Julian Burnside in conversation with Simon Rice

Date & time
6–7pm Tuesday 12 September 2017

Room: Copland Lecture Theatre

Julian Burnside
Professor Simon Rice OAM
Professor Stephen Bottomley


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ANU Events
02 6125 4144

Presented by ANU/The Canberra Times Meet the Author series

Book launch
Book Cover


In Watching Out, a successor volume to his best-selling Watching Brief, noted barrister and human-rights advocate Julian Burnside explains the origins of our legal system, looks at the way it operates in practice, and points out ways in which does and doesn't run true to its ultimate purposes. Rich with fascinating case studies, and eloquent in its defence of civil society, Watching Out is a beacon of legal liberalism in an intemperate age.

In this book, Julian Burnside examines fundamental legal principles, such as the presumption of innocence, explains why good barristers defend bad people, and sets out legal remedies for wrongs done to individuals and groups. Legal aid, class actions, assisted dying, counter-terrorism, unjust verdicts, and the treatment of asylum-seekers are just some of the contentious subjects dealt with in the book. There is also a compelling chapter on the plight of people who are bereft of legal remedies, living on the margins of society, while examples are provided of the hate mail that Burnside's defence of refugees has provoked.

"As we look up from the political abyss in these appalling times, Burnside is a glowing light on a distant hill. Julian Burns's writing is lucid, poignant, powerful. He distinguishes between law and justice, urging us to be both compassionate and analytical, collecting evidence, making rational conclusions, acting on them courageously, and telling truth to power. Watching Out challenges us all". - Barry Jones

Julian Burnside AO QC is an Australian barrister who practises principally in commercial litigation, trade practices and administrative law. He is also deeply involved in human-rights work, in particular in relation to refugees. Julian Burnside was awarded the Sydney Peace Prize in 2014.  He is a former president of Liberty Victoria, and is also passionately involved in the arts. He is the chair of Melbourne arts venue fortyfivedownstairs, and is chair of the Mietta Foundation.

Simon Rice OAM, was until recently Professor at the ANU College of Law, where he was Director of Law Reform and Social Justice. Simon is now Professor at Sydney Law School, where he is Director of Professional and Community Engagement.  Simon has practiced, advocated, researched, written and taught extensively in human rights, anti-discrimination law, and access to justice. He has been President of Australian Lawyers for Human Rights, and a judicial member of the NSW Administrative Decisions Tribunal in the Equal Opportunity Division. Simon is a co-author of The International Law of Human Rights, and Australian Anti-Discrimination Law.

Vote of thanks will be given by Professor Stephen Bottomley, Dean of the ANU College of Law.

Book signings will take place at 5.30pm before the conversation and then again after. This event is free.


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