Free and Equal Conference
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 was 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.
Discussions papers for this project are available.
The submissions process for this project has now closed.
KEYNOTE ADDRESS:Dr Michelle Bachelet, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Q&A moderated by Dr Julia Baird
In September 2018 Michelle Bachelet assumed her functions as the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. Ms Bachelet was twice elected President of Chile and was the first female in that office. She also served as Health Minister as well as Latin America’s first female Defence Minister. She has worked closely with many international organisations, and in 2011 she was named the first Director of UN Women.
The national human rights conversation: Prof. Rosalind Croucher AM
Emeritus Professor Rosalind Croucher AM is the President of the Australian Human Rights Commission
This ‘Free and Equal’ Conference is one part of a bigger project known as the National Conversation. Through the National Conversation, the Australian Human Rights Commission is exploring what makes an effective system of human rights protection for 21st century Australia?
The Commission will release a roadmap for national human rights reform in mid-2020.
Hakeem al-Araibi and Craig Foster in conversation
The power of mobilising international support and the experiences of refugees and asylum seekers globally
ADVANCE AUSTRALIA WHERE? INDIGENOUS AUSTRALIA IN THE 21ST CENTURY
Moderator: Brooke Boney
- Professor Mick Dodson
- Teela Reid
- Professor Helen Milroy
UNITY IN DIVERSITY: CAN HUMAN RIGHTS BE OUR COMMON GROUND?
Moderator: Craig Foster
- Sam Mostyn
- Cathy McGowan AO
- Eliza Hull
FREEDOM TO VS FREEDOM FROM: BALANCING COMPETING RIGHTS
Moderator: Professor George Williams AO
- Nyadol Nyuon
- The Hon Catherine Branson AC QC
- The Hon Susan Ryan AO
LOOKING TO THE FUTURE
Moderator: Emily Dash
- Marlee Silva
- Aisheeya Huq
- Frank Hooper
Where the conversation can take us from here: Prof. Rosalind Croucher AM
What the next steps are in the national conversation on human rights in 2019.
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
Lawyer, human rights advocate and activist
Teela Reid is a proud Wiradjuri and Wailwan woman, lawyer and activist born and raised in Gilgandra western NSW. She is a solicitor with experience practicing in criminal, civil and administrative law. Teela was involved as a working group leader on s 51(xxvi), the Races Power, in the Constitutional dialogue process that culminated in the Uluru Statement from the Heart.
Teela commenced her professional career as a high school PE teacher. She then completed her postgraduate Juris Doctor from UNSW Law Sydney and was named on the UNSW Law Deans Women of Excellence List. Upon graduation, Teela was appointed tipstaff to her Honour Justice Lucy McCallum of the NSW Supreme Court.
Teela was the first Aboriginal person to be elected on the UNSW Law Society as Vice-President (Social Justice), where she was the founding director of the UNSW Law First Peoples Moot. She was also the Inaugural recipient of the NSW Indigenous Barristers Trust award. Previously, Teela was Australia’s Female Indigenous Youth Delegate to the United Nations Permanent Forum in New York that inspired her journey to become a lawyer.
In 2017, Teela was selected to attend Harvard University as a global Emerging Leader. On her return to Australia, Teela fearlessly took former Prime Minister Turnbull to task on Q&A after his dismissal of the Uluru Statement from the Heart.
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