“All men should strive to learn before they die, what they are running from, and to, and why.” – James Thurber

About Julian Burnside

Julian Burnside AO QC is an Australian barrister who practises principally in commercial litigation, trade practices and administrative law. He is also a human rights and refugee advocate, and author.

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George Brandis QC A-G

Q&A on Monday 20 February 2017 included Attorney-General George Brandis QC. Brandis showed rather unhappy aspects of himself, as he sought to justify enormous and extravagant expense allowances for Federal parliamentarians while justifying the meanness of NDIS... read more

The Apology, 9 years on

On 13 February 2008, Kevin Rudd apologised to the stolen generations.  It was not great rhetoric, but it was a fine moment, because (for once) we heard a Federal Politician who sounded sincere. 9 years later, here is a message from Liberty Victoria: Yesterday marked... read more

The dodgy US refugee deal

When the agreement with the US was announced, the details were so meagre that it was hard to place much reliance on it. Then Donald Trump was elected President of the USA and the deal looked even more speculative. But now the realities of it are becoming apparent: it... read more

Climate change

I gave a speech for 350.org.au just recently.  Here is the substance of what I said. And before you read it (because it’s a bit depressing) cheer yourself up with First Dog on The Moon’s recent excoriation of our “Leader” Malcolm Turnbull on... read more

More on anti-Islamic rants

As mentioned before, a person who lives in Australia emails me regularly (at least a couple of times a week) ranting about Muslims.  Most of what follows was written in 2016.  At the end I have updated it in response to his emails of the past few weeks.  He is clearly... read more

Dishonest Dutton: at it again

The following news item appeared in The Australian on 21 November 2016, under the caption ‘I won’t be bullied’ (if you follow the link, you have to scroll down for the piece): Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has crossed swords with Bill Shorten in a fiery question... read more

Big Deal

Australia has announced an agreement with the US in relation to refugees presently held on Nauru and Manus.  In announcing the agreement, Prime Minister Turnbull and Immigration Minister Dutton were careful to avoid giving any significant detail of the arrangement. ... read more

News from Manus

I have just received another report from Manus.  Here it is, in edited form to preserve the anonymity of people involved: “In addition to declining mental health-we had an attempted suicide by hanging in October-a number of refugees suffering from serious... read more

Oppose Lifetime Visa Ban

Here is my submission to the Senate enquiry on the MIGRATION Legislation AMENDMENT (Regional processing cohort) BILL 2016 The Bill relevantly inserts sub-section 46A(2AA) The effect of that provision is to “prevent unauthorised maritime arrivals (UMAs) who were at... read more

Human Rights & Social Justice

The Arts

Art, music and theatre

Asylum Seekers

Julian on Twitter

How crazy is this... twitter.com/OzRefugeeCounc…

Rosie Batty is someone who deserves to be listened to. Cuts to frontline domestic violence services need attention bit.ly/2m6cBBX Retweeted by Julian Burnside

Metro Trains ticket inspectors in court: Passenger suffers PTSD after arrest news.com.au/national/victo… via @newscomauHQ

.@AusHumanRights President @GillianTriggs says the plight of #refugees is the greatest challenge of our time #refugeealternatives #UNSWGC Retweeted by Julian Burnside

Seems like trying to ring George Brandis is like trying to ring Centrelink twitter.com/markdreyfusqcm…

The grovelling to that duplicitous thug Netanyahu is truly demeaning. Retweeted by Julian Burnside

Immigration minister denied US swap deal for long time, now confesses. Hard to imagine how can lie so much Retweeted by Julian Burnside

George Brandis QC made a fool of himself on Q&A. But is he a fool or a liar? julianburnside.com.au/george-brandis… Read this and reach your own view

Refugee Council's State of the Nation Report: refugeecouncil.org.au/publications/r… "We have.. been condemned by the international community"

US could 'honour' deal but resettle zero refugees from Manus & Nauru theguardian.com/australia-news… Brandis & Piers Akerman don't understand this

YouTube miniseries about a South Sudanese man who was a child soldier and came here as a refugee youtu.be/AHpYN2zDi2M

23 Feb 1807. The UK parliament passed the Slave Trade Act, effectively ending the slave trade


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