites.

HREOC also offers professional
development seminars that support teachers with ideas and approaches to teaching
human rights and responsibilities.

Human rights education
principles

The modules that make up the human
rights education program draw students into real-life situations, relevant to
their own experiences, which can be explored in the context of Australian and
international law.

The teaching and learning activities
that are published by HREOC are designed to be:

  • contextual: human rights are
    discussed in social contexts relevant to the learners
  • skills-oriented: human rights
    education develops skills, and is linked with literacy, numeracy and decision
    making skills
  • cross-curricular: human rights, as
    human experience, are relevant to all aspects of learning
  • discursive: learning is based on
    discussion, exchanging ideas and values, understanding human communication
  • inclusive:
    allow all students, regardless of their learning styles/abilities, to
    participate.

Educational outcomes

HREOC’s human rights education
resources are designed to assist students in developing:

  • an
    understanding of what human rights are and an understanding of the origins of
    modern human rights
  • an
    appreciation of the meaning and significance of the Universal Declaration of
    Human Rights
    and other human
    rights instruments
  • an
    understanding of how human rights instruments are applied in Australian law and
    society
  • an ability
    to apply the concepts of human rights to their daily lives
  • an
    understanding of issues concerning asylum seekers and refugees, migrants and
    multiculturalism and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
  • research
    and fact-sourcing skills, and an ability to think creatively and to communicate
    information to others
  • decision
    making skills, within an individual, group and class context
  • literacy
    skills, including critical literacy, code breaking and comprehension skills,
    through reading and responding to a variety of texts, both orally and through
    writing
  • skills in
    describing, reflecting, interpreting, analysing, evaluating and higher order
    thinking.

Educational content

HREOC has linked its core human rights
education modules with curriculum frameworks from Education Department’s
across each Australian State and Territory.

Links have been established in a range
of key learning areas including Studies of Society and Environment (especially
Aboriginal Studies and Australian Studies), English, Civics and
Citizenship/Discovering Democracy, Geography, History, and Drama.

The resources provide significant
flexibility for delivery – teachers can incorporate individual activities
into an existing program or teach the module as a whole.

Educational resources

HREOC’s
Human Rights Education
Program
includes a range of
interactive, resource-rich, web-based learning modules for use in the classroom
with students ranging in age from 10-17.

The resources are designed to introduce
Australian students to human rights concepts in an engaging, relevant way, and
provide useful resources and lesson plans to teachers for use in the classroom.
These include:

Youth Challenge: Teaching Human Rights
and Responsibilities

The
Youth Challenge Program includes a website,
CD-Rom, DVD and teaching strategies and worksheets for use in the
classroom.

Youth Challenge
assists students to focus on
real life issues such as sex, race and disability discrimination, sexual
harassment and rights in the workplace and encourages them to explore the
relevance of human rights to their own experiences and communities.

Image of the Youth Challenge DVD Cover

 

 

 

 

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
HREOC's Human Rights Education

Program includes a range of interactive,
resource-rich web-based learning
modules
for use in the classroom

 

The
Youth ChallengeProgram is broken into four
distinct units:

  • Unit 1: Human Rights in the
    Classroom
  • Unit 2: Disability
    Discrimination – ‘But what about Doug’s
    rights?’
  • Unit 3: Young People in the
    Workplace
  • Unit 4: Tackling Sexual
    Harassment in Your Classroom

Bringing Them Home

This education module introduces
students and teachers to some of the key issues in HREOC’s Report of the
National Inquiry into the
Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children from Their
Families
. It gives students the
opportunity to research issues and engage in debate in an informed
way.

The education resources were updated in
2007 to reflect changes over the 10 years since the
Bringing Them HomeReport was released. The updated
version has activities that are based on the complementary poster, DVD and
magazine ‘Us Taken-Away
Kids’
. The activities have
been modified so that they are more user-friendly for teachers.

Bringing them home Education Module CD Cover

 

 

 

 

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Education modules such as the Bringing Them Home CD provide students with the opportunity to research issues and engage
in debate in an informed way

 

Voices of Australia: An education resource for Australian secondary school teachers

Voices of Australia: Education Module allows for the different
stories of Australian people to be heard and celebrated in the classroom.
Students will increase their awareness about experiences of diversity,
discrimination, race relations, friendship, and respect. The education module
complements the Voices of Australia magazine and audio collection of stories.

Face the Facts: Questions and Answers about Refugees, Migrants and Indigenous People

This education module provides teaching notes, student activities and worksheets, plus a range of recommended on-line
resources and further reading, for research, analysis and debate of the issues facing different groups in Australian society.

Activities to celebrate Human Rights Day

In 2007-08, a series of teaching and learning activities for the classroom were developed to help teachers increase
students’ understanding of the origin of Human Rights Day. The activities
provide a fun way for students to engage in the discussion and visual
interpretation of human rights.

See HREOC’s education resources
on-line at: www.humanrights.gov.au/education/modules.html

Human Rights Explained fact sheets

In 2007-08, HREOC adapted the on-line
Human Rights Explainedresource into a series of fact
sheets to assist university students, senior high school students and their
teachers to understand human rights.

The
Human Rights Explainedfact sheets are an essential
information resource about the development of human rights law. They provide
background to issues concerning human rights in Australia and in the
international arena.

There are a total of eight fact sheets
available on the HREOC website at
www.humanrights.gov.au/education/hr_explained/index.html

They are:

  • Defining
    human rights
  • Human
    rights origins
  • Human
    rights philosophies
  • The
    emergence of rights in law
  • The
    international bill of rights
  • How States
    commit to human rights treaties
  • Australia
    and human rights treaties
  • Promoting
    and protecting human rights in the UN system.
  • The fact sheets are supported
    by:
  • Case
    studies: Complaints about Australia to the Human Rights Committee, and
  • Human
    rights secondary sources reference list.

Information for students
webpage

Information for students
is an on-line education resource
for secondary school students intended to help them gain an awareness and
understanding of human rights; their origin and history, the development of
international human rights norms and contemporary human rights issues in
Australia.

It is a multi-layered website section
that draws students through a range of human rights issues. It includes a
‘plain English’ guide to what human rights are; common questions and
answers about human rights; an explanation of the
Universal Declaration of
Human Rights;
and more detailed
information on issues such as Indigenous social justice, ‘stolen
children’, refugees and asylum seekers, children in immigration detention,
sexual harassment and discrimination; and human rights in other countries.

Information for students
is also linked to other areas of
HREOC’s website that may interest students including:

  • Youth Challenge education modules
  • Voices of Australia education module
  • The Face the Facts
    publication
  • Bringing Them Home education module
  • Information for Employers resources

The site can be found at
www.humanrights.gov.au/info_for_students/

Screen shot from the Info for Students web page
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Information for students is an on-line education
resource for secondary school students,

intended to help them gain an awareness
and understanding of human rights issues

Promotion and distribution of educational
resources

The Education Manager promotes
HREOC’s resources nationally at conferences, forums and university
pre-service lectures. The President and Commissioners often provide keynote
addresses to educational conferences.

HREOC regularly promotes its human
rights resources by sending postcards, CD-Roms, DVDs and other hard copy
education materials to professional teachers associations and schools, together
with order forms.

HREOC has also developed partnerships
with educational groups and institutions that distribute information and
resources to teachers and students.

Usage of on-line educational
resources

HREOC’s on-line human rights
education resources are widely used by educators, both nationally and
internationally. During the 2007-08 financial year, the resources received 939
141 page views.

Table 3: Usage of HREOC on-line human rights education resources
Human Rights Education Resources Page views
Voices of Australia 68 720
Youth Challenge Education Module 87 704
Bringing Them Home Education Module 96 731
Information for Teachers 392 974
Information for Students 116 860
Face the Facts Education Module 34 000
Face the Facts Publication 65 607
Human Rights Explained 44 817
A last resort? Teaching Resources 6 440
A last resort? Summary Guide 25 288

Top | Contents

2.6 HREOC PUBLICATIONS AND
RESOURCES

In 2007-08, a total of 66 058
publications were sent out to 4 692 requests. This is a reduction in the number
of publications distributed in 2006-07 and is a reflection of HREOC’s
commitment to making more publications available electronically as downloads
from the website. These figures do not take into account the number and location
of resources distributed by Commissioners and Commission staff as part of
consultations, seminars and other public engagements.

The most popular publications were:
The Human Rights
Commission’s complaint process
(4 658),
Face the facts(2 555),
The Good, the Bad and the
Ugly: Design and Construction for Access
CD-Rom (2 222) and the general
Human Rights and Equal
Opportunity Commission
brochure
(4 085). This illustrates the popularity of CDs as a stand-alone format rather
than just an alternative format.

Most HREOC publications can also be
downloaded in electronic format from the website. The on-line publications page
provides links to lists of publications by subject area, an order form and a
list of recent publications.

A list of publications released during
2007-08 can be found at Appendix 2 of this Report.

Translations

HREOC publishes material in a wide range
of formats to a diverse group of people and communities. In 2008, HREOC produced
a poster with complaints information in 16 languages which has been distributed
to 3 000 multicultural centres around Australia. In 2007, HREOC produced and
distributed a HREOC DVD which has been translated into seven
languages.

HREOC has also provided on-line
translations of some core publications in various languages, including the
general Human Rights and
Equal Opportunity Commission
brochure and
The Human Rights
Commission’s Complaint Process
brochure.

Accessibility

HREOC makes sure that, where possible,
resources are published in formats that are accessible to people with
disability. Requests for publications in large print, Braille, or audio are
referred to the Public Affairs section.

When producing CDs and DVDs, HREOC
considers a range of principles regarding accessibility requirements. Public
Affairs ensures DVDs have audio description menus and/or captions, and DVD
covers are marked to reflect the accessibility features available.

Top | Contents

2.7 2007 HUMAN RIGHTS MEDAL AND
AWARDS

Each year since 1987, the prestigious
Human Rights Medal has recognised individuals who have made an outstanding
contribution to the promotion and protection of human rights in Australia.
Additionally, seven different award categories recognise and acknowledge
outstanding contributions to human rights, social justice and equality made by
individuals and organisations in seven specific vocations.

The
20th
Human Rights Medal and Awards
ceremony was held in the Grand Ballroom at Sydney’s Sheraton on the Park
hotel on Friday, 10 December from midday to 3pm.

390 people attended the gala awards
ceremony. President von Doussa delivered the annual Human Rights Day Oration,
available on-line at
www.humanrights.gov.au/about/media/speeches/speeches_president/2007/
20071210_HumanRightsOration.html
Journalist and personality, Julie McCrossin,
was the MC.

A photographic exhibition,
Land is Life,by award winners, the Northern
Land Council, was displayed in the foyer.

The Human Rights Medal winner, award
winners and highly commended nominees from a strong field for each of the seven
categories were announced at the ceremony.

HREOC congratulates all the winners,
highly commended and shortlisted entries for their achievements, and thanks all
of those who nominated for their support of the Awards, and their commitment and
dedication to promoting human rights in Australia.

Information about the award winners,
including audio of acceptance interviews, is available on the HREOC website at
www.humanrights.gov.au/about/hr_awards/index.html

Top | Contents

2.7.1 Human Rights Medal

The Human Rights Medal is awarded to an
individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the advancement of human
rights in Australia.

Winner: Mr Jeremy Jones AM

The Human Rights Medal was awarded to Mr
Jones because of his dedication and consistently outstanding achievements in the
human rights arena over the last three decades.

Mr Jones is an advocate who has
dedicated his life to promoting freedom from racial discrimination, persecution,
harassment and freedom of religion. Over his 30 year career Mr Jones has
tirelessly undertaken voluntary work within Indigenous, Jewish and Muslim
communities as well as other minority groups. His commitment to human rights has
seen him travel the world to speak publicly and to meet and work with others
opposing racism. He has been the Co-Chair of the Australian National Dialogue of
Christians, Muslims and Jews since 2004, was the Australian delegate to the
World Jewish Congress in 2006 and President of the Executive Council of
Australian Jewry from 2001-2004.

For more than 20 years Mr Jones has
provided expert analysis and commentary to the national and international media
on racism issues in Australia. In addition, he has given hundreds of lectures to
schools, universities, service organisations and other forums, using education
as a means of building tolerance.

In 2004, he was awarded the Federation
of Ethnic Communities’ Medal for his contribution to multiculturalism. In
2005, he was made a member of the Order of Australia. In 2006, he was made an
Honorary Life Member of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry.

Top | Contents

2.7.2 Law Award (Sponsored by the Law Council of
Australia)

Winner: Redfern Legal Centre

Redfern Legal Centre, in Sydney, was
established in 1977 and has been providing free legal advice, legal services and
legal education to disadvantaged people, and the groups who advocate for them,
ever since. The centre has also campaigned tirelessly to reduce inequalities and
defects in the legal system and the administrative and social practices that
impact upon disadvantaged people.

The centre operates on a very limited
budget. It relies heavily on volunteer labour and pro-bono assistance from legal
professionals to service a heavy caseload and clients that number in the
thousands. A very high proportion of the centre’s clients are from
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and Culturally and Linguistically Diverse
communities.

One of the centre’s major
achievements has been the coordination of the innovative Redfern Women’s
Domestic Violence Court Assistance Scheme, which aims to ensure that women
seeking a restraining order have access to both legal assistance and to any
other support services they may require (such as housing, income support and
counselling). The scheme is widely recognised as a successful model for
providing women who suffer domestic violence with the support that they need.

Photo of Mr Jeremy Jones AM and Father Chris Riley AM
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Mr Jeremy Jones AM is presented
with the 2007 Human Rights Medal
by the 2006 winner, Father

Chris Riley AM

Much of the centre’s activities
are concerned with domestic violence, disability discrimination, racial
discrimination and Indigenous issues.

Top | Contents

2.7.3 Community Award (Individual)

Winner: Dr Jamal Rifi

Dr Rifi received this award because of
his deeply-felt commitment to achieving practical outcomes for community harmony
in a number of different ways, particularly through sport.

Dr Rifi is a GP, an active community
volunteer and President of the Lakemba Sports and Recreation Club. Under his
Presidency, the club has provided disadvantaged community members with equal
opportunity to participate in affordable sporting activities, and membership has
grown from 100 members in 2003 to over 600 in 2007. He has seen the club become
the base for community meetings (including the women’s group for Islamic
studies and fitness and senior citizens social group evenings). He has also
mounted innovative projects such as training 22 young Muslim people to become
surf lifesavers in the wake of the Cronulla riots.

Dr Rifi has donated his time to many
community and government agencies, contributing expertise to advisory committees
such as the Youth Partnership with Arabic Speaking Communities and the National
Action Plan to Build on Social Cohesion, Harmony and Security. He is also a
founding member of Muslim Doctors Against Violence and the Muslim Christian
Friendship Society.

Top | Contents

2.7.4 Community Award (Organisation)

Winner: Northern Land
Council

The Northern Land Council (NLC) received
this award for its hard work and dedication to overcoming Indigenous
disadvantage and to achieving outcomes that will enhance the human rights of
traditional Aboriginal owners.

THE NLC was established as an
independent statutory authority in 1973 to advocate for Aboriginal people of the
Top End. It assists Aboriginal people in the northern region of the Territory to
acquire and manage their traditional lands and seas. It provides its services to
over 40 000 Aboriginal people (70 per cent of NT Indigenous population), and has
been at the forefront of many struggles to protect sacred sites as well as
economic and political interests.

Photo of the banner 'Land is life'

 

 

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
The Northern Land Council's
photographic exhibition, Land is Life,

was displayed at the 2007 Human

Rights medal and Awards ceremony

 

 

Among its other achievements have been
the West Arnhem Land Fire
Abatement Project,
which won the
Australian Museum’s inaugural Eureka Prize for Innovative Solutions to
Climate Change; and the Carpentaria Ghost Net
Project,
which aims to rid the
Gulf of lost or abandoned fishing nets. Additionally, during 2006-07, NLC placed
80 Aboriginal people in full-time employment with secure career
prospects.

Top | Contents

2.7.5 Radio Award

Winner:
Positive Teens
produced by Julie Kimberley
– ABC Radio National,
Life
Matters

Positive Teens
dealt with the prejudice,
secrecy and stigma faced by young HIV positive people who had contracted the
virus from their mothers. In exploring what is a sometimes hidden and not well
understood issue, the people interviewed talked openly about discovering they
were HIV positive, of losing their mothers (and fathers and siblings) to the
illness at very young ages, and of having to make decisions about trust and
disclosure almost every day – often having to move schools and break
friendships in the process to keep their secret safe.

It was considered that, through airing
the complex realities of life for these young people,
Positive Teenspowerfully educated listeners
about the injustices and hardship caused by attitudes that discriminate against
those who are different. The candour, bravery and honesty with which the young
people concerned told of their deepest feelings was considered a testament, not
only to them, but to the interviewing skills of the journalist, Julie
Kimberley.

Top | Contents

2.7.6 Print Media Award

Winner:
Dead Men Working
(series) by Matthew Moore and
Malcolm Knox,
Sydney
Morning Herald

Dead Men Working
ran in the
Sydney Morning Heraldon 28 and 29 August 2007. It was
a special investigation that exposed blatant breaches of the 457 skilled worker
visa scheme which allowed employers to sponsor thousands of foreigners to come
here to do jobs that Australians cannot or will not do. It delved deeply into
the hidden world of exploited guest workers who are too afraid of being sacked
or sent home to speak out about abuses to which they were being subjected. The
articles focused public attention on the fact that some of the worst of human
rights breaches – discrimination, abuse, exploitation and slavery –
are actually taking place in our country today.

It was felt that the Human Rights Print
Media Award should go to this series because it exemplified the contribution the
print media can make to better awareness and protection of human rights in
Australia. In writing these articles, the journalists contributed to government
action, and an increase in public demand for, the introduction of reforms to the
temporary visa system that would better protect the rights of all people coming
to Australia.

Top | Contents

2.7.7 Arts Non-Fiction Award

Winner:
Alone on the Soaks
– The Life and Times of Alec Kruger,
by Alec Kruger and Gerard
Waterford

Alone on the Soaks – The
Life and Times of Alec Kruger
is
a sweeping story of dispossession, discrimination and disappointment and of
pride, determination and triumph. It recounts Mr Kruger’s life story from
the time when he became a stolen child, barely surviving, to the position he is
in today as a wise and respected man with a large and successful family. The
book documents how, as a stolen child, he not only had his family life taken
from him, but his language, his culture, his wages, and time and time again, his
human rights.

It takes its title from an event early
in Mr Kruger’s life when he was left alone in the bush, without supplies,
gun or bush skills, to maintain a soak for watering cattle.

Mr Kruger was a key informant of the
1997 Bringing Them Home
Report that followed the
two-year Royal Commission into the removal of Aboriginal children from their
families. He was also among the first people who took their need for recognition
further. He did this by testing, in the High Court, the legality of the
Aboriginal ordinances that allowed the authorities to remove Aboriginal children
throughout the 20th Century.

It was felt that the events of Mr
Kruger’s life, as depicted in this memoir, help us to understand not only
what has happened over the last 80 years, but also the impact of events on
individual Australian communities. It shows that the first step toward achieving
social justice is talking about, and listening to, each other’s stories.
The second step is recognising that these stories make a difference for others
and ultimately to the system
itself.

Photo of Mr Alec Kruger
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Mr Alec Kruger is interviewed by MC,

Ms Julie McCrossin about this memoir,
Alone on the Socaks - The Life and
Times of Alec Kruger

Top | Contents

2.7.8 Television Award

Winner:
The Circuit,
produced by Ross Hutchens and
Colin South, Media World Pictures, screened on SBS Television

The Circuit
is a six part drama series that
follows a magistrate and an entourage of court officers and lawyers on a regular
five-day, 2000 kilometre round trip to dispense justice to the remote
communities of north Western Australia.

Aaron Perderson plays Drew Ellis, the
latest lawyer to join the Kimberley Circuit Court. The challenges he faces
include injustices, abuses of power, corruption, gay rights, single parenthood,
alcohol abuse, sexual abuse and inter-racial relationships. An Indigenous man
from the city, Ellis comes to realise that one law for two cultures does not
always equal a fair
go.

The Circuit,
which screened on SBS Television
from 8 July to 12 August 2007, is the first Australian drama series where
Indigenous Australians have taken a lead in co-producing, writing, and
directing. The production process saw the filmmakers engage with the local
community, use Indigenous writers and co-producers and provide cross-cultural
training to the cast and crew.

It was felt
The Circuitwas worthy of this award because
of the way the production remains engaging and educational, while addressing a
range of social issues in a nuanced and powerful manner that does not preach to
the audience.

Top | Contents