Changes at the Castan Centre

IN PRAISE OF ELEANOR JENKIN

By Sarah Joseph, Castan Centre Director

I take this opportunity to write a note of appreciation for Eleanor Jenkin, our Policy Manager from August 2017 until April 2019. In that role, Eleanor added greatly to the research and policy footprint of the Castan Centre. In particular, she was the main author of our ground-breaking report on the rights of children with disability in Victorian schools, generously funded by the Legal Services Board of Victoria (co-written with Claire Spivakovsky, Marius Smith and myself). 

She also wrote many important submissions, including on the adoption of a Human Rights Act in Queensland, freedom of religion, the death penalty at the global level, and on the use of force in various forms of detention. She did considerable work on the latter topic, which will be brought together in a final report on the use of force in detention across Australia to be released in 2020 by the Centre. She played a leading role on the Centre’s work on artificial intelligence and technology, including submissions to the Australian Human Rights Commission’s inquiry into the matter. And she co-wrote an article on the Human Rights Council with myself, to be published by the American University International Law Review late in 2019. Furthermore, she wrote the concept plan for a Castan Centre human rights clinic, which will come on line in 2020.

We thank Eleanor for all of her excellent work at the Centre, and for being a great person. And we wish her well in her new role as Senior Policy and Projects Manager at Victoria Legal Aid (where she joins other Castan Centre alumni: Erica Contini and Sarah Austin!)

REFLECTING ON MY TIME AT THE CENTRE

By Alice Dowling, former Castan Centre Project Officer

Working for the Castan Centre during my final year of Arts (Gender Studies) and Law at Monash was an incredible opportunity. I had always been a strong believer in human rights and a big CC fan so when the chance to take on the Project Officer role came up, I couldn’t say yes fast enough. 

My year at the Castan Centre involved everything from supporting the Annual Conferences, running the Human Rights Moot, and guiding our visiting academics from Vietnam around Melbourne, to writing parliamentary submissions and coordinating the Centre’s involvement with important campaigns such as an Australian #CharterofRights alongside other key stakeholders. I was particularly proud of being involved in selecting our #HumanRights19 speakers which ended up being one of the Centre’s most diverse line ups to date. Another exciting development during my time at the Centre was the passing of the Queensland Human Rights Act on 27 February 2019. I had the privilege of co-authoring the Castan Centre’s submission to the inquiry into the Human Rights Bill 2018, in which we welcomed the Bill as a significant step towards the protection of human rights of all Queenslanders. Seeing this reform take place was encouraging and although we can all agree that Australia has a long way to go, reminded me of the importance of continuing to push for better human rights protections. 

Perhaps the most impactful part of my time at the Centre was working alongside and being mentored by such a dedicated team of human rights academics, experts, activists and people. In particular, the guidance and expertise of Sarah and Marius who inject an unwavering and authentic commitment to human rights into every aspect of what they do. This is something that will stay with me for the rest of my career. 

I am now working as the Executive Officer for the National Family Violence Prevention and Legal Services Forum – working for justice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander victims/survivors of family violence. Pushing for change and fighting injustice is something that I am sure will mean crossing paths again in the future with the Castan Centre team – and I’m looking forward to it.

Castan Centre

The Castan Centre for Human Rights Law seeks to promote and protect human rights through the generation and dissemination of public scholarship in international and domestic human rights law. In pursuit of this mission, the Centre brings the work of human rights scholars, practitioners and advocates from a wide range of disciplines together in the Centre’s key activities of research, teaching, public education (lectures, seminars, conferences, speeches, media presentations, etc), applied research, advice work and consultancies.

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