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Past talks

Dr Mark Dybul
RightsTalk: HIV, Human Rights and the Global Fund
Dr Mark Dybul, hosted by Human Rights Commissioner Tim Wilson
Thursday 12 February 2015

Human Rights Commissioner, Tim Wilson, will host a discussion with Mark Dybul, Executive Director of the Global Fund on Thursday 12 February.

The Global Fund is a 21st-century organization designed to accelerate the end of AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria as epidemics. Founded in 2002, the Global Fund is a partnership between governments, civil society, the private sector and people affected by the diseases. The Global Fund raises and invests nearly US$4 billion a year to support programs run by local experts in more than 140 countries.

Mark Dybul has worked on HIV and public health for more than 25 years as a clinician, scientist, teacher and administrator. After graduating from Georgetown Medical School in Washington D.C., Dybul joined the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, where he conducted basic and clinical studies on HIV virology, immunology and treatment optimization, including the first randomized, controlled trial with combination antiretroviral therapy in Africa. Dybul became a founding architect and driving force in the formation of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, better known as PEPFAR. After serving as Chief Medical officer, Assistant, Deputy and Acting director, he was appointed as its leader in 2006, becoming U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, with the rank of Ambassador at the level of an Assistant Secretary of State. He served until early 2009. Before coming to the Global Fund, Dybul was co-director of the Global Health Law Program at the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University, where he was also a Distinguished Scholar. Dybul has written extensively in scientific and policy literature, and has received several Honorary Degrees and awards.

Rashida Manjoo
Continuing and New Challenges in the Quest to Eliminate Violence against Women, its Causes and Consequences
Rashida Manjoo, UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women
Wednesday 11 February 2015

States have an affirmative obligation to respect, protect and fulfill human rights, including fulfilling the responsibility to act with due diligence to eliminate violence against women. Elimination of violence against women is critical to women’s ability to participate in the civil, political, economic, developmental, social and cultural spheres of their communities as full and equal citizens. Unfortunately, pervasive levels of violence, and a culture of impunity, fundamentally jeopardize the realization of women’s right to a life free of violence, and the right to participate fully in their communities.

In this presentation, I will discuss the continuing and new challenges to effectively address violence against women as highlighted in my 2014 reports to the HRC and the General Assembly, which include among others: the shift to gender neutrality; the persisting public-private dichotomy in responses to violence against women; the failure of States to act with due diligence in eliminating violence against women; the lack of transformative remedies that address the root causes of violence against women, including individual, institutional and structural aspects; the financial crisis, austerity measures and cuts in social services spending; the shift in understanding of gendered responses and the move towards a focus on men and boys; and the lack of a legally binding instrument to hold both States and non-state actors accountable for this human rights violation, as a violation in and of itself.

Speaker: Rashida Manjoo, UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, its Causes and Consequences, and Professor, Department of Public Law, University of Cape Town

Suri Ratnapala
RightsTalk: ‘Rights, ‘Liberty’ and ‘Civilisation’
Suri Ratnapala, hosted by Human Rights Commissioner Tim Wilson
Tuesday 10 February 2015

‘Right’, ‘liberty’ and ‘civilisation’ are contested ideas. The nature of civilisation or its absence altogether in a given age depends critically on the kind of rights that prevails in that time. Many civilisations in the past were built on conquest, genocide, slavery and plunder. They produced wondrous monuments, great cities, immortal works of art and even profound philosophy but the condition of the ordinary person was one of abject poverty and servitude. One civilisation alone emancipated unprivileged persons politically and economically on a mass scale. That civilisation is our own. The author contends that liberty founded on a certain conception of right is what distinguishes this civilisation from those of the past. The defence of this achievement is a moral imperative.

Suri Ratnapala is Professor of Public Law at the T C Beirne School of Law, University of Queensland and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law. He teaches constitutional law and jurisprudence, fields in which he has published widely. His recent books include Australian Constitutional Law: Foundations and Theory and Jurisprudence. He is a recipient of a John Templeton Foundation Award for his teaching in political, economic and social theory and a Centenary of Australian Federation Medal for his contribution to Australian society through research in law and economics. He is an Allan McGregor Fellow of the Centre for Independent Studies, Sydney. Professor Ratnapala has been a consultant with USAID, AusAid, the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank in institutional capacity building projects in Asia.

Rights Ed logo
RightsTalk: Rights in a crowded classroom
Dr Phil Lambert PSM, Justin Mohamed, Annabel Astbury, Jim Asimakopolous OAM
Monday 1 December 2014

Gillian Triggs speaking at launch of RightsEd, 1 December 2014

Audio: Part 1


Audio: Part 2


With the national curriculum once again in focus, it's timely to reflect on the place of human rights in education. Is it the role of schools to teach issues like race relations and disability rights? If so, how? And how can schools engage with human rights and diversity beyond the curriculum? 

Join our panellists:

  • Dr Phil Lambert PSM,  General Manager, Curriculum, Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority
  • Justin Mohamed, Chief Executive Officer, Reconciliation Australia
  • Annabel Astbury, Head, Digital Education, ABC
  • Jim Asimakopolous OAM, Manager, Abilities and Disability Awareness Program, Victorian Department of Education and Training.

The Commission will also be launching its range of new schools education resources on disability, race relations and human rights for maths, geography, history and health/physical education at this event.

Dr Phil Lambert Bio

Phil Lambert

Dr Lambert has extensive experience in education as a principal, inspector, Executive Director, Assistant Director-General, Regional Director and General Manager. He has authored books and presented a number of papers and keynotes at national & international conferences. Phil has a MEd in Educational Administration & Management and completed his doctorate at the University of Sydney.

Phil has received a number of honours, awards and acknowledgements during his career. In the 2012 Queen’s Birthday Honours he was awarded the Public Service Medal for his outstanding contribution to education and was acknowledged for his outstanding community work and leadership in a unanimous resolution in the Parliament of NSW. In 2006 he represented NSW at the World Educational Leadership Conference in Boston, USA and in 2010 represented NSW at the World Expo in Shanghai, China. He was a member of the Australian team at the 2013 Global Education Leaders Program held in New Delhi, India and in London this year. At the request of the Brazilian government he travelled to Sao Paulo in May 2014 and in August 2014 travelled to Saudi Arabia at the request of the Public Education Evaluation Commission.

Phil is both an Adjunct Professor at the University of Sydney and Adjunct Professor at Nanjing Normal University, China. He was the 2013 recipient of the prestigious Australian College of Educators’ award, the Sir Harold Wyndham Medal.

Phil has many interests and contributes to society in various ways. He has been learning Mandarin since 2009, was an industry judge for the 2013 TV Week Logie Awards and he is a member of the National Rugby League Central Advisory Committee. Phil is also a long standing Board member of the Australian Children’s Television Foundation and is Deputy Chair on the Board of the national Foundation to Prevent Violence Against Women and their Children.

Justin Mohamed Bio

Justin Mohamed

Justin Mohamed is a Gooreng Gooreng man from Bundaberg in Queensland. He worked with Victorian Aboriginal communities for 20 years before being elected to as Chairperson of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO). Prior to his role at NACCHO, Justin was the inaugural director of the Academy of Sport, Health and Education (ASHE), an initiative of the Rumabalara Football/Netball Club.

He chaired the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, and is Co-Chair of the National Health Leadership Forum. He has also held positions on multiple community, state and national working groups, committees and boards and continues to be a director of the Greater Western Sydney Giants Foundation and Chairperson of Ganbina.

Annabel Astbury Bio

Annabel Astbury

Annabel Astbury is Head, Digital Education at the ABC and is working with a great team to deliver ABC Splash which is one of Australia’s leading education sites which now has over 2500 resources mapped to the Australian Curriculum. ABC Splash worked with the Human Rights Commission to produce Choose Your Own Statistics, an interactive way for students to learn about Human Rights issues in Australia and across the world.

Jim Asimakopolous OAM Bio

Jim Asimakopolous

Jim Asimakopolous, AOM,  has lived with Cerebral Palsy all his life.  In 1988 he pioneered the Abilities and Disability Awareness Program with the Department of Education & Early Childhood Development, and has since delivered over 4,600 workshops and spoken to over 130,000 people.

Jim visits schools, community groups and football clubs across Victoria, promoting inclusion in schools and society. As a powerful role model to many students, the aim of his program is to make all people aware of what they can do, not what they can’t do.


Catherine McGreggor
RightsTalk: My Gender Journey
Catherine McGregor, hosted by Human Rights Commissioner Tim Wilson
Wednesday 19 November 2014

Watch live through YouTube


Direct link:


Group Captain Catherine McGregor is currently serving as the speechwriter and strategic adviser to the Chief of the Air Force. She entered the Royal Military College Duntroon in 1974 and graduated to the Royal Australian Infantry.

Over a career in the Australian Regular Army spanning 40 years, she held a wide variety of regimental and staff appointments. She deployed on operations on three occasions including as the Commanding Officer of the Australian Army Training Team in Timor Leste. She is a Tetum linguist. In 2008, she was a Visiting Fellow to The Leverhulme Changing Character of War Programme at All Souls Oxford University in 2008 and holds a Master of Arts in War Studies from UNSW.

She was awarded the Order of Australia on 26 January 2012 for her exceptional service to The Australian Army. She served continuously as speechwriter to every Chief of the Army since 2000. She has held various appointments in Strategic Policy Branch at Army Headquarters. She transferred to the Royal Australian Air Force Reserve in June of this year on promotion to Group Captain

She is a published author and has written on politics and cricket for The Australian, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian Financial Review, The Age She is the Prime Minister’s delegate to the National Selection Panel for selection of The Prime Minister’s XI and is also the Head of Australian Services Women’s cricket. She is still active as a player and coach and will be part of the ABC Grandstand team for the forthcoming summer.

She was recently named as one of Australia’s 50 most powerful women by the Australian Women’s Weekly.

In her earlier life, Cate was well-known as a political commentator whose name was Malcolm. She commenced living as a woman on July 30, 2012 and her story was documented on Australian Story in February 2014. She is now the highest-ranking trans-woman military official in the world.