Skip to main content


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.