The Decline of Accountability and Erosion of Rights
Session two of the Australian Human Rights Institute's biennial conference will feature human rights practitioners, media and business representatives, and will explore examples showcasing the decline of accountability, and the methods employed to protect human rights both in Australia and internationally.
Unlike democratically-elected governments, businesses have unprecedented influence which raises the question whether they should be taking the lead on issues of social significance? Are the media and social media complicit in the erosion of accountability or can they play a role in restoring political and public life? How can individuals and NGOs work together to enhance or recreate effective democratic institutions?
Speakers: Larissa Baldwin-Roberts, Justine Nolan, Brynn O’Brien, Lizzie O’Shea, Siobhan Toohill, Christopher Warren.
This event is free for students.
Larissa Baldwin-Roberts is CEO of GetUp!, an independent movement of more than one million people working to build a progressive Australia. Previously, Larissa was GetUp!'s Chief Campaigns Officer. She comes from a long-line of political activists and was brought up in the fight for land rights, climate justice, First Nations justice and cultural heritage, building strong relationships in communities and across civil society over decades.
A proud Widjabul Wia-bal woman from the Bundjalung Nations, Larissa has dedicated her life to First Nations justice, climate action and a more fair Australia. Prior to GetUp, she co-founded Seed, Australia’s first Indigenous youth climate network, after having worked internationally, becoming a respected campaign strategist and messaging expert. Larissa is an expert on gas policy, she has spent extensive periods of time in the Northern Territory working directly with Traditional Owners and communities who don’t support fracking on their land. She’s also undertaken extensive research and policy campaign work on gas supply, the gas industry and its impacts on climate change and fossil fuel emissions.
As Executive Director of the Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility (ACCR), Brynn O'Brien leads a multidisciplinary team that conducts in-depth research, engages and collaborates with major institutional investors, and undertakes assertive shareholder engagement with major listed companies globally. Her purpose is to drive real world emissions reductions across these companies.
Brynn is an experienced lawyer and strategist, with expertise in corporate governance, shareholder engagement and stewardship. In 2022, she was named in The Australian Business Review’s Top 100 Green Power Players, and is a leading commentator on how the corporate sector navigates the climate crisis in Australian and international media. Prior to joining ACCR in January 2017, she worked as a consultant and advisor on business and human rights projects and practised as a corporations and international lawyer.
Lizzie O'Shea is the founder and the chair of Digital Rights Watch, which advocates for human rights online. She also sits on the board of Blueprint for Free Speech and the Alliance for Gambling Reform.
At the National Justice Project, she worked with lawyers, journalists and activists to establish a Copwatch program, for which she was a recipient of the Davis Projects for Peace Prize. In June 2019, she was named a Human Rights Hero by Access Now. Her book, Future Histories (Verso, 2019), looks at radical social movements and theorists from history and applies them to debates we have about contemporary digital technology. It was shortlisted for the Premier’s Literary Award 2020.
Siobhan Toohill is Westpac's Chief Sustainability Officer. Her role covers sustainability governance which includes areas such as climate change and human rights policies. A pioneer in corporate sustainability in Australia, Siobhan is passionate about capacity of business to create positive impact, building on her early career in design.
Previously, Siobhan established the sustainability function at Australian property group Stockland, garnering senior leadership support, and leading significant cultural change, culminating in the organisation being recognised as the world's most sustainable property group by the Dow Jones Sustainability Index in 2011. Further recognition included membership of the Corporate Knights Global 100 Most Sustainable Companies (World Economic Forum, Davos) 2010-12, Australia New Zealand Climate Leadership Index 2009-12, and Ethical Investor's Most Sustainable Company of the Year 2009.
Christopher Warren is an Australian journalist and writer. He is currently the media correspondent for Crikey, an independent Australian source for news, investigations, analysis and opinion focusing on politics, media, economics, health, international affairs, the climate, business, society and culture.
Until 2015, Christopher was the federal secretary of the Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance (MEAA), the largest and most established union and industry advocate for Australia's creative professionals. He is also a past president of the International Federation of Journalists.