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Michael Kirby Justice Oration by Professor Gillian Triggs

The Hon. Michael Kirby AC CMG, Chancellor George Pappas AO, Professor Gillian Triggs, Deputy Vice Chancellor Rhonda Hawkins and Professor Michael Stuckey.

Emeritus Professor Gillian Triggs delivered the seventh annual Michael Kirby Justice Oration for Victoria University’s College of Law and Justice, with vigor, insight and enthusiasm.

A large crowd made up of law students, the general public and media included honoured guests Chancellor George Pappas AO, Deputy Vice Chancellor Rhonda Hawkins AM, and Professor Michael Stuckey, Dean of the College of Law and Justice.

The annual Oration provides a platform for leaders within the community to share their experiences, deep understanding, knowledge and reflections on issues of justice.

The Honourable Michael Kirby AC CMG introduced Professor Triggs who delivered her oration on Overreach of Executive & Ministerial Discretion: a threat to Australian democracy.

Professor Triggs, former President of the Australian Human Rights Commission and an international lawyer, shared her concerns over the imbalance that has “crept into our democracy so that increasingly the courts are marginalised by legislation.”

Professor Triggs said the failure of Australian courts to consider international laws when making decisions meant Australian law, particularly around immigration, had diverged from that of other similar countries to become “among the most inhumane in the world.”

In her conclusion, Professor Triggs urged the wider community to speak up, be less passive and encouraged schools and universities to educate young Australians about “our democracy, the Constitution and the rule of law, role of parliament and the separation of powers.”

The Hon. Michael Kirby served on the High Court of Australia with great distinction for thirteen years (1996-2009). The annual Michael Kirby Justice Oration pay tribute to his commitment to social justice and human rights and Kirby’s relationship as friend, colleague and mentor to Victoria University’s College of Law and Justice. He is an adjunct professor in the College.

Previous Michael Kirby Orations:

  • The Hon. Mr Jeffrey Kennett (2016)
  • The Hon. Julia Gillard (2015)
  • Mr Julian Burnside AO QC (2014)
  • The Hon. Justice Yvonne Murphy (2013).

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