Public Lecture: Human Rights in Queensland and Beyond

Crime, Justice and Social Democracy Research Centre member and Australian Privacy Foundation Board member Dr Monique Mann organised a large public lecture on the topic of Human Rights in Queensland and Beyond. Professor George Williams AO, Dean and Anthony Mason Professor of Law at the University of NSW, joined the QUT Faculty of Law to deliver a keynote lecture examining a range of issues relating to human rights in Australia and internationally.

This event was co-hosted with a range of community, legal and government partners including: Human Rights Act for Queensland Campaign, Australian Privacy Foundation, Australian Lawyers for Human Rights, Queensland Council for Civil Liberties and Office of the Information Commissioner Queensland.

Professor Williams discussed the current state of human rights (or lack thereof) in Australia, the process and challenges associated with the development, implementation and enforcement of human rights charters, and most importantly, how a Queensland Human Rights Act would affect Queenslanders and Australians more broadly.

Following the lecture, a diverse panel of experts reflected on the importance of a Human Rights Act in their specific domain. The panellists included:

•             Ms Aimee McVeigh, Human Rights for QLD Campaign

•             Mr Shane Duffy, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service QLD

•             Ms Karyn Walsh, Micah Projects

•             Mr Phil Green, QLD Privacy Commissioner

•             Dr Bridget Lewis, QUT Faculty of Law

The event and discussion around this topic is particularly relevant following the Palaszczuk Government’s election commitment in early 2018 to introduce a Human Rights Act in Queensland. It is anticipated that the Palaszczuk Government will release a draft of the Queensland Human Rights Act in the near future.

The lecture attracted over 150 community, government and academic representatives. Philip Green, QLD Privacy Commissioner and panelist, found the discussion highly rewarding and shared his experience of the event: “I believe the discussion will be of tremendous benefit as Queensland embarks on public debate of a draft bill and as Australia debates some very concerning legislative

Publication: The legal geographies of transnational cyber-prosecutions: Extradition, human rights and forum shifting

Crime and Justice Research Centre member Dr Monique Mann, along with Deakin University colleagues Dr Ian Warren and Ms Sally Kennedy, recently published ‘The legal geographies of transnational cyber-prosecutions: Extradition, human rights and forum shifting’ in the leading international (Q1) journal Global Crime.

The article describes legal and human rights issues in three cases of transnational online offending involving extradition requests by the United States (US). These cases were selected as all suspects claimed the negative impacts of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) were sufficient to deny extradition on human rights grounds. The authors demonstrate how recent developments in UK and Irish extradition law raise human rights and prosecutorial challenges specific to online offending that are not met by established protections under domestic and internationally sanctioned approaches to extradition, or human rights, law. In these cases, although the allegedly unlawful conduct occurred exclusively online and concurrent jurisdiction enables prosecution at both the source and location of harm, the authors demonstrate why national courts hearing extradition challenges are extremely reluctant to shift the trial forum. They conclude by discussing the implications of the new geographies of online offending for future criminological research and transnational criminal justice.

Keywords: Extradition, computer hacking, legal geography, human rights, autism spectrum disorders, Asperger’s syndrome.

The article can be accessed at this link:

Supporting Survivors of Domestic and Family Violence: RSVP by 17 April 2015

Supporting Survivors of Domestic and Family Violence: Challenges and Recommendations for Justice Responses

QUT’s Crime and Justice Research Centre and CQU’s Queensland Centre for Domestic and Family Violence Research for a discussion about research and practice to improve justice responses to domestic and family violence in Queensland. We welcome practitioners, survivors, scholars, students and community members to attend this community event.

Date: Tuesday 21 April 2015
Time: 1.30pm – 5.00pm with afternoon tea provided from 3.30pm – 4.00pm          Location: SLQ Auditorium 2,
State Library of Queensland, Cultural Precinct, Stanley Place, South Bank, Brisbane, 4101
see map here

Please RSVP by Friday 17 April 2015 to

Panel 1: Domestic violence: Improving systems responses to Indigenous survivors

Research Perspective
Who’s failing whom? From policy to criminology: The potential consequences of Indigenous children’s exposure to family violence and its impact on Indigenous families and communities.
Dr Kylie Cripps
Indigenous Law Centre, Faculty of Law, University of New South Wales

Practice Perspective
Key challenges and recommendations for improving legal systems responses to survivors: Regional and metropolitan experiences
Wynetta Dewis and Hayley Smith
Queensland Indigenous Family Violence Legal Service

Panel 2: Criminal Justice Responses to Domestic Violence

Research Perspective
Muslim women’s experiences with the criminal justice system in Australia: Reporting intimate partner violence
Dr Nada Ibrahim
Queensland Centre for Domestic and Family Violence Research

Practice Perspective
Domestic violence and the criminal law: Can we do this better?
Her Honour Judge Fleur Y Kingham
District Court Judge, Queensland

cdfvr cqu






Women’s only police stations to combat violence against women


by Professor Kerry Carrington 

On International Women’s Day 8 March 2015 it is timely to reflect on Australia’s progress on addressing violence against women. The data shows persistent increases in the incidence of domestic violence  –  although this could mean an increase in reporting, rather than an increase in violence. A variety of measures reveal that domestic violence is a chronic problem accounting for 44% of homicides in Qld from 2006 to 2012.

The recently released Qld Taskforce report Not Now Not Ever made 140 recommendations designed to combat the persistent problem of domestic and family violence. While there are many worthwhile suggestions here, one obvious one has been overlooked – women’s only police stations.

Brazil was the first country to establish women’s only police stations in 1985 and now has 485. Since then, women’s only police stations have spread across Latin America, including Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Peru, and Uruguay. These are specialist police stations that deal exclusively with female victims of sexual and domestic violence. Female police officers are specially trained in how to sensitively address women’s experience of violence. Evaluations have found they enhance women’s willingness to report, increase the likelihood of conviction and enlarge access to a range of other services such as counselling, contraception, legal, financial and social support. Women’s only police are being introduced in other parts of the world, including India, Philippines, Sierra Leone, South Africa and Uganda. Given their effectiveness, United Nations Women is encouraging other countries to consider the success of women’s only police stations. Perhaps it’s time Queensland, indeed Australia, looked to these examples from unlikely parts of the globe.

Why have Latin American women’s groups been so effective? I believe the key to their success has been the high participation rate of women in politics and their ability to work together through Los Encuentros. These are annual meetings that bring together a diverse array of women’s and feminist agencies and organistions with the aim of enhancing women’s  justice and equality. Women have met every year for the last 22 years, more formally as Encuentro Feministas since 2001, to plan how they can tackle the problems women face across the vast South American continent.  Collectively they have lobbied for the governments of South America to introduce women only police stations and other measures that assist the victims of domestic violence.

Latin America women’s participation in the political sphere is among the highest in the world, at 38% of MPs. This is higher than women’s participation in politics in the United States and Australia. Women in Australia have a long way to go to in terms of political representation.

Women in politics and public life are subject to systemic ridicule and belittling – the most recent being the unwarranted attacks on Gillian Triggs, the President of the Human Rights Commission. Who could forget the ‘ditch the witch’ campaign and unrelenting hammering of Julia Gillard, Australia’s first Prime Minister, and her brilliant heartfelt speech about sexism and mysogny that went viral.There are only two female Ministers in the LNP coalition Australian cabinet.

The new Qld Labor Government led by Annastacia Palaszczuk has a female deputy (Jackie Tradd) and more female ministers (8) than male (6) and an Indigenous woman, Leeanne Enoch, as minister for housing and public works. This historic cabinet is a fine first for Australia and provides hope that things just might be improving for women in politics. It is cause for celebration on International Women’s Day 2015. Let’s hope this historic cabinet look outwards and sidewards to Latin America for examples of innovative ways to address violence against women.

Professor Kerry Carrington is Head of the School of Justice, Faculty of Law QUT and author of Feminism and Global Justice, Routledge, (2015).

Abstracts due March 16! 2015 Crime, Justice and Social Democracy International Conference


2015 Crime, Justice and Social Democracy International Conference
July 8-10, 2015 QUT Brisbane, Australia
8 July Postgraduate Event followed by Welcome Drinks
9-10 July main conference, keynotes and panels

Abstracts are due by March 16, 2015
To submit an abstract visit


For inquiries, please contact:

Please note that Brisbane accommodation is heavily booked for July 8 due to the State of Origin football match so early booking is essential.

The Forgotten Children: National Inquiry into Children in Immigration Detention


Image from In Their Own Words: 25 Drawings From Children In Detention

Blog post by Dr Helen Berents

“Australia currently holds about 800 children in mandatory closed immigration detention for indefinite periods, with no pathway to protection or settlement. This includes 186 children detained on Nauru. Children and their families have been held on the mainland and on Christmas Island for, on average, one year and two months. Over 167 babies have been born in detention within the last 24 months. This Report gives a voice to these children.”

This is the foreword of the Australian Human Rights Commission’s (AHRC) The Forgotten Children: National Inquiry into Children in Immigration Detention (2014), which was tabled in federal parliament last week. The result of ten months of research this Report fulfils the AHRC’s commitment to follow-up their report, A Last Resort?, from a decade ago.

The findings are damning, both of this government and the previous Labor governments. Between January 2013 and March 2014 there were 128 incidents of self-harm and 171 incidents of threatened self-harm, 233 assaults on children, and 27 cases of voluntary starvation/hunger strikes. Prolonged detention, according to the Report, was inherently dangerous of children and “prolonged detention is having profoundly negative impacts on the mental and emotional health and development of children”. The full findings are difficult reading, and the recommendations made by the Commission —including the establishment of a royal commission—are worthy of more than the blame-shifting and politicking that has followed the release of the Report. There is much to unpick from the report, but I wanted to briefly pick up two points of discussion in relation to international and federal politics and justice.

Australia’s International Obligations

While last week’s report found some improvements in terms of absolute numbers, the AHRC was scathing of the ongoing treatment of children in detention. AHRC President Gillian Triggs has previously observed how Australia’s treatment of asylum seeker children is in breach of international law. The UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) has repeatedly expressed concerns over Australia’s detention of children citing its illegality under international law; the inadequacy of support and process; and the significant, ongoing, negative psychological and health effects of detention on children.

Detaining children should only ever be a measure of “last resort” and, crucially, “for the shortest appropriate period of time”. It must also “not be arbitrary”. Those words come from Article 37 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989), which Australia is not only a signatory of but was also centrally involved during its creation. When children might need to be briefly detained (for instance while health checks are being carried out) there are minimum standards for their protection, also set out in the Convention on the Rights of the Child including that they “should be treated with humanity and respect”, “they should not suffer torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment”, and whoever is responsible for the child (parent or legal guardian) must protect them from “all forms of physical or mental violence, injury, or abuse”. Across all these standards Australia has failed, the Report makes that perfectly clear.

Risk to Democratic Process

The government’s response to the AHRC’s report was also troubling. Prime Minister Abbott slammed it as ‘partisan’ despite it covering periods of both Labour and Liberal governments, and other ministers criticised the AHRC, President Triggs herself, and the media coverage of the report.

The response of the government—personal attacks rather than engaging the issues—is concerning for democracy, justice, and public debate in this country. The AHRC, along with other bodies are independent statutory bodies under Australian law. Danielle Celermajer, writing in The Conversation argues that “democracy is not a partisan issue”. The Australian Bar Association, the Law Council of Australia, and a group of 50 academics have all written statements or letters saying the attacks on the AHRC and Triggs herself undermine confidence in our system of justice and political processes.

Many experts are vocal about not only of what the findings tell us, the inadequacy of the government’s response, but also are expressing strong disapproval that the government has ruled out an royal commission into children in immigration detention.

There are complex reasons why people seek asylum, and in our contemporary world these issues are going to continue to become more complex and more pressing. Similarly, there are tensions between need to uphold security for all Australians and our national and international obligations to others. Triggs said “it is imperative that Australian governments never again use the lives of children to achieve political or strategic advantage…Australia is better than this.” The  to the Report notes the way we treat asylum seekers “goes to the core of our identity as a nation”. The gut-wrenching, difficult findings of The Forgotten Children ask our politicians and all Australians to think carefully about how (and with whose suffering) we want to construct our identity as a nation. The stories told by the children themselves within its pages demand nothing less.

International Journal For Crime, Justice and Social Democracy, Vol 3 (3) will be pubished 1 December 2014


A bumper end of year edition of the International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy was published on 1 December 2014.

This edition brings a selection of authors from across the northern and southern hemispheres together to address several key themes around sexual violence, risk and sex offending, the politics of law reform – in criminal law and Native Title legislation –   and yet more examples of the dysfunction of prisons as  a method of ‘correction’ in both Australia and Canada.