Author Archives | Sarah Joseph

About Sarah Joseph

2014 Castan Human Rights Report: The “freedom” debate

April 28, 2014

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By Sarah Joseph Our Federal government is committed to promoting greater ‘freedom’. We have a new ‘Freedom Commissioner’, Tim Wilson. And, writing in January, Attorney General George Brandis described ‘freedom’ as the ‘most fundamental of all human rights’. What does “freedom” mean? But … freedom of what? Freedom to what? Freedom without an accompanying noun […]

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Freedom: the government’s inconsistent approach

April 10, 2014


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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Rights to bigotry and green lights to hate

March 28, 2014


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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The Biennale Boycott Blues

March 21, 2014


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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Human Rights and International Law (24): 20 Years Ago, Dallaire Sent His “Genocide Fax”

January 14, 2014


A very sad anniversary.

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Tim Wilson, the Australian Human Rights Commission, and “balancing” human rights

December 20, 2013


by Sarah Joseph (this post was originally published by The Drum on 19 December) Tim Wilson, former policy director for right-wing think-tank the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA), has been appointed as the human rights commissioner. His remit will be in the area of “freedom”, focusing particularly on freedom of speech. Attorney-General George Brandis explained […]

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Thoughts on Nelson Mandela

December 13, 2013


by Sarah Joseph  (speech at the Monash University memorial service to Nelson Mandela at the Monash Religious Centre, 13 December 2013, 1pm) I am very honoured to be speaking today at this memorial service for Nelson Mandela. Nelson Mandela, Madiba, was a true human rights inspiration, for his fight against apartheid, but even more so […]

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Spies know more about us … but we know more about them

November 27, 2013


By Sarah Joseph EPA/Ole Spata The revelations that Australia intercepted the communications of the President of Indonesia, his wife, and other prominent Indonesian politicians in 2009, have caused major ructions in the Australia/Indonesia relationship. But do these revelations not simply reveal that spies do their job? After all, it isn’t surprising that spies spy. And […]

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Our Prime Minister’s Sri Lanka performance: a human rights disaster

November 20, 2013


By Sarah Joseph AAP/Pau Osborne   Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s performance over human rights in Sri Lanka in the last week was an utter disaster. His statements seemed to brush aside some of the most fundamental human rights values: prohibitions on war crimes, crimes against humanity, and torture. Context Sri Lanka finished a decades-long civil […]

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The High Court – coming to a Centre Stage near you

November 19, 2013


By Sarah Joseph In coming months, the High Court – the highest court in Australia and the final arbiter on the meaning of the Constitution – will decide several high-profile cases. These decisions, which may result in the striking down of legislation passed by parliaments across Australia, will reverberate both politically and socially throughout the […]

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