Tampa lawyer speaks on politics, refugees, power and principles
The barrister who took on the Australian Government of behalf of the Tampa asylum seekers will deliver the 2011 Human Rights and Social Justice Lecture at the University of Newcastle tomorrow.
Mr Julian Burnside AO QC, known for his staunch opposition to the mandatory detention of asylum seekers, will present Politics and Refugees: Power without Principles?
In 2001, Mr Burnside successfully acted pro bono for Liberty Victoria (formerly the Victorian Council of Civil Liberties) in a Federal Court case seeking an order for the asylum seekers to be released.
Admitted as a barrister of the Supreme Court of Victoria in 1976 and appointed a Queen's Counsel in 1989, Mr Burnside became known for his work in commercial law.
In 1998 he represented the Maritime Union of Australia in its successful action against Patrick Corporation during the Australian waterfront dispute.
Mr Burnside then began to undertake more pro bono legal work on a range of human rights-related issues.
With his wife, artist Kate Durham, he established the Spare Rooms for Refugees and Spare Lawyers for Refugees programs, which provide free accommodation and legal representation for refugees in Australia.
In 2004 Mr Burnside received the Human Rights Law Award from the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission for his asylum seeker representations and for establishing Spare Lawyers for Refugees.
In 2007 he received the Australian Peace Prize from the Peace Organisation of Australia and in 2009 was made an Officer of the Order of Australia "for service as a human rights advocate, particularly for refugees and asylum seekers; to the arts as a patron and fundraiser; and to the law”.
The 2011 Human Rights and Social Justice Lecture will be delivered on Wednesday 2 November by Mr Julian Burnside AO QC from 1pm at the Griffith Duncan Theatre at the University of Newcastle’s Callaghan campus. This is a free public lecture open to the community.
Media contact: For interviews with Mr Burnside contact Media and Public Relations Officer Carmen Swadling on 02 4985 4276 or 0428 038 477.