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2013 Mitchell Oration - Basic Instinct: The Heroic Project of Anti-Discrimination Law

Professor Simon Rice
Date and time: 
19 October, 2013 - 11:30

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Presented by the Equal Opportunity Commission as part of the Adelaide Festival of Ideas.

Australia continues to rely on proscriptive laws to achieve non-discrimination and equality of opportunity in society. The model for those anti-discrimination laws has been largely unchanged for almost 40 years, but how much has that model achieved in changing social attitudes and practices? Perhaps we have relied for too long on laws that go too far and too hard at an issue that has deep anthropological and cultural roots. By fully appreciating the nature of the wicked problem of discrimination in society, we might find new ways of tackling it.

About the Speaker

Simon Rice is Professor of Law at the Australian National University, where he is Director of Law Reform and Social Justice at the ANU College of Law. Professor Rice worked for many years as a legal practitioner, and as a judicial member of a tribunal deciding discrimination complaints in New South Wales. He teaches, researches and writes extensively on issues of human rights and anti-discrimination law, and is a co-author of Australian Anti-Discrimination Law (Federation Press), soon to be in a second edition, and The International Law of Human Rights (Oxford University Press).

The Mitchell Oration is sponsored by the Equal Opportunity Commission to honour the work and lifelong achievements of Dame Roma Mitchell, a trailblazer in law, government, academic life, public and philanthropic service.

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