Skip to main content


Here you will find an archive of news stories from the Centre of Human Rights Education.


In the August 2011 student graduation ceremony two of the Centre’s PhD students were awarded doctorates. Nick Halfpenny completed his PhD on the topic of Discretion and Control at the Front Line: Rationalities of practice in child and youth services.

Hannah McGlade’s thesis on Aboriginal Child Sexual Assault and the Criminal Justice System: The last frontier, also received the Vice-Chancellor’s commendation. The high quality of her thesis resulted in Hannah receiving the Stanner Award of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies and her thesis will be published by Aboriginal Studies Press.

Congratulations to Professor Anna Haebich on receiving the Margaret Medcalf award ‘for excellence in research and referencing in using the state archives collection’. The award was presented for Anna’s book Murdering Stepmothers: the execution of Martha Rendell, on 3 August 2011 at the State Library’s Theatre in the Perth Cultural Centre.

Visiting Members of Parliament about the Treatment of Asylum Seekers

A new lobbying project was launched at the Centre for Human Rights Education’s recent event ‘Australia’s Detention Values: Rhetoric or Reality?’ in March 2011.

If you are concerned about the treatment of asylum seekers, particularly in relation to mandatory detention, you might like to visit your local federal Member of Parliament to tell them about your concerns. If you would like to find out more, you can find information here and here on mandatory detention and how to go about visiting your local MP.

Post date – 04/05/2011

Caroline Fleay’s book, Australia and Human Rights: Situating the Howard Government, was recently launched at the event ‘Australia’s Detention Values: Rhetoric or Reality?’ on 30 March 2011.  Approximately 100 people attended the evening event which included numerous speakers from across Western Australia including: – Linda Briskman;  Michelle Dimasi; Clare Middlemas; Sue Hoffman; Dr Caroline Fleay; and Dr Anne Pederson. As all of the speakers discussed, Refugee Detention Centres are a breach of Australia’s international obligations under the UN Refugee Convention, which further stigmatise and traumatise refugees seeking protection in Australia.

Linda Briskman together with a Monash research team (Dr Deborah Zion and A/Professor Bebe Loff) was a finalist in 2010 for the Australian Museum Eureka Prize for Research in Ethics.

Welcome to Professor Anna Haebich who has been awarded a Curtin Senior Research Fellowship for her project titled: “Sustaining Indigenous Cultures and Wellbeing through the Performing Arts” for the next five years. We look forward to having Anna here at CHRE and learning from her rich scholarship and her ongoing research in the field of Aboriginal history and rights.

Welcome to our six new PhD students who started with CHRE this year. The Centre’s Post Graduate Research program has extensively grown over the past 12 months and we now have over 20 PhD students with us researching a diverse array of topics under the broad rubric of Human Rights.

The Centre is now registered with Open University Australia (OUA). This has enabled the Centre to attract a diverse range of students from across Australia in our post-graduate course work program – the Graduate Certificate and Master of Human Rights. Welcome to all new OUA students. We hope that you enjoy the course as much as our local Curtin students have over the years.


Congratulations to Karen Soldatic, who in partnership with Barbara Pini, Curtin University and Helen Meekosha, University of New South Wales have been awarded an ARC Discovery grant for the next three years (2011 – 2013) for their research project Disability in Rural Australia.

Australia and Human Rights: Situating the Howard Government

Congratulations to Dr Caroline Fleay whose book – Australia and Human Rights: Situating the Howard Government – is ready for release. Caroline’s book explores the Howard government’s term in office in Australia from 1996 to 2007. This term is often portrayed as one where Australia retreated from its international human rights obligations. Throughout this era a range of government policies attracted much criticism for downplaying or ignoring human rights. Less attention has been given to the human rights policies of previous Australian governments and the heritage they provided for the Howard government. Situating the policies of the Howard government within those of previous Australian governments provides a greater understanding of human rights in Australia.

Australia and Human Rights: Situating the Howard Government examines human rights policies in Australia in three key areas: human rights in Australia-China relations; responses to asylum seekers and refugees; and engagement with human rights at the United Nations. These areas highlight where the Howard government clearly deviated from some of the more positive human rights policies of its predecessors. The book also challenges the perception that Australia has a proud history of human rights policy by revealing where the Howard government continued or revived policies of earlier Australian governments that were not consistent with international human rights standards. Such an understanding of human rights in Australian policy is imperative for informed analysis and debate on current and future policy trends.

Welcome to Dr Karen Soldatic who has joined us as a lecturer while Lucy Fiske is on leave during 2010. Karen’s main interests include disability rights with a particular focus on the interesectionality of disability, gender and class in the global south.

Karen co-convenes the Australian Sociological Association’s Critical Disability Studies Group with Helen Meekosha, and also sits on a number of disability advocacy boards within Western Australia.

Karen is currently teaching Disability Rights, Community Education and Consciousness Raising, Women’s rights and Activism, Advocacy and Change.

In 2009 Dr Caroline Fleay was awarded a Curtin University Professional Development Scholarship, which facilitated a research trip to China. Caroline’s book, Australia and Human Rights: Situating the Howard government, will be published in 2010.

Professor Linda Briskman has been accepted as a Visiting Fellow at Oxford University’s Centre for Refugee Studies from July-September 2010 and a Visiting Fellow at Lancaster University in October. She will be on Academic Study Leave for a six month period from July to conduct comparative research on asylum seekers in four countries.

Dr Miyume Tanji recently convened a Gender and Occupation workshop at the University of Wollongong. Her latest book, Gender and military occupations and interventions in the Asia Pacific 1945-2009 is soon to be published by the University of Hawaii Press.

Lucy Fiske is on leave for 2010 to complete her PhD on Insider resistance: The role of human rights in refugees’ political actions.


The latest book by Emeritus Professor Jim Ife was recently published by Oxford University Press – Human Rights from Below: Achieving rights through community development.

Congratulations to Dr Riccardo Baldisonne on the successful completion of his Phd.

Lucy Fiske receives Pro Vice-Chancellor’s Award

Congratulations to Lucy Fiske, lecturer within the Centre for Human Rights Education (CHRE), and CASAAP Management Committee Member, as a recipient of a 2009 Pro Vice-Chancellor’s Award for her contribution to the research project: Building an integrated approach to refugee education, research, community engagement and advocacy. CHRE Director, Prof Linda Briskman, states that: “Lucy’s holistic approach to this cutting edge area of social policy concern makes a major contribution to student learning, the development of new knowledge through research, enhancement of community advocacy and grounded activism. These activities contribute policy change and improvements in the lives of asylum seekers and refugees who are one of the most vulnerable groups in Australia. This occurs through the Master of Human Rights program, through PhD and related research, publications, membership of refugee support organisations and submission writing on behalf of the CHRE. The way in which Lucy conducts these integrated measures is innovative and through them she is an ambassador for the University in advancing human rights”.

Human Rights Overboard wins prestigious award

Curtin University of Technology human rights expert Professor Linda Briskman has called on the Federal Government to “operate in an open, humanitarian and transparent way when dealing with asylum seekers.”

Human rights Overboard: Seeking asylum in Australia won the Australian Human Rights Commission’s award for literature (non-fiction) in 2009.

Professor Briskman, the Dr Haruhisa Chair of Human Rights Education, wrote the book with co-authors Susie Latham, an adjunct research associate at Curtin’s Centre for Human Rights Education, and Professor Chris Goddard, Director of Child Abuse Research Australia at Monash University

Professor Briskman said she was honoured to receive the award for Human Rights Overboard.

“This book captures the result of the People’s Inquiry into Detention, a three year citizen-driven inquiry that commenced in 2005 on Australian immigration-detention facilities,” Professor Briskman said.

“During the 10 hearings we heard many demoralising stories about asylum-seekers’ journeys to Australia, their refugee determination process, life in detention, and life after detention.

“I want this book to sound a warning to current and future policy makers that they can no longer keep immigration detention and the operations within detention centres shrouded in official secrecy,” she said.