#ITC18

#ITC18: Alina Leikin on the ‘Certain Children’ cases

In late 2016, following a riot at a juvenile detention facility in Parkville, the Victorian government sought to convert a unit at the maximum security Barwon Prison into an alternative youth justice facility. The resulting court challenges tested fundamental questions as to the application of human rights law in Victoria. Alina Leikin, then at the Human Rights Law Centre, was centrally involved in the litigation.

#ITC17

#ITC17: Felicity Graham on Bugmy

The question of how the criminal law ought deal with socioeconomic disadvantage, and in particular the disadvantage experienced by Aboriginal people, is one of the most challenging in sentencing law in Australia. In Bugmy, the High Court looked at these key issues, and articulated key principles about how sentences should be imposed in Australia. Felicity Graham represented William Bugmy, a man from Western NSW whose case raised these fundamental questions, and whose case has shaped Australian jurisprudence about them.

#ITC16

#ITC16: Greg McIntyre on Mabo No.2

Greg McIntyre was involved for the whole duration of the epic Mabo litigation, through which a group of Murray Islanders sought recognition of the survival of their native title rights. In 1992, the High Court handed down judgment in Mabo No.2. The strikingly passionate language of the High Court and the significance of the recognition of native title that the judgment concerned, continue to be important in Australia’s public conversation.

#ITC15

#ITC15: Greg McIntyre on Mabo No.1

For more than a decade, Greg McIntyre was one of the lawyers at the centre of an effort by a group of Murray Islanders, seeking recognition in Australian law that their native title rights had survived European settlement. In 1992, this resulted in the famous Mabo judgment, but before that, the plaintiffs had to deal with an attempt by the Queensland Parliament to extinguish any native title rights which might have survived on the islands.

#ITC14

#ITC14: Jeremy Jones on the Scully and Bible Believers cases

Section 18C  is a fiercely debated section of the Racial Discrimination Act. In a series of cases in the 1990s and early 2000s, the Executive Council of Australian Jewry relied on this provision to tackle the problem of antisemitic behaviour. This is a short supplementary episode about the cases of Olga Scully and the Bible Believers, following on from #ITC13, which concerned a long series of proceedings relating to Frederick Toben, a Holocaust denier.

#ITC13

#ITC13: Jeremy Jones on the Toben case

In 1995, new provisions were introduced into the Racial Discrimination Act. One of those sections, 18C, still excites considerable controversy. It prohibits certain kinds of offensive, racially motivated conduct. Jeremy Jones, from the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, was centrally involved in efforts to use s18C to deal with Holocaust deniers. One particularly long-running and significant instance of this involved Frederick Toben, who was imprisoned for contempt of the Federal Court, after many years of litigation.

#ITC12

#ITC12: Kimberley Castles and Rachel Ball on Castles v Secretary to the Department of Justice

In late 2009, Kimberley Castles was imprisoned. She was undergoing IVF treatment at the time. She fought for her right to continue her fertility treatment while in prison, and in doing so she ran one of the first cases testing the application of Victoria’s Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities.

#ITC11

#ITC11: Patrick McInerney on the Catch the Fire Ministries Case

In 2002, a Christian group called ‘Catch the Fire Ministries’ conducted a seminar on Islam. Members of the Islamic Council of Victoria attended, and in response to what was presented: Islam equated with violent jihad, brought an action under Victoria’s Racial and Religious Tolerance Act. VCAT found in the Islamic Council’s favour, but Catch the Fire Ministries appealed, successfully, to the Court of Appeal. Father Patrick McInerney, a Columban priest and an expert on Islam, was a witness for the Islamic Council. He did not know what he would face, in the course of the hearing.

#ITC10

ITC#10: Jim McGinty on McGinty v WA

For many years, there was gross disparity in voting power in Western Australia, between electors in huge and sparsely populated regional electorates, and those in metropolitan electorates. It had long been a source of objection. Jim McGinty was a member of the WA parliament when he brought an unsuccessful High Court challenge to the laws which created the gap in voting power, before (as Attorney-General) he finally achieved the long hoped-for legislative reform to achieve greater parity.

#ITC9

ITC#9: Michael Kirby and Mark Aarons on the 1951 referendum

An extra episode, supplementing #ITC8: Following the finding of the High Court that the legislation effecting a ban on the Australian Communist Party was invalid, the Menzies government went to the Australian people to seek an amendment to the Constitution. Justice Michael Kirby and Mark Aarons discuss the referendum and its implications. Thanks also to the National Library of Australia, for the use of excerpts from its oral history collection: Laurie Aarons interviewed by Stewart Harris, 1991 Dec.17-1992 Mar. 4, ORAL TRC 2788.