Wanted: Australia's commitment to indigenous human rights

Professor Larissa Behrendt

Professor Larissa Behrendt
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Wednesday, 13 September 2006

One of Australia's most highly regarded indigenous rights advocates, Professor Larissa Behrendt, is this year's speaker for the annual Don Dunstan Oration (Wednesday, September 20).

Professor Behrendt - Professor of Law and Director of Research at the Jumbunna Indigenous House of Learning at the University of Technology, Sydney - will deliver the 2006 Don Dunstan Human Rights Oration at 7.30pm on September 20 at Bonython Hall, University of Adelaide.

Her lecture is entitled "Reclaiming the Human Rights Vision - a pathway for Reconciliation".

A Judicial Member of the Administrative Decisions Tribunal, Equal Opportunity Division and Alternate Chair of the Serious Offenders Review Board, Professor Behrendt will use her lecture to argue that a vision of human rights offers us a pathway forward for reconciliation in Australia.

Professor Larissa Behrendt says that while there are many alarming trends within the indigenous community of Australia, it is the issue of health that is the greatest cause of shame for governments:

"There is the difference in life expectancy, twice as many low birth weights and infant mortality rates 2-3 times higher than in a first world country. This remains a source of embarrassment at both the state and federal levels," Professor Behrendt says.

"These figures are not just numbers: they reflect the lives and experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people," she says.

She will be joined on stage for the Oration by Ognjen Simic, one of Adelaide's brightest young public speakers who was part of the Australian delegation to the XXXVII Annual The Hague International Model United Nations in 2005. The Hon. Ted Mullighan QC will provide his own reflections on Professor Behrendt's speech at the end of the evening.

The Human Rights Oration is a partnership between the Don Dunstan Foundation and Oxfam Australia.

The Oration is one of Adelaide's premier public events, attracting sell-out crowds in 2003, 2004 and 2005 and proving once again that Adelaide is unique in its standing as the City of Ideas. Previous orators were Julian Burnside QC, Professor Peter Singer and Professor Martha Nussbaum.


Contact Details

Rosslyn Cox
Email: rosslyn.cox@adelaide.edu.au
Website: http://www.dunstan.org.au/
Business and Development Manager
Don Dunstan Foundation
Business: +61 8 8313 6246
Mobile: 0422 953 971

Ms Catherine Way
Website: http://www.oxfam.org.au/
Oxfam Australia
Mobile: 0439 893 473