Reflections on the ACT’s Human Rights Bill 20 years on — lessons for the National Inquiry

Dr Helen Watchirs OAM, ACT Human Rights Commissioner, delivered the 2023 Blackburn Lecture during ACT Law Week.

The Blackburn Lecture is an annual event held in honour of the late Sir Richard Blackburn OBE, the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory. The lecture is held during Law Week each year. The general theme for Law Week and the Blackburn is “Law and Justice in Your Community”, however the lecture's topic is traditionally the speaker’s own choice. Past lecturers have concentrated on developments in the law of current relevance to the profession.

Dr Helen Watchirs OAM, ACT Human Rights Commissioner

Dr Helen Watchirs OAM was appointed as President of the ACT Human Right Commission in 2016 (until 2023), and as Human Rights Commissioner since 2004. She also performed the additional roles of Discrimination Commissioner in 2004-16, and Public Advocate in 2014-15. Dr Watchirs received an OAM for human rights in 2010 and was ACT Senior Woman of Year 2020, chair of the Australian Council of Human Rights Authorities 2016-18, winner of 2015 ACT Chief Minister’s Award for Organ & Tissue Donation Awareness, 2012 Telstra ACT Businesswoman of the Year, and a finalist in ACT Australian of the Year in 2016. She is currently a member of the national Respect@Work Council (representing the Australian Council of Human Rights Authorities on sexual harassment); and was also a member of the Australian Organ & Tissue Advisory Council, the Ministerial Advisory Council on Blood Borne Viruses, and the Social Security Appeals Tribunal. She has worked as a human rights lawyer for over 40 years, including for the Federal Government (1982-96) and then as an employee and consultant for several UN agencies including UNAIDS, WHO, and ILO. Dr Watchirs has national and international expertise in health and human rights issues, and has a PhD and Masters in HIV/AIDS human rights and legal issues from ANU.

Event details

  • This is an on-demand webinar you can watch at anytime - a link and password will be sent to you when you register. 
  • Members will earn 1 CPD point in core area 4.
  • This recording was made on Tuesday 9 May 2023, and will expire on 31 December 2023.
  • Cost: Free

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