21 October 2014; Deakin University

I took notes as I listened – I suppose it is nothing new but hearing it all in a single forum, making sense, highlighting the things that matter and the reminder of our roles in trying to stop the sneaky, insidious creep…

Emeritus Professor Gillian Triggs speaking at UNESCO Chair Lecture, Deakin University, 21/10/2014

Emeritus Professor Gillian Triggs speaking at UNESCO Chair Lecture, Deakin University, 21/10/2014

The usual … (on the day of Gough’s passing) UNESCO: balancing rights and responsibilities; utilising soft power; social, environmental and economic justice, sustainability; tolerance and understanding; recognition of and support for diversity…

But then, let’s talk about Australia in the current day.  The main point (s) that I took from Professor Triggs was the current expansion of executive decision making [power] in a ‘creeping way’ – most particularly legislation before parliament today.  The ‘worrying directions of reforming the laws’; the ‘democratic danger of both major parties in agreement; no Bill or Charter of Rights in Australia compared to comparative countries and instead, reliance on the ‘fair go’.  Advocatory shifts from 18C protection of right of freedom of speech, to restraining freedom under ‘anti-terrorism laws; Asylum seeker policy – denial of humanitarian obligations, common law vs executive power, clear ‘unambiguous legislation’ – leading to injustice … bit by bit … insidious changes under our noses … High Court decisions being overcome with new legislation introduced by government such as indefinite detention for stateless people.

Right now, in the last few weeks – not in the public arena, we don’t have the facts, we are distracted by ‘burkas in parliament’ and re-screening of terrorist propaganda  – operational/secret, the power of the executive increasing.  Common law, the ‘law of the land’, even yes, the ‘fair go’, going going …

In conclusion – Q&A, what is the ‘circuit breaker’; how can we utilise  the compassion that exists?

Yes, appeal to this compassion.  Children – holding them in detention is NOT a deterrent.  Reign in the smoke and mirrors, give a voice to the public response, use emotional stories, rise up, we can do better!  A regional collaborative response needs more attention.  The role of the media, immediate reaction, cut across the slogans.  Public support – govt – ALP being constrained – lack of appropriate leadership.  A Bill of Rights – a prism through which to view laws.  A need for reasoned, informed and Public debate.  And of course, Education.

Professor Triggs outlined that a necessary part of her role is to be seen as ‘fair and objective’ in order to maintain the credibility and validity of the work they do – the reports and evidence they produce… can we support them?





One thought on “UNESCO Chair Lecture, Emeritus Professor Gillian Triggs, President of the Australian Human Rights Commission

  1. Pingback: Gillian Triggs & Children in Detention – attacked by The Australian newspaper | TASA Sociology of Education

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