Human Rights 2017

Castan Centre 2017 confernce

The Annual Castan Centre for Human Rights Law Conference

Date: Friday 21 July 2017
Time: 9.00am - 5.00pm
Venue: The Edge, Federation Square, Corner Swanston and Flinders Street, Melbourne


For more information on the 2017 speakers including abstracts click here.

Andrew Denton, Award winning performer, producer and writer 

Watch the full lecture on our YouTube channel.

Topic: Legalising euthanasia

Andrew Denton is an award winning writer, performer and producer. His TV programs include Enough Rope, The Chaser Decides, Hungry Beast and  The Gruen Transfer. He pioneered documentaries on difficult subjects done in a different way including The Year of the Patronising Bastard, about disability, and Angels & Demons about mental illness.  His 17-part podcast series about voluntary euthanasia, Better Off Dead, released in 2016, went to the top if the iTunes charts.

Andrew Denton 

June Oscar, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner

Watch the full lecture on our YouTube channel.

Topic: Children and Racism

June Oscar AO is a proud Bunuba woman from the remote town of Fitzroy Crossing in Western Australia’s Kimberly region. She is a strong advocate for Indigenous Australian languages, social justice, women’s issues, and has worked tirelessly to reduce Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD).

June has begun her five-year term as Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner on April 3, 2017.

June Oscar
Johnny Lawrence SC, Barrister, John Toohey Chambers, Darwin

Watch the full lecture on our YouTube channel.

Topic: Protecting Children in Detention: the Importance of Vigilance

You can read his conference paper here and read his essay on the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the NT here.

John is originally from Edinburgh Scotland and has a Scots Law Degree, (LLB) graduating from the University of Strathclyde in 1979. John came to Australia in 1980 and thereafter graduated with a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Melbourne in 1985. 

John enrolled at the Private Bar in 1997 and has practiced as a Barrister since then. John has practiced as an advocate his entire legal career in many areas, including Refugee matters, Indigenous matters and Coronial Inquests

John Lawrence

Kate Colvin, Manager – Policy and Communication, Council to Homeless Persons

Watch the full lecture on our YouTube channel.

Topic: Homelessness

Kate is responsible for the policy work and advocacy campaigns of Council to Homeless Persons, the peak body of Victoria’s homelessness sector. She’s passionate about community engagement in social change and has developed a number of national campaigns on homelessness and housing affordability including Australians for Affordable Housing, and the Vote Home campaign that was active prior to the 2016 federal election.

 Kate Colvin

Kevin Myles, Southeast Regional Field Director, National Association of the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)
A Maurice Blackburn Visiting Activist

Watch the full lecture on our YouTube channel.

Topic: Civil rights in the age of Trump (to be confirmed)

Kevin Myles serves as the Southeast Regional Field Director for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the nation's oldest and largest Civil Rights Organization. As a member of the National Field Operations Team, Kevin has played an integral role in the development and execution of several National campaigns for justice, including the campaigns for Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, Michael Brown, Freddie Gray, National and State level ‘Stand Your Ground’ Legislative reform efforts, the March on Washington, and the 1,002 mile America’s Journey for Justice march for Voting Rights, to name a few. 

Kevin Myles

Professor Jean Allain, Monash University Faculty of Law

Watch the full lecture on our YouTube channel.

Topic: What is Modern Slavery?

Prof Jean Allain is a Professor of Law in the Monash University Law Faculty and an Associate of the Castan Centre. He is the leading legal scholar on issues of human trafficking and modern slavery and Special Adviser to Anti-Slavery International, the world's oldest international human rights organisation. Prof Allain is also Professor of Public International Law with the Wilberforce Institute for the study of Slavery and Emancipation (WISE) at the University of Hull, UK. Prof Allain is also Extraordinary Professor, Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, South Africa; and Visiting Professor, Beijing Normal University (2017-2020).

Jean Allain
Ass. Prof. Jan Breckenridge, Co-Covener of the Gendered Violence Research Network.
School of Social Sciences, University of New South Wales

Watch the full lecture on our YouTube channel.

Topic: Support and service needs of victims of institutional child sex abuse – lessons from the Royal Commission

Jan Breckenridge has worked for 30 years to develop appropriately targeted policies and effective front-line practice responses to violence against women (VAW) and children.  In 2014 she was appointed as Content Specialist to the Commonwealth Government to advise on the development of the National Research Agenda on Violence Against Women.  Her current areas of research include: Sexual Assault of males in the Australian Defence Forces; ‘Safe at Home’ programs for women and children who leave a violent relationship and want to stay in the family home; Best practice responses to individuals who have experienced institutional Childhood Sexual Abuse; and, Gendered violence and work.

Jan Breckenridge
Dr Kate Seear, Senior Lecturer, Monash University Law Faculty

Watch the full lecture on our YouTube channel

Topic: The human rights case for rethinking the war on people who use drugs

Dr Kate Seear is a Senior Lecturer in Law at Monash University. She holds an Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Researcher Award Fellowship. Kate is a practising lawyer, the Academic Director of Springvale Monash Legal Service, and an Adjunct Research Fellow in the Social Studies of Addiction Concepts research program in the National Drug Research Institute, Curtin University, Australia. She has written extensively on the intersections between alcohol and other drug use, drug law and policy, stigma and discrimination.

Kate Seear


If you have any queries about the conference please tel 03 9905 3327 or email


For a copy of our sponsorship brochure, contact the Castan Centre (see above) or to discuss sponsorship options contact Marius Smith, Centre Manager on 03 9905 3386 or email

Platinum Sponsors 

Saturday Paper

Holding Redlich

Maurice Blackburn

Major Sponsors   




department of justice  

Colin Biggers & Paisley logo for web


Devers List