The last twelve months have been exceedingly busy ones for Liberty Victoria. In July 2010 we presented the Voltaire award for Free Speech to the Melbourne International Film Festival at a very enjoyable awards dinner MC'd by Julian Morrow of The Chasers. The dinner was preceded by a Special General Meeting to update our constitution; updates which have improved our administrative and organisational capacity, as well as our ability to engage with you, our valued members.
We also recently held the 2011 Voltaire awards dinner. The recipients were Wikileaks and Julian Assange and the award was presented to them for their dedication to the principles of free speech. The dinner was held on Saturday August 6th at San Remo Ballroom, North Carlton. Photos and video footage will be uploaded shortly.
In September 2010 we presented the annual Alan Missen oration, which was given by Frank Moorhouse on the subject of privacy. We were very pleased to begin a partnership with the Melbourne Writers Festival in 2010, and look forward to again presenting this years oration in conjunction with them. This year we are overjoyed with our Missen orator who is internationally regarded as one of Australia's pre-eminent novelists and the recipient of many Australian and international awards. Full details of the MWF program and the Alan Missen oration will be launched on Friday 29 July 2011, and may be viewed on their website HERE.
At our annual general meeting in November 2010 we instigated the constitutional changes accepted in September and received much enthusiastic feedback on our keynote speaker Kon Karapanagiotidis, founder and CEO of the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre.
In February of this year Liberty co-supported and our president Professor Spencer Zifcak moderated a 'Wikileaks and Free Speech Forum' at BMW Edge Theatre, Federation Square. Over 1500 people came together to discuss Wikileaks and Freedom of Speech in the 21st Century and the video footage of this event may be viewed HERE.
This year we are also proud to have presented an exhibition, People Smugglers; Friend or Foe?' which sought asylum seeker's views on the people smugglers that facilitated their sometimes harrowing journey's to safety. In bringing this exhibition to you and the general public we had the support of the Jewish Foundation of Victoria and Amnesty International.
For Law Week in May 2011 we held a highly successful political comedy evening, and over the past year we have also supported the events of many other human rights groups, including partnering with the Human Rights and Arts Film Festival (HRAFF) which recently completed its tour of mainland Australian states.
In addition to many public speaking engagements and events we have maintained our usual public advocacy for Civil Liberties and Human Rights. Owing to both State and Federal elections in 2010 submissions did slow somewhat in comparison to previous years as many were discontinued, however these have picked up again more recently. All of our submissions may be downloaded using THIS LINK.
We have continued to raise our media profile in the last twelve months. Our committee members are regularly requested to speak at public events and our President, Professor Spencer Zifcak, has increasingly been asked to comment on current affairs affecting human rights in all forms of media. Liberty Victoria comments in print media may be viewed HERE, and opinion pieces by committee members HERE
We have also increased our media presence; recently we joined the world of Twitter and have worked hard to more than triple the number of people on our Facebook page. Both are fantastic ways to keep up to date with our daily news as well as more generally with civil liberties, as well as invites to public talks and events occurring in Melbourne and around Victoria.
As for the next twelve months, the future of Liberty Victoria looks bright. We recently submitted to the ongoing review of the Victoria Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities which may be downloaded from our submissions page, and we also spoke at the review committee's public consultations. We will continue to campaign on this issue. Reviews of privacy and anti-discrimination are on the horizon, and we are keeping a close eye on the State governments law and order agenda.
We are readying ourselves to relaunch a new and interactive volunteer program which will increase opportunities for members and students to support our work through utilising their own legal, research and writing skills.
Also planned for later this year is the publication of the full history of Liberty Victoria, authored by James Waghorne, and we continue to be involved in ongoing forums on Wikileaks and Free Speech.
Of course all of the great work Liberty Victoria has undertaken in the past twelve months is only possible through the support of you, our very valued member. We thank you most sincerely for your continued support and we urge you to continue your support by renewing your membership as soon as possible.
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Or alternatively download our MEMBERSHIP FORM.
Please contact our office if you have any questions regarding this.
Other ways you can show your support is by making a donation, speaking to your friends about the work we do and asking them to become involved, writing letters to the media when you see articles affecting civil liberties, and attending Liberty Victoria events.
The Liberty Victoria Team
Professor Spencer Zifcak
Immediate Past President:
Michael Pearce SC
Brian Walters SC
Jane Dixon SC
Julian Burnside AO QC