Tag: Human rights

  • Religious discrimination in Australian health law: hype or reality?

    Queensland has passed the Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2021. I’m disappointed in Queensland’s Parliament, not for passing assisted dying legislation, but for consciously trampling over the religious beliefs of Catholic and other religious healthcare organisations. Catholic hospitals are right to be aggrieved.  It’s entirely predictable that church institutions are now considering civil disobedience. (See “Catholic […]

  • A triumph for religious freedom, or viral spreading? The US Supreme Court in Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn v Cuomo

    During his Presidency, President Trump had the opportunity to appoint three new Justices to the U.S. Supreme Court. In 2017, the acerbic conservative Justice Neil Gorsuch replaced Justice Antonin Scalia; In 2018, Justice Brett Kavanaugh replaced retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy; and In 2020, Justice Amy Coney Barrett replaced Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. These three appointments […]

  • Freedom to protest, public health, and Covid-19

    Update: the podcast of the event described below is now available, click here. Recently, a number of protests have taken place on the grounds of The University of Sydney against Commonwealth government education policies.  See, for example, here (28 August) and here (14 October). During the latter protest, police were filmed throwing a demonstrator heavily onto […]

  • Rule of law in the Covid-19 response

    The International Development Law Organisation (IDLO) has released a short publication that highlights the role of law in governments’ response to Covid-19.  See here. Established by international treaty in 1988, IDLO is an inter-governmental organisation devoted to upholding the rule of law.  Australia, and the United States, are among its 37 member parties, which span […]

  • International Guidelines on Human Rights, Healthy Diets and Sustainable Food Systems: could they make a difference?

    The BMJ has published an Opinion calling on the Director-General of the World Health Organisation, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Dr Michelle Bachelet, to jointly initiate a process to develop International Guidelines on Human Rights, Healthy Diets, and Sustainable Food Systems. 180 signatories from 38 countries have supported […]

  • Medical treatment in the best interests of the child: onshore, and offshore

    There are troubling disparities between the medical treatment that children receive, depending on whether they live onshore – in Australia, or offshore – in immigration detention in places like Nauru.  But do these disparities have a legal basis? Medical treatment and the best interests of the child: onshore Exercising their parens patriae jurisdiction, Australian Supreme […]

  • Trump: the war on breastfeeding

    The New York Times reports that US officials threatened to unleash trade sanctions and withdraw military aid from Ecuador unless it withdrew a resolution at May’s World Health Assembly calling on governments to “protect, promote and support breast-feeding”. The article is worth reading in its entirety. As the father of a currently breastfeeding infant, I […]

  • Advancing the Right to Health: the Vital Role of Law

    More than 20 years ago, Chris Reynolds, an Australian pioneer in our understanding of public health law, wrote that: “law is a powerful tool, as potent as any of the medical technologies available to treat disease”, and yet “our understanding of the potential of [public health law]…to help…citizens to lead longer and healthier lives, is […]

  • It’s time for the government to stop shooting the messenger

    The constant attacks on Professor Gillian Triggs represent attacks on the human rights and civil liberties that Australians value. Since 1986, the Human Rights Commission has been the watchdog for human rights for Australia.  The President and her Commissioners are necessarily independent of government and have a duty to fearlessly advocate for human rights protections […]