Imagine a Human Rights Act by 2034


With Centrelink debt gulags, residential nuclear waste dumps, Pacific climate refugee crackdowns and AI magistrates in the mix, the future looks bleak.

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The Human Rights Commission has announced that presenter, journalist and academic Waleed Aly will join some of Australia’s favourite legal eagles, rights advocates and comedy stars at the Rights On Time panel show in Sydney on 6 June during the Vivid Sydney festival.

Free + Equal conference artwork Photo: Human Rights Commission

Host Adam Spencer will help panellists navigate future human rights dilemmas as they tussle over how a Human Rights Act would protect people and communities in a hypothetical – but entirely possible – 2034.

With Centrelink debt gulags, residential nuclear waste dumps, Pacific climate refugee crackdowns and AI magistrates in the mix, the future looks bleak.

Will our panellists save the future from rights gone wrong? You’ll hear the arguments, jibes and jests live on stage before you cast your virtual vote on a Human Rights Act for Australia.

When:  Thursday 6 June, 7pm – 8:30pm 
Where: Hyatt Regency Sydney 
Cost:     $70 – $150

Hosted by comedian, writer and broadcaster Adam Spencer, Rights On Time will bring together 7 eminent Australians:

  • Waleed Aly – broadcaster, author and academic
  • Jennifer Robinson – international human rights lawyer 
  • Sisonke Msimang – writer, activist and political analyst
  • Tanya Hosch – First Nations activist and AFL Executive 
  • Em. Prof. Rosalind Croucher – AHRC President and emeritus law professor
  • And beaming in from the future, comedian and presenter Nazeem Hussain
  • +1 more high profile panellist to be announced soon.

Adam Spencer

Adam Spencer is one of Australia’s most popular and enduing media personalities. He is a comedian, broadcaster, author and ambassador for mathematics and science. He has 25 years of experience in television, radio and events, curating challenging and thought-provoking conversations. He has interviewed prime ministers, Hollywood stars, Fortune 500 CEOs, Nobel Prize-winning scientists and Australians of the Year.

Waleed Aly

Waleed Aly is one of Australia’s leading cultural commentators as well as a television presenter, journalist, academic, and lawyer. He is a lecturer in politics at Monash University working in their Global Terrorism Research Centre, and a co-host of Network Ten’s news and current affairs television program The Project. He also writes for Fairfax Media, co-hosts The Minefield, an ABC RN program about ethical dilemmas of modern life, and is lead guitarist in rock band Robot Child. He also worked early in his career as a lawyer with the Human Rights Centre. 

Jennifer Robinson

Jennifer Robinson is an Australian human rights lawyer and barrister with Doughty Street Chambers in London. She is best known for her role as a long-standing member of the legal team defending Julian Assange and WikiLeaks. She has also provided legal assistance to activists from West Papua. She is a long-time advocate for an Australian human rights charter and worked with Geoffrey Robertson KC on outlining the case for an Australian Bill of Rights during the mid-2000s.

Tanya Hosch

Tanya Hosch is a First Nations social activist and business executive. She has held leadership roles in sport, the arts, social justice and public policy. She was joint campaign manager of the Recognise campaign run by Reconciliation Australia from 2012 to 2016. At her appointment as social inclusion manager to the Australian Football League (AFL) in June 2016, she became the first Indigenous person and the second woman appointed to an executive position in the AFL.

Sisonke Msimang

Sisonke Msimang is a writer and activist who works on human rights, race, gender, democracy, and politics. She has global, regional, and national experience, having worked for the United Nations as well as within the civil society sector and in private philanthropy. She is a popular commentator on social justice issues and writes for several publications, including as a regular columnist for The Guardian. She has penned an acclaimed memoir as well as a celebrated biography of Winnie Mandela.

Nazeem Hussain

Nazeem Hussain is a comedian, TV and radio personality, writer and activist. He has performed stand-up comedy around the globe, including sell-out seasons at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, from London to Paris to Colombo, and created and starred in a string of popular TV shows. Nazeem is also a children’s book author. 

Em. Prof. Rosalind Croucher AM

Prof. Croucher is has an extensive career in leading government agencies and law schools. A Foundation Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law, she commenced her seven-year term as Commission President on 30 July 2017. Prior to joining the Commission, Prof. Croucher was President of the Australian Law Reform Commission (2009–2017) and Commissioner (2006–2009), where she led a number of landmark law reform inquiries, including on Disability Laws, Encroachment on Freedoms in Commonwealth Laws, and Elder Abuse. She has published extensively, principally in the fields of property, equity, legal history and public policy. She has led the AHRC’s Free & Equal project about revitalising Australia’s human rights framework, including the Commission’s work on developing a model for an Australian Human Rights Act.

Rights On Time is the curtain raiser for this year’s major human rights event, the Free + Equal Conference. 

This landmark national forum will pave the way for a revitalisation of Australia’s human rights framework, including the introduction of a Human Rights Act, and will feature a diverse line-up of more than 60 experts, social justice advocates and community heroes. 

Sessions include:

  • charting the way forward for an Australian Human Rights Act
  • enhancing Australia’s anti-discrimination laws
  • preventing racism
  • improving children’s rights and youth justice
  • the intersection of business, technology and human rights
  • 40 years of Australia’s ground-breaking Sex Discrimination Act.

When:  Thursday 6 June, 5pm – 8:30pm, and Friday 7 June, 8.30am – 5.30pm
Where:  Hyatt Regency, 161 Sussex St, Sydney 
Book by 18 April to get a 10% earlybird discount on conference registrations.

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