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Grootboom and the right to housing: A (Virtual) Comparative Conversation between students at UNSW and Oxford

Grootboom and the right to housing: A (Virtual) Comparative Conversation between students at UNSW and Oxford

Students from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) and the University of Oxford recently demonstrated the potential of a virtual classroom as a medium for facilitating debate and comparative analysis of human rights issues. Students from UNSW created a short video entitled “An Australian Grootboom: What Would It Look Like, and How Would It [...]

Over to you, Parliament – The significance of the Australian High Court’s judgment on same-sex marriage

Over to you, Parliament – The significance of the Australian High Court’s judgment on same-sex marriage

A striking feature of Australian High Court jurisprudence in recent years is the Court’s use of orthodox judicial analysis to decide issues of deep political controversy and high significance for individual rights. This can be seen in the recent case of The Commonwealth v Australian Capital Territory (for further commentary on this case and its [...]

The Commonwealth v The Australian Capital Territory: Marriage Equality in the High Court

The Commonwealth v The Australian Capital Territory: Marriage Equality in the High Court

On Thursday the High Court of Australia effectively struck down the nation’s first same-sex marriage laws. But there was a silver lining for marriage equality activists: in striking down marriage laws passed by a territorial parliament, the High Court firmly indicated that it was within the constitutional power of the Australian national parliament to legislate [...]

Australian judge lays down gauntlet for proponents of human rights instruments

Australian judge lays down gauntlet for proponents of human rights instruments

Last week we featured a post by Professor Brice Dickson on whether the common law would adequately fill any void left by the Human Rights Act 1998 (UK) (HRA), should it be repealed.  He referred to a lecture given by Dyson Heydon, former justice of the High Court of Australia (HCA).  Today, Emma Hoiberg takes [...]

True Reconciliation Requires a Treaty

True Reconciliation Requires a Treaty

Treaties are accepted around the world as the means of reaching a settlement between Indigenous peoples and those who have settled their lands.  Australia is the only Commonwealth nation that does not have a treaty with its Indigenous peoples. We have never entered into negotiations with them about the taking of their lands or their [...]

Wedding Crashers in Canberra?

Wedding Crashers in Canberra?

The Australian Capital Territory made Australian history this week as the first Australian jurisdiction to provide for same-sex marriage. The ACT, Australia’s equivalent of the US District of Columbia, first announced plans to legislate on marriage equality in September, and the first marriages under the laws could take place later this year. But there is [...]

The Tasmanian Dams Case, 30 Years On – Unfulfilled Promises

The Tasmanian Dams Case, 30 Years On – Unfulfilled Promises

The landmark Australian Tasmanian Dams case celebrated its 30th anniversary in August 2013. This case was a turning point for Australia. It had significant implications both for the interpretation of federal constitutional powers as well as the political relationship between the Commonwealth and the States. In a 4:3 decision, the High Court of Australia held that the [...]

Ten Thousand Miles from Wall Street: Muldoon v. Melbourne City Council

Ten Thousand Miles from Wall Street: Muldoon v. Melbourne City Council

Melbourne is ten thousand miles from Wall Street. And yet, as a Federal Court of Australia decision demonstrated this week, the legal ramifications of the Occupy Wall Street movement are no less significant for the distance. In Muldoon v Melbourne City Council, North J of the Federal Court largely dismissed a number of applications made [...]

Bugmy v The Queen: Exploring the Significance of Indigenous Background in Sentencing

Bugmy v The Queen: Exploring the Significance of Indigenous Background in Sentencing

Bugmy v The Queen provides the High Court of Australia with its first opportunity in thirty years to rule on the significance of Indigenous background in sentencing. The overrepresentation of Indigenous offenders in Australian prisons has doubled in the last twenty years: in the early 1990s indigenous offenders represented 14 per cent of the prison population, today they [...]

Refugee rights and the lucky country: Does Australia’s regional resettlement plan violate human rights?

Refugee rights and the lucky country:  Does Australia’s regional resettlement plan violate human rights?

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has announced that people who come by boat to Australia and claim asylum will be transferred to detention facilities at Manus Island in Papua New Guinea (PNG) for processing and be permanently resettled in that country.  PNG signed up to Australia’s “Regional Resettlement Arrangement” (RRA) in exchange for hundreds of [...]

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