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Full program revealed for landmark gathering of Australian Human Rights Act supporters

Rights and Freedoms
3 blus faces with map of Australian superimposed on them
Content type: Media Release
Topic(s): Civil and Political Rights

Leading human rights advocates from across Australia and around the world are set to give a massive boost to efforts to introduce an Australian Human Rights Act at a historic forum in June during the Vivid Sydney festival.

The final line-up of speakers has just been announced with more than 60 eminent experts, thought leaders, social justice advocates and community heroes set to provide a lively and inspirational blend of views, insights and perspectives at the two-day event.

Presented by the Australian Human Rights Commission, hundreds of delegates from across Australia’s human rights, civil society, legal, justice, government and business sectors are set to attend the gathering which promises to be Australia’s premier human rights event for 2024. 

Waleed Aly, Jennifer Robison, Michael Kirby, Adam Spencer, Nazeem Hussain, Tanya Hosch, Sisonke Msimang and Rosalind Croucher will kick off proceedings with the future-shock Rights On Time panel show on Thursday 6 June, while SBS/NITV and Network Ten star Narelda Jacobs will emcee the full day conference on Friday 7 June which will feature more than 50 diverse speakers and panellists across 12 engaging sessions and events. 10% earlybird discounts on all registrations has been extended to ANZAC Day, Thursday 25 April. Find out more:

A week before the conference, the Federal Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights is set to release its highly-anticipated report into the elements of a new national human rights framework.  including whether an Australian Human Rights Act should be enacted. 

Commission President Emeritus Professor Rosalind Croucher said: “An Australian Human Rights Act would be a major reform that would have a significant impact on Australia’s legal, justice, government, civil society and business sectors, so understanding the trajectory of its introduction is vital for people working across these areas.”

“Coming hot on the heels of the PJCHR’s report, the Free + Equal Conference is a not-to-be-missed gathering for anyone with an interest in human rights to be involved in a very timely discussion about how we can advance human rights in Australia and build momentum for the introduction of an Australian Human Rights Act.” 

Delegates will learn about the benefits and opportunities a Human Rights Act will deliver as well as how to activate community support and engagement for this long overdue reform. Sessions will also focus on other key human rights-related issues including: enhancing Australia's anti-discrimination laws; preventing racism; improving children’s rights and youth justice; exploring the intersection of business, technology and human rights; and marking 40 years of Australia’s ground-breaking Sex Discrimination Act.

In addition to the Rights On Time panellists, other speakers include: 

  • All but one of Australia’s national human rights commissioners: Katie Kiss, Robert Fitzgerald, Giridharan Sivaraman, Anne Hollonds, Dr Anna Cody and Lorraine Finlay (Disability Discrimination Commissioner Rosemary Kayess will be overseas) 
  • Eminent human rights law professors and practitioners Philip Alston, Ben Saul, Kim Rubenstein, John Tobin, George Williams, Chris Ronalds, Kate Eastman, Amanda Third, Sarah Moulds, Nareen Young and Geoffery Levey
  • UNSW Chief Scientist Prof. Toby Walsh, Australia’s Privacy Commissioner Carly Kind and Human Rights Law Centre CEO Caitlin Reiger
  • First Nations rights advocates and academics June Oscar, Dr Hannah McGlade, Karly Warner and Nareen Young (+ three more TBC)
  • Human rights and social justice advocates Tasneem Chopra, Juliana Nkrumah, Zaki Haidari, Rob Hulls, Assoc. Prof. Ramona Vijeyarasa, Alan Wu and Daney Faddoul
  • Disability rights advocates Dr Dinesh Palipana, Samantha Connor, Natalie Wade and Hannah Diviney
  • LGBTIQ+ advocates Anna Brown, Ghassan Kassisieh and Aisya Zaharin
  • Youth advocates Zahra Al Hilaly, Seleena Blackley, Anjali Sharma and Kupakwashe Matangira
  • Business and human rights experts Dr Pichamon Yeophantong, Dr Meg Brodie, Siobhan Toohill, Sarah McGrath and Ilona Millar
  • For purpose media and messaging experts Sam Koslowski, Hannah Ferguson, Mark Chenery and Gemma Pitcher

The conference is also part of this year’s Vivid Sydney festival, providing visiting delegates with opportunities to indulge in all the fabulous entertainment, food, music and spectacle that the Vivid Sydney festival offers. Stay for the King’s Birthday long weekend and make your time in Sydney a memorable getaway! 

10% earlybird discounts on all registrations has been extended to ANZAC Day, Thursday 25 April.

Free + Equal Human Rights Conference 

  • Thu 6 June, 5pm – 8:30pm + Fri 7 June, 8.30am – 5.30pm
  • Hyatt Regency, Sydney
  • Registrations from $325 - $650

Rights On Time

  • Thu 6 June, 7pm – 8.30pm
  • Hyatt Regency Grand Ballroom, Sydney
  • Tickets from $70 - $150

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