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April 14, 2014

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Guest Blog: Racism is a moral bad that our law should combat

By Tim Soutphommasane Can you legislate for virtue or eradicate racism through laws? These are questions that have been raised in the current debate about the Racial Discrimination Act. Some, particularly those who favour the Federal Government’s proposed reform to the Act, suggest that combating discrimination is best left to the marketplace of ideas. We […]

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April 10, 2014

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Why Tim Wilson is wrong about “n______”

By Patrick Emerton A little over a week ago, Human Rights Commissioner Tim Wilson stated that he objects to current laws governing racially offensive behaviour because they allow members of particular communities to refer to one another using words that outsiders may not: Asked whether he was referring to the word “n–––“, Mr Wilson said: “I […]

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April 10, 2014

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Freedom: the government’s inconsistent approach

By Sarah Joseph Our federal government is committed to promoting greater “freedom”. It has appointed a “Freedom Commissioner”, Tim Wilson, and has asked the Australian Law Reform Commission to conduct a freedom audit of statutory laws. Writing in January, Attorney-General George Brandis described “freedom” as the “most fundamental of all human rights”.  But what does […]

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April 8, 2014

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Should the west be held accountable for gay persecution?

By Paula Gerber Media coverage of gays and lesbians in 2014 has followed a very different trend to previous years. Rather than good news stories about love and weddings, the majority of reports relate to violence, persecution and discrimination of LGBTI people. What is behind this apparent increase in hostilities towards gays and lesbians? The […]

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April 7, 2014

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Why refugees need legal aid

By Azadeh Dastyari Immigration Minister Scott Morrison added yet another burden to asylum seekers this week when he announced that they would no longer be eligible for “taxpayer funded immigration advice and assistance”. That is, asylum seekers arriving without a valid visa, by boat or plane, will no longer be eligible to obtain independent and professional immigration […]

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March 28, 2014

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Rights to bigotry and green lights to hate

By Sarah Joseph, Monash University AAP/Stefan Postles Poor George Brandis. Our Attorney-General seems to have wedged himself on the issue of racial vilification. Soon after the election of the Abbott government, Senator Brandis defiantly declared that repeal of Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act would be his first task as Australia’s first law officer. […]

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March 21, 2014

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The Biennale Boycott Blues

by Sarah Joseph The Sydney Biennale starts today after weeks of controversy over the severing of its relationship with Transfield, the company that runs the detention centre in Nauru and which will take over the one at Manus island. To recap, several artists withdrew from the Biennale in protest over its sponsorship arrangement with Transfield […]

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March 5, 2014

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An open letter to Prime Minister Tony Abbott

On 2 March, over 500 academics from more than 30 Australian universities (including Castan Centre Directors and Associates) signed a letter to the Prime Minister calling for the immediate closure of the detention centres on Manus Island and in Nauru. Academics can still add their names at this link.  We have reprinted the full text of the […]

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February 28, 2014

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LGBTI Rights and the UN – where to from here?

By Paula Gerber In 2014, one can barely read the news without coming across a story concerning lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex (LGBTI) persons. Invariably these stories relate to violence, discrimination or other human rights violations inflicted on individuals because of their sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. Occasionally, a good news story creeps in, […]

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February 24, 2014

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Protecting children’s rights in Asian tourism destinations: What more can be done?

Guest Blogger: Afrooz Kaviani Johnson  When we hear mention of child exploitation in Asian tourism, often the first thing that comes to mind is the sexual exploitation of children. The shocking reports of young girls trapped in horrifying conditions to serve tens of foreign ‘clients’ day in and day out. Or, perhaps you’ve even witnessed […]

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