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Past talks

Tim Wilson
RightsTalk: Human Rights at Home and Abroad
Human Rights Commissioner Tim Wilson with Andrew Penfold AM
Wednesday 27 August 2014


Freedom of expression is a human right which is fundamental to many other human rights. Throughout history, removing or restricting it has often been a fatal first step towards the deprivation of other rights and in some cases, tragic human rights atrocities. The inaugural NSW Human Rights Ambassador, Andrew Penfold AM will examine past and present examples in his discussion of ways we can promote human rights, both at home and overseas.

Andrew Penfold AM

Andrew PenfoldAndrew Penfold AM is the current NSW Human Rights Ambassador, CEO of th Australian Indigenous Education Foundation (AIEF) and a member of the Prime Minister’s Indigenous Advisory Council.

After 20 years as a finance lawyer and investment banker, Andrew left the business world in 2004 and spent five years volunteering full time for a range of non-profit organisations, before establishing AIEF in 2007.

Andrew participated in the Indigenous Australia stream of the Australia 2020 Summit in Canberra in April 2008 and received a Leadership Award from the Prime Minister at the Australian Davos Connection in 2008.

Andrew was a finalists for Australian of the Year in 2010 and was nominated by The Australian for its Australian of the Year award in 2012 and 2014. In 2013 Andrew receieved the inaugral NSW Human Rights Award, becoming NSW Human Rights Ambassador; an Order of Merit from the Australian Institute of Company Directors, the highest award issued by the organisation; as well as the 2013 Community Alumni Award and the 2013 Chancellor’s Award for Excellence from the University of Technology, Sydney. In 2013, Andrew was named a member of the Prime Minister’s Advisory Council and in 2014 he was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia “for significant service to the Indigenous community, particularly through the provision of educational programs for students.

Date: Wednesday 27 August 2014
Time: 5:30pm - 6:30pm

Professor Henry Brodaty AO
RightsTalk: Human Rights and Ageing: growing old in Australia
Professor Henry Brodaty AO
Tuesday 19 August 2014


A civil society can be judged on how it treats its elderly and safeguards their rights. How is Australia meeting the challenges of the doubling of the percentage of our population aged 65 years or more, and quadrupling of those aged 80 years or more, all within one generation? This demographic shift occurs against the background of intergenerational tensions, pressures on our economy, ethical debates about independence versus autonomy and individual versus societal benefit, and changing patterns of disease.

Older people have the same rights as all Australians; importantly the right to independence, to equal access to health care, to equal access to legal and other services such as transport, to opportunities for personal development, to protection from exploitation and abuse, to appropriate care if disabled or incapacitated and to be treated with dignity. More controversial are issues of rationing of limited health resources and the right to determine when an older, cognitively competent, psychiatrically well person wishes to end his or her life.

The presentation will examine human rights for older people and recommend strategies for tackling current examples of where these are lacking.


Henry Brodaty is a

  • Scientia Professor of Ageing and Mental Health, Director of the Dementia Collaborative Research Centre and Co-Director of the Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing at the University of New South Wales; and
  • Psychogeriatrician and Head of the Memory Disorders Clinic in the Aged Care Psychiatry Service at Prince of Wales Hospital in Sydney.

Professor Brodaty is President of the International Psychogeriatric Association and was previously chairman of Alzheimer’s Disease International, and president of Alzheimer’s Australia and Alzheimer’s Australia (NSW).

He is a member of several key State and National Committees in Australia concerned with dementia and mental health in older people. Professor Brodaty has published extensively and received many national and international awards for research and community work.

Date: Tuesday, 19 August 2014
Time: 12:30pm - 1:30pm

Filming:  All RightsTalks session are recorded and each session will be available on the Commission website. Please note that by attending the event, you are releasing and consenting to the use of those photos and video in various forms of media, on the web and in print by the Commission.

Sister Clare Condon
RightsTalk: Sanctioned violence - what does it do to our society and relationships?
Sister Clare Condon
Wednesday 13 August 2014

Here in Sydney, each morning, the media reports on the preceding night’s acts of violence and as a society we rightly deplore such criminal acts.  Yet, some violence is sanctioned – on sports arenas, in films, electronic games and in the home.  Violence is not only physical it can also be emotional and psychological.  It erodes the fabric of a civilized society and our human interactions.

This presentation will reflect on what underlies violence in human relationships and our interactions with one another.

Sister Clare Condon is the Congregational Leader of the Sisters of the Good Samaritan of the Order of St Benedict. Sister Clare has been with the Sisters of the Good Samaritan for about 40 years. During this time she has held the position of President of Catholic Religious Australia from 2008-2014.  In 1994 Sr Clare was appointed as a member of the General Council and Trustee of the Sisters of the Good Samaritan – a position she held until 1999. Prior to being elected Congregational Leader of the Sisters of the Good Samaritan in 2005 she was Chancellor for Stewardship of the Archdiocese of Adelaide.
Sr Clare is an educator, advocate and administrator with a strong focus on the needs of those most disadvantaged in society and on the Catholic Church’s social justice mission.

Date: Wednesday 13 August 2014

Time: 12:30pm - 1:30pm

Filming:  All RightsTalks session are recorded and each session will be available on the Commission website. Please note that by attending the event, you are releasing and consenting to the use of those photos and video in various forms of media, on the web and in print by the Commission.

Graeme Innes
RightsTalk: Balancing the Scales of Justice
Disability Discrimination Commissioner Graeme Innes
Monday 16 June 2014

Monday 16 June, 12:30pm – 1:30pm


Access to justice is a significant issue for people with disabilities around Australia. Earlier this year the Australian Human Rights Commission released its report Equal before the law: towards disability justice strategies that focused on people with disabilities who need communication supports or who have complex and multiple support needs and who have come in contact with the criminal justice system. Negative assumptions and attitudes, coupled with a lack of support services and minimal provision of adjustments, often means that people with disabilities are viewed as not credible, not capable of giving evidence or unable to participate in legal proceedings. As a result many are left without effective access to justice. This report addresses these injustices.

Since the release of the report a number of state and territory governments have acknowledged our finding, and are considering how they might develop Disability Justice Strategies. In this session our panel will discuss the issues and challenges surrounding access to justice for people with disabilities, whilst exploring some of the programmes and services that have proven successful in various jurisdictions.

Panelists include:

  • Mark Ierace, SC Senior Public Defender
  • Jim Simpson, Senior Advocate for the NSW Council of Intellectual Disability
  • Therese Sands, Co-executive Director of People with Disability Australia
  • Assistant Commissioner Denis Clifford

Panelist bios


Senior Advocate for the NSW Council for Intellectual Disability Jim Simpson Jim Simpson is a lawyer and advocate who has worked in the disability field for thirty years. Moving from private legal practice as a partner in a city firm, he took a central role in establishing the Intellectual Disability Rights Service in Sydney.

Jim now does systemic advocacy work as Senior Advocate for the NSW Council for Intellectual Disability.  This has included considerable involvement in law reform and access to justice issues.  At present, much of Jim’s work is aimed at equitable access to the National Disability Insurance Scheme for people with intellectual disability who are in contact with the criminal justice system. 

Tribunal work is Jim’s other main focus.  He is a presiding member of the NSW Guardianship Tribunal and Mental Health Review Tribunal.


Senior Public Defender Mark Ierace SC Mark Ierace SC was admitted to the NSW Bar in 1981. He has appeared as a private barrister variously for the defence and prosecution, as a Public Defender, as in-house counsel for the Commonwealth DPP and as counsel assisting the NSW Police Integrity Commission. He is a member of the NSW Sentencing Council and has been the Senior Public Defender since 2007.

He has a long-standing interest in intellectual disability and criminal law. He is the author of “Intellectual Disability; A Criminal Lawyers’ Manual” published in 1989. In 1994 he was seconded to the NSW Law Reform Commission, to assist the Commission with its reference; People with an Intellectual Disability and the Criminal Justice System. He has appeared in many cases where the intellectual disability of an accused person has been a major consideration.

He has also practised as an international criminal lawyer in the UN International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, leading the team that prosecuted the commander of the troops that perpetrated the siege of Sarajevo. Between 2009 and 2012 he was a Senior Visiting Fellow at the University of New South Wales, where he taught International Criminal Law.


Co-executive Director People with Disability Australia Therese Sands Therese has worked for over 20 years in education, training, policy development and advocacy in the area of disability and human rights. A key area of her work focuses on engaging with international human rights mechanisms to progress the rights of people with disability.  Therese has participated on a number of non-government (NGO) working groups preparing for United Nations (UN) reviews of Australia under the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and for the Universal Periodic Review (UPR).  She acted as co-coordinator of the NGO delegation for the first UN review of Australia under the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).  She has a Master of Human Rights Law and Policy from the University of NSW.  Therese is a Life Member of People with Disability Australia (PWDA) and PWDA Co-Chief Executive Officer.


Assistant Commissioner Denis Clifford Assistant Commissioner Denis Clifford joined the NSW Police Force on 21 September 1971.

Among other corporate level portfolios, Assistant Commissioner Clifford is the Corporate Sponsor for Vulnerable Communities, and is a member of various inter-agency committees including the Justice Disability Advisory Council.




Elizabeth Broderick
RightsTalk: African Women’s Voices - FGM and women’s leadership
Thursday 29 May 2014

5:30pm – 7:00pm

Federal Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Elizabeth Broderick, will host African Women’s Voices with special guests Juliana Nkrumah, Founder Advisor of African Women Australia, Mabel Imali Isolio, Gender Consultant based in Nairobi, Kenya, and participating women from the ‘Our Bodies, Our Voices, Our Lives Conference – FGM Program’.

This session will give voice to African women issues and rights on female genital mutilation and the importance of the role of women’s leadership within the community. 

Juliana Nkrumah AM: Founder Advisor of African Women Australia. She will be speaking on African-Australian women’s voices and rights.


Mabel Mali Isoli: Gender Consultant based in Kenya. She will be speaking on invisible issues for women in Africa and in the diaspora.

Our Voices: Filling the Gaps – FGM Spokesperson Program: Spokespersons from this program will share their experiences of the program and its outcomes.  This Program was organised by African Women Australia in partnership with South Western Sydney Institute of TAFE Granville College and funded by the Department of Health.

This Rights Talk is being held in advance of the ‘Our Bodies, Our Voices, Our Lives Conference – FGM Program’ organised by African Women Australia in partnership with Social and Community Services Section, South Western Sydney Institute of TAFE, Granville College, on 30 May 2014, at Granville TAFE, Sydney.