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Watching Brief : Reflections On Human Rights, Law, And Justice - Julian Burnside

Watching Brief

Reflections On Human Rights, Law, And Justice

Paperback Published: 27th October 2008
ISBN: 9781921372360
Number Of Pages: 320

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The first decade of the twenty-first century has seen a sharp decline in respect for human rights and the international rule of law. The legal conventions of the new realpolitik seem to owe more to Guantanamo than Geneva.

Australia has tarnished its reputation in the field of human rights, through its support for illegal warfare, its failure to honour international conventions, its refusal to defend its citizens against secret rendition and illegal detention, and its introduction of secretive anti-sedition legislation and draconian anti-terror laws.

In Watching Brief, noted lawyer and human rights advocate Julian Burnside articulates a sensitive and intelligent defence of the rights of asylum-seekers and refugees, and the importance of protecting human rights and maintaining the rule of law. He also explains the foundations of many of the key tenets of civil society, and takes us on a fascinating tour of some of the world's most famous trials, where the outcome has often turned on prejudice, complacency, chance, or (more promisingly) the tenacity of supporters and the skill of advocates. Julian Burnside also looks at the impact of significant recent cases - including those involving David Hicks, Jack Thomas, and Van Nguyen - on contemporary Australian society.

Watching Brief is a powerful and timely meditation on justice, law, human rights, and ethics, and ultimately on what constitutes a decent human society. It is also an impassioned and eloquent appeal for vigilance in an age of terror - when 'national security' is being used as an excuse to trample democratic principles, respect for the law, and human rights.

Industry Reviews

""Watching Brief" astounds with the range of subject matter covered and the brilliant narrative which emerges from that range. "Watching Brief "incites the compulsion of the thriller in a text which covers autobiography and recent political and legal history against a background of the more distant human rights struggles on which the foundation stones of modern democratic practice and theory are based. And that's not all." -- Stephen Keim Queen's Counsel

"Watching Brief is cool and rational, providing uncomfortable detail in succinct prose. Burnside wants Australians to confront what is done in their name. Detaining asylum-seekers is wrong and illegal, and decent people should demand change. . . . Like Zola in 1898, Burnside accuses his nation's most senior leaders of complicity in injustice, of duplicity in their public statements. He condemns attacks on human rights and consequences for those wrongly and secretly imprisoned. . . . Watching Brief is his argument for a new approach to human rights policy. Julian Burnside has produced a brief that deserves a wide audience and careful judgement." -- Glyn Davis, the Age
"It's a fascinating read for anyone who burns with a passion for human decency and an interest in ethics." --Sunday Telegraph
"Watching Brief astounds with the range of subject matter covered and the brilliant narrative which emerges from that range. Watching Brief incites the compulsion of the thriller in a text which covers autobiography and recent political and legal history against a background of the more distant human rights struggles on which the foundation stones of modern democratic practice and theory are based. And that's not all." -- Stephen Keim Queen's Counsel

"Watching Brief provides a fascinating patchwork of thoughts and responses that gives an insight into the atmosphere and political climate surrounding key human rights issues over the past decade." -- Tilda Hum, Precedent

Prefacep. vii
Foundations
School Daysp. 3
The Practice of Law: Justice, or just a job?p. 9
Asylum-seekers in Australia
Introductionp. 23
Authoritarianism in the Name of Freedomp. 30
Towards a Just Society: beyond the spinp. 44
Australia's Crimes Against Humanity: not 'interesting'p. 79
The Pacific Solutionp. 83
Tony Abbott: master of the soft sellp. 91
Honesty Matters: the ethics of daily lifep. 95
Australia's Refugee Policyp. 105
Human Rights in an Age of Terror
Introductionp. 127
Terror, Old and New: from the Gunpowder Plot to Gunatánamop. 131
Human Rights and International Lawp. 153
Protecting Rights in a Climate of Fearp. 159
David Hicks: hearsay and coercionp. 165
The Argument for a Bill of Rightsp. 173
Habeas Corpusp. 178
The Dreyfus Affairp. 184
Anti-Terror Laws: controlling Jack Thomasp. 192
Howard's 'Fair Go' Australiap. 201
Justice and Injustice
Introductionp. 211
Access to Justicep. 215
Van Nguyen: Australia and the death penaltyp. 225
The Roger Casement Casep. 232
The Leopold and Loeb Casep. 239
The Oscar Slater Casep. 244
The Adolf Beck Casep. 250
The Stefan Kiszko Casep. 256
The Burning Car Casep. 262
The Scottsboro Boys Casep. 267
The Dred Scott Casep. 273
The Crippen Casep. 280
The Alma Rattenbury Casep. 286
The 'Black Book' Casep. 292
Appendixes
Article 5 of the Constitution of Nauru: protection of personal libertyp. 299
Sections 198B and 494B of Australia's Migration Actp. 300
The Third Geneva Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War [1949]p. 301
Notesp. 305
Acknowledgmentsp. 310
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9781921372360
ISBN-10: 1921372362
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 320
Published: 27th October 2008
Publisher: Scribe Publications
Country of Publication: AU
Dimensions (cm): 19.7 x 12.9  x 2.3
Weight (kg): 0.28
Edition Number: 1

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