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Event Details

The Fight for Human Rights

4 February 2020
7.00pm – 8.15pm AEDT
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Illustration of Pat Anderson, Rosie Batty, Anna Brown, Rosemary Kayess, Shen Narayanasamy

2020 Gandhi Lecture  

Despite taking steps towards becoming a more equal and inclusive society for all, Australia has a problem with human rights. Indigenous Australians are the most incarcerated in the world. More than one woman is killed every week by a partner or former partner. Over half of Australians living with a disability lack access to support services they need. The proposed Religious Discrimination Bill threatens to undermine inclusive workplaces for LGBTQI+ people.  

Fighting to address these issues are five fearless human rights champions. From the Australian voice to the United Nations for people living with a disability, to leading the #KidsOffNauru campaign which saw every child detained offshore brought to Australia, their resumes are enviable and inspiring portfolios of human rights advocacy.   

The 2020 Gandhi Lecture brings together Pat Anderson AO, an Alyawarre woman known for her powerful advocacy for the health of Australia’s First Peoples; former Australian of the Year Rosie Batty AO, human rights lawyer Anna Brown OAM who fights tirelessly for LGBTQI+ rights; Vice-Chair of the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Rosemary Kayess; and GetUp! Campaign Director for Shen Narayanasamy. Delivering a series of short talks, these fearless faces share their experiences at the frontline for the fight for human rights. 

About the Gandhi Lecture  

The annual Gandhi Lecture is hosted by UNSW Sydney close to India’s Martyrs’ Day, the anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination in 1948. The event features people making significant contributions to the major human rights issues of our time. Speakers have included journalist Shoma Chaudhury, author Dr Hugh Mackay AO, journalist Peter Greste and Senator Pat Dodson.


Wheelchair Accessible

Sir John Clancy Auditorium is located at UNSW Sydney's Kensington campus, C24 on this map (PDF). The closest accessible parking is available at Gate 9, High Street. 

Hearing Loop Available

Hearing Loop / Assisted Listening

Hearing Loop is accessible in the venue. Please see staff for assisted listening seats and for more information. Please turn your hearing aid to T for reception.

Closed Captions Available

Closed Captions / Live Remote Captioning Service

The Centre for Ideas will be providing captions for this talk. Please select this requirement when you book your ticket as there is allocated seating to use this service. Please see staff to be seated when you arrive and for more information.


The Centre for Ideas can provide Auslan interpreting services for selected talks upon request. 


To discuss your access requirements and to book selected access services, please call the Centre for Ideas on 02 9385 9844 or email

The Centre for Ideas is happy to receive phone calls via the National Relay Service. TTY users, phone 133 677, then ask for 02 9385 9844. Speak and Listen users, phone 1300 555 727 then ask for 02 9385 9844. Internet relay users, visit, then ask for 02 9385 9844.

Pat Anderson

Pat Anderson

Pat Anderson is an Alyawarre woman known nationally and internationally as an advocate for the rights and health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. She was Chair of the Lowitja Institute, Australia’s only Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community controlled health research institute, for almost 20 years, and has extensive experience in Aboriginal health, including community development, policy formation and research ethics. She was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2014 for distinguished service to the Indigenous community as a social justice advocate, particularly through promoting improved health, and educational and protection outcomes for children. She was Co-Chair of the Referendum Council that released its final report in 2017 and has since led the work of the Uluru Dialogue in partnership with the ILC UNSW. In 2022 she was a co-recipient of the Sydney Peace Prize for the Uluru Statement from the Heart. 

Rosie Batty

Rosie Batty AO

Rosie Batty has been a tireless crusader against family violence since her son Luke was murdered by his father in 2014. Turning her personal tragedy into a fight to help others, she was named the Australian of the Year in 2015, received an Honorary Doctorate from the University of the Sunshine Coast in 2017 and more recently received an Order of Australia. 

Anna Brown

Anna Brown OAM

Human rights lawyer and Equality Australia CEO Anna Brown’s fingerprints are on nearly every major reform for LGBTQI+ people in recent years including playing a crucial role in achieving marriage equality as Co-Chair of the YES Campaign. Anna Brown has been integral in securing LGBTI+ discrimination law protections; expunging historical homosexual convictions; and strategic litigation to recognise gender diversity. 

Photo of Rosemary Kayess

Rosemary Kayess

Rosemary Kayess has devoted her career to disability policy and reform, having advised on issues such as housing, education, guardianship and employment. She is a human rights lawyer, the Director of Engagement at the Disability Innovation Institute UNSW, and also teaches in the UNSW Faculty of Law. In 2019 she became the Vice Chair of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. 

Shen Narayanasamy

Shen  Narayanasamy

Shen Narayanasamy is GetUp!'s Human Rights Campaign Director. She also founded the No Business in Abuse project, targeting corporate involvement in offshore detention of asylum seekers, and led #LetThemStay, which prevented the deportation of hundreds of asylum seekers to Nauru. She has previously worked as a human rights lawyer in Asia-Pacific on issues of economic justice and land rights. 

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