From good international citizen to pariah?

Join us to reflect on Australia's human rights record, with a keynote address from Gillian Triggs, as well as responses from Tanya Plibersek and Elizabeth Evatt in this event, co-presented with the Evatt Foundation.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights — the first declaration of universal human rights to be made by nations in concert — turns 70 on Monday 10 December 2018.

Australia was a leader in the development of the Universal Declaration, and an Australian presided over its proclamation by the United Nations: Dr Herbert Vere Evatt, President of the General Assembly. This presidency is the highest position reached by an Australian in international affairs.

What has happened since the declaration was signed in 1948? The world has changed a great deal in 70 years, and Australia is no longer an international leader in upholding human rights, at home or abroad. The nation’s reputation as a good international citizen is contested. Can Australia be cast as an international pariah?

On the eve of the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration, Gillian Triggs will address the issues in a public lecture, introduced by Elizabeth Evatt, with a vote of thanks by Tanya Plibersek. 

This event was held on Sunday 9 December, 2018 at the University of Sydney.


  • Introduction: Hon. Elizabeth Evatt AC, is an eminent Australian lawyer, jurist and reformer whose extraordinary career has included serving as a member and later chair of the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (1984-1992) and as the first Australian to be elected to the United Nations Human Rights Committee (1992-2000).
  • Address: Emeritus Professor Gillian Triggs was the president of the Australian Human Rights Commission from 2012 to 2017. She has held many senior academic positions, including dean of the Faculty of Law and Challis Professor of International Law at the University of Sydney (2007-12), and director of the British Institute for International and Comparative Law (2005-07). She is currently a Vice-Chancellor’s Fellow at the University of Melbourne and Chair of Justice Connect.
  • Vote of Thanks: Hon. Tanya Plibersek, MP, has been the Member for Sydney in the House of Representatives since 1998. She served as a cabinet minister in the Rudd-Gillard Government (2007-2013) and is currently Deputy Leader of the Opposition, Deputy Leader of the Federal Parliamentary Labor Party, and Shadow Minister for Education and Training and Shadow Minister for Women.

Image: Pictured from left to right: Tanya Plibersek, Gillian Triggs, Elizabeth Evatt

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