Human Rights Day events

by Paul McKinnon

Human Rights Day is Wednesday, 10 December. It is the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. There is much in the document that is of interest to Worklife members; the right to employment, to decent working conditions, to form trade unions to defend those conditions, to form associations in general, and the right to social security, are all canvassed. See:

Several groups are holding events on and around the actual day.

I was involved in the meeting that sought to co-ordinate them all. Most of the events are listed below.
Please support Human Rights Day by attending whichever events appeal to you.
The organising group was anxious to get union input to the supper that follows the forum on Wednesday 10 December. The plan is that during the course of the supper representatives of various human rights activists from different movements will briefly describe their campaign and its importance. It isn’t a union event, but some input from the union movement is sought and hopefully will happen. It would be unconscionable if Human Rights Day passed by without a mention of the threat to workers’ rights posed by the ABCC.

The best person to contact about the Wednesday events is Jeff Brunne of Just Rights Qld. (Mobile: 0410 551 354; Email:

Best wishes,
Paul McKinnon
4/85 Rawlins St
Kangaroo Point
Qld 4169
Ph: (07) 3392 3843

Amnesty Women’s Rights Breakfast

As part of the annual 16 days of Activism to Stop Violence Against Women, Amnesty is holding a breakfast event which will be addressed by two well-respected advocates of women’s rights.

Place: Sebel Citigate Hotel, King George Square
Time: 6.30am for 7am start, Thursday 4 December

RSVPs by 26 November – refer attached flyer and contact


Screening of “Hope”

On the occasion of Human Rights Day 2008, the Refugee Action Collective (Qld) presents a special screening of Steve Thomas’ much praised documentary, Hope – the unforgettable story of the remarkable Amal Basry, mother, Iraqi refugee and survivor of the infamous SIEV-X tragedy.

In addition to the film, updates will be given by high-profile refugee rights activists on the status of the campaign for refugee rights in Australia.

Place: Metro Arts, 109 Edward St, Brisbane
Time: 6.30 pm, Saturday 6 December 2008

Frederika Steen of the Romero Centre;
Andrew Bartlett, refugee advocate and former Senator

Entry by donation
Further information: Paul, Phone 3392 3843 or email


“Every Human has Rights” – Human Rights Day Forum and Supper

JRQ, in partnership with Amnesty International and QCCL, are pleased to announce the holding of a public forum and supper to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The free public forum is being held at the Sebel Citigate Hotel, Brisbane, from 6.30 pm on Wednesday 10 December.  We will hear from our speakers, including Phillip Adams and Stephen Keim, from 7pm.

Following the forum, at 8.30 pm, the supper is an opportunity to hear from and acknowledge the work of human rights activists who have tirelessly contributed to the advancement of various human rights during the year.  The cost of the supper is $35 per person.

RSVPs are essential – refer attached flyers and contact


Christmas Carols and Celebration of Life

Australians Against Capital Punishment are holding their annual festive event – entertainment and speakers to be finalised shortly.

Place: Queens Park, George and Elizabeth Sts
Time: 5.30 for 6-7pm event, 12 December 2008

Further information: Tina on email


Aboriginal Rights are Human Rights!

Organised by the Aboriginal Rights Coalitions, this rally highlights the many Indigenous Rights issues that remain in a year that began with the much-publicised apology to the stolen generations.  The rally calls for:

An end to the NT Intervention – Land Rights not Leases
An end to Black Deaths in Custody – Free Lex Wotton

Place: Queens Park, corner of George and Elizabeth Streets
Time: 2pm Saturday December 13th

Further information: Lauren on email


Connections Sat 6th Dec 2008 2-4 pm Nazareth Church Hall 12 Hawthorne St Wooloongabba

Yarning Place

Men’s Group

TI Singers

Click showcase-dec-08-songlines to download poster

9 thoughts on “Human Rights Day events

  1. A reminder that the next meeting of the Brisbane Aboriginal Rights Coalition will be:

    From 6.30pm, Wednesday 26th November, on level 2 of the Trades and Labour Council (TLC) Building, 16 Peel Street South Brisbane.

    On the agenda so far –

    1. Update on the Human Rights Day statement circulation and sign-on’s,

    2. Discussion and organising for the Brisbane Human Rights Day rally for 13 Dec, 2008

    3. Organising for the Lex Wotton fundraiser for 12 Dec. 2008

    All welcome to attend.

    Also, attached is the Free Lex Wotton t-shirt design the ARC is selling to fundraise to support Lex Wotton and his family.

    If you’d like to order a shirt (they’re $20 each) send an email to

  2. Reminder for the ARC organising meeting tonight (Tuesday 3 Dec 2008) from 6.30pm, level 2 of the Trades and Labour Council Building – 16 Peel Street South Brisbane. All welcome

    Also, there are a few events coming up where we can leaflet and talk to people about the upcoming Human Rights Day rally. Let me know if you can help out at any of the following (0413 534 125) and I’ve uploaded the Human Rights day rally leaflet to the files section so everyone can access it:

    *ARC stall
    at the West End markets this Saturday 6th December from 8am. We’ll set up at the riverside entrance in Davies Park.

    *ANTAR lunch at Jagera Hall 12 – 2pm Saturday 6th December

    *Human Rights Day public forum (organised by Just Rights and coalition of QLD human rights groups) with guest speakers Stephen Keim SC and Phillip Adams AO. Wednesday 10th December from 6pm, Sebel-Citigate, Cnr Ann and Roma Sts, Brisbane. If you also want to rsvp for a place at the free forum you can email or phone 07 3136 6400. It will be followed by a post-forum dinner from 8.30pm, tickets are $35, rsvp essential.

    *Refugee Action Collective film screening of Hope, a documentary on the story of Amal Basry, an Iraqi refugee and survivor of the infamous SIEV-X tragedy. In addition to the film, updates will be given by high-profile refugee rights activists on the status of the campaign for refugee rights in Australia. Metro Arts, 109 Edward St, Brisbane from 6.30pm, Saturday 6 December.

  3. A notice about a forum on Human Rights Day (10 December), followed by a dinner.

    Maggie May has agreed to speak at the forum to present some of the activities which Worklife has been carrying out over the past year, from a human rights perspective.
    All are welcome to attend – see below – the forum is free, but you will need to rsvp for the dinner which costs $35 each.

    Ross Gwyther.

  4. Hi Lauren and other folks who keep us in touch with the intervention and other Indigenous issues we need to be aware of.

    Thank you for doing so.

    Hoping you are well. Just thought you might like to know about the Songlines Choir Showcase this coming Sat, many of you may be busy as there is much on that day but just in case there’s time in the afternoon to hear some great songs, some Indigenous too, I thought I’d attach you the invite. Click here

    The Indigenous Elders singing group;
    Yarning Place Choir, that I play guitar for will also be at the showcase, so it will be a treat as will afternoon tea provided.

    See how you go, and sorry ’bout the short notice, I’ll do better at that next year.

    Tania Majourie

  5. Celebrate World Human Rights Day !
    with 3CR @ 855AM and the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre presenting from 12 midday until 2pm
    “Seeds of dissent!”
    Listen in on December 10th as Human Rights stories
    will be featured across the entire day on 3CR.
    Live radio broadcast

    Wednesday December 10th
    12 – 2pm on 3CR 855AM
    Melbourne’s independent voice, since 1976

    Ph: {03} 9419 8377


    Tune in to hear the unique stories, voices and musical
    performances of Melbourne’s refugee communities

    Pamela Curr Campaign coordinator
    Asylum Seeker Resource Centre
    12 Batman St
    Melbourne 3003
    Ph 03 93266006 / Fax 03 93265199

  6. They (the federal government) have to look very carefully at their policies and ask themselves whether or not they can continue to say that the abolition of temporary protection visas (TPV’s)has got nothing to do with an increase in people smuggling.

    says Malcolm Turnbull.

    Well Mr Turnbull you are quite wrong.


    TPV’s have provided customers for the people smuggling trade in the past and are doing so right now.

    Three of the families now incarcerated in an Indonesian detention centre have fathers recognised as refugees and given TPV’s.

    One man recognised by Australia as a refugee and given a TPV, after 7 years family separation heeded the cries of his children and went back to help his family. He was imprisoned and narrowly escaped, then gathered up his family and ran to Indonesia where he has waited 3 years to be recgnised by UNHCR as a refugee.

    There he cannot work, his children have no schooling but they are fed and housed. The others have similar stories.

    At least two of the families on Christmas Island are former TPV holders who went back to help their families and then have tried to return.

    This is what the TPV achieved. Men and women separated from their children and their spouses for years and years while the Howard government prevaricated.

    When they could bear the separation no longer they left Australia only to find the same persecution from which they fled and have to run again.

    These five are but a sample of the misery created by the vicious TPV system- there are others.

    Politicians may not understand how it feels not to see their children and spouses for 7 years but ordinary Australians know how important family is.
    They know the desperation which causes people to put their lives at risk when their families need them

    353 Women and children and men but mostly women and children drowned on the SIEVX in 2001- why because of the TPV.
    They risked their lives to rejoin the fathers and husbands which the Howard /Ruddock TPV policy denied to them.

    Please Stone and Turnbull- enough.

    Pamela Curr Campaign coordinator
    Asylum Seeker Resource Centre
    12 Batman St
    Melbourne 3003
    Ph 03 93266006 / Fax 03 93265199

  7. Reducing Indigenous Imprisonment Forum

    ANTaR Qld and the Bridge Network are seeking to establish a coalition of interested organisations and individuals who want to reduce the shocking over-representation of Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders in Queensland prisons.

    As part of the coalition building process we invite all human rights and social justice supporters, and the associations or organisations with which you are connected, to a Forum on Saturday 28 February 2009.

    Our purpose and goal should primarily be focussed on Reducing the over and unacceptable rate of incarceration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples in the Criminal Justice System.

    Only then will we feel comfortable, we will have achieved some measures of Social Justice.

    Statement to ANTaR by Uncle Albert Holt, Community & Murri Court Elder, 2 December 2008

    Forum and Workshops

    When: Saturday 28 February 2009

    Where: Undumbi Room, Parliamentary Annexe, Alice St, Brisbane
    Come by Ferry, Bus, bike or car: Parking under the Bridge, parliamentary Car park, mention ANTaR meeting

    10:10 Morning Tea – hosted by the Speaker, Hon Mike Reynolds

    10:30 Opening words: ANTaR Qld President

    Acknowledgement – Rev Aunty Alex Gater , Prison Chaplain

    10:40 Noritta Morseu Diop – An Indigenous Perspective .

    Noritta has many years of experience counselling families and prisoners and has researched cultural healing practices in New Zealand and Queensland

    11:10 Meg Perkins Over-representation of Indigenous People in Prison

    Meg is a Registered Psychologist who has been working in prisons and with prisoners for eighteen years.

    11:40 Les Malezer, The Administration of Justice
    Les is Chair of FAIRA, and Indigenous Advocate at United Nations

    12:10 BBQ Lunch on Speaker’s Green (provided)

    1:10 Choice of workshops: to discuss advocacy and support for

    • prison programs and post prison support to reduce re-imprisonment rates

    • supportive programs that support at-risk families and communities

    • legal and justice policy and implementation issues
    and to share expertise, networks and resources to achieve a real reduction in indigenous imprisonment.

    1:55 Workshop reports and Recommendations from Forum

    2:30 Close

    Forum Cost: $20 non Coalition-members / $15 members /$10 Concession

    Pre-Registration by Thursday 19 February is essential.

    Pre-Registration by Thursday 19 February is essential
    Forum Cost: $20 non Coalition-members / $15 members /$10 Concession

    Register now: please send completed form to ANTaR Qld,
    Ph/Fx: 07 3844 9800 or
    Mail: office 10, 27 Cordelia St, Sth Brisbane Q 4101

    ANTaR Reducing Indigenous Imprisonment Forum & Workshop 2009 Registration

    Attendee name/s (Please note: if vegetarian BBQ preferred)

    Forum Cost: $20 non Coalition-members / $15 members /$10 Concession includes BBQ lunch on Speaker’s Green

    Full $20 Member $15 Concession $10 Total $
    No of tickets

    Contact Ph No______________________________________Mobile___________________________
    Address of cardholder__________________________________________________________________

    I/We will pay (amount)$ by 0 cheque/money order (payable to ANTaR QLD)

    0 credit card – please complete your card details below or phone 07 3844 9800
    0 Visa 0 Mastercard

    Card No: ¬ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ Expiry Date: ______/_______

    Name on Card: ______________________________________

    Signature: ______________________________________

  8. February 3, 2009

    Open letter to Jenny Macklin MP regarding the Northern Territory Intervention.

    Enough is enough.

    You talk about ‘closing the gap’ between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people. But we want to close the Gap our way, on our terms- not like past assimilation policies.

    Self-determination has been shattered and abused by the government. They change laws every year, every time they come into power.

    How can we trust your government? You are pushing out the NT Intervention, which is racist to the hilt. Your policies are hammering down on us on all sides. They are making it harder to get food, live on traditional lands and live day to day. Children are being punished through this Intervention. All it has given us is heartache.

    How would you like it if your home were invaded? How would you like it to be Income Managed?

    The health of our communities is deteriorating. For example, Sunrise Health Clinic in Katherine is seeing increasing anaemia rates in children. Youth suicide is emerging as a problem, where it did not exist before.

    Regardless of the consequences and feelings of people who are affected, in a law of court you have to be trialled before convicted. We didn’t even have that opportunity.

    Compulsory land acquisition is a gateway to longer leases. 5 years, 40 years, 99 years. Now you are threatening to not build houses until we sign your leases. But we will not sign.

    The government has changed but your top advisors and bureaucrats have not. Their brains have melted into John Howard’s way. You are listening to them, instead of listening to us. It’s really bad. Get rid of your advisors and start afresh.

    The vision of our old people comes with responsibility to maintain our land and culture. Development of our communities must support our dreams and aspirations, with our land and resources in our hands.

    There is a national campaign that will not accept this racism from the government and we will fight- starting from prescribed areas, with supporters stretching out across the country.
    You have the power to reinstate the RDA but you choose not to. As long as you don’t, there is still suffering. You are murdering us.

    There is nothing dignified about losing our rights as a human being based on being an aboriginal citizen. We as a people have merit we have worth we have incredible knowledge and culture and most of all we have courage and hope for the future.

    We demand:

    -Repeal of the Northern Territory Intervention laws

    -Immediate reinstatement of the Racial Discrimination Act and the NT Anti-Discrimination Act

    – That you organise a series of day long meetings across the NT before March 21, 2009 to come and listen to all Aboriginal woman who want to meet with you.

    – Funding for housing and essential services for all communities without having to sign leases

    -Provide us with a list of all of your advisors on the Intervention

    -Provide access to all evidence provided to you from advisors regarding the NT Intervention

    -Immediately remove all Government Business Managers and resource properly funded Aboriginal community councils

    -Endorse and implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People

    -Stop the promotion of genocide. By the UN Genocide Convention, one definition of genocide is; Conditions of life set to destroy the group in whole or in part.

    Signed: The Prescribed Area People’s Alliance delegation to Canberra, February 2009.

    Cc: Prime Minister Kevin Rudd
    Warren Snowdon MP
    Senator Trish Crossin

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