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A Successful Free + Equal Conference in Sydney

20 June 2024

On 6 and 7 June 2024, more than 1300 human rights advocates and supporters from across Australia gathered for the Free + Equal Conference in Sydney. The event brought together a national forum of human rights leaders, experts and advocates from across Australia to pave the way for reform to Australia's human rights framework over 12 engaging sessions, following the AHRC's Free + Equal Report released in late 2023.

The conference kicked off on the evening of 6 June 2024 with the Rights on Time panel event, and the following morning with keynote speeches co-delivered by former High Court Justice Michael Kirby and international barrister Jennifer Robinson, urging the Federal Government follow through with the recent recommendation of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights to introduce a Human Rights Act.

Mr Kirby posited that it was a functional weakness of our democracy that Australians believe there is no cultural need for a bill of rights in any form, and urged participants to go out and advocate for the tools of human rights to be taken up by Parliament in the form of a Human Rights Act. 

Sessions included insightful conversations on preventing racism, improving children's rights and youth justice, exploring the intersection of business technology and human rights, and 40 years of the Sex Discrimination Act, as well as classes on how to more effectively advocate for a Human Rights Act. 

The full list of speakers and agenda can be found at www.freeandequal.com.au and ABC Radio National's Big Ideas program will broadcast the Rights on Time show in the coming weeks, then becoming available as a podcast of the show. Furthermore, video and audio recordings and transcripts of all sessions will be available by the end of June on the Free + Equal Conference website for those interested.

The Law Council is proud to have supported the event as a Community Partner.

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