Global ambitions, domestic pitfalls – can Australia lead on human rights?

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop recently confirmed Australia’s candidacy for the United Nations Human Rights Council in 2018 and also announced Australia would seek a seat on the UN Security Council in 2029-30.

The announcements come on the back of Australia’s successful stint on the UN Security Council in 2013-14, but sit uncomfortably against recent controversies including widespread international criticism of our refugee and asylum seeker policies, severe cuts to foreign aid and the embarrassing cancellation of a UN expert’s visit after the Australian Government refused to provide assurances that people who spoke with him would not face prison for breaching the new Border Force laws.

This panel discussion event will explore Australia’s foreign policy on human rights – where we lead, where we fall short and whether the Australian Government can successfully claim a seat at one of the most important human rights tables in the world.


Andrew Hudson - the Executive Director of international NGO, Crisis Action, which works behind the scenes to build coalitions of individuals and organisations from global civil society to protect civilians from armed conflict.

Emily Howie - the Human Rights Law Centre's Director of Research and Advocacy and co-author of the joint HRLC and Human Rights Watch report “Australia at the Human Rights Council – Ready for a Leadership Role?”

Tim Costello - Chief Executive Officer, World Vision, a worldwide community development organisation that works to overcome poverty.

The discussion will be facilitated by Rowan Callick, the Asia-Pacific Editor at The Australian.

Event details:

6pm, Tuesday 27 October 2015

Allens, Level 37, 101 Collins Street, Melbourne