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WikiLeaks defender speaks at SCU conference


Steve Spinks
22 February 2012
One of the lawyers who has been defending WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will attend a Southern Cross University conference on the Gold Coast.

Jennifer Robinson, the director of legal advocacy at Bertha Philanthropies Service, will be a presenter at the Dynamics of Civil Engagement Conference which will be held at Southern Cross University’s Gold Coast campus on Monday, February 27.

Ms Robinson, an Australian from the NSW South Coast, has been part of the team of lawyers which has been defending Assange for more than two years in an attempt to prevent him being extradited to Sweden to face allegations of sexual assault.

According to conference organiser, Tom Dick, from the University’s Research Centre for Tourism, Leisure and Work, Ms Robinson’s presentation should be a highlight.

“It’s very exciting to have Jen coming to SCU – she is one of the brightest minds of our generation and the energy and focus she brings to human rights and social justice is genuinely making the world a better place,” he said.

However, Ms Robinson is not the only interesting presenter at the conference which is being hosted by the Research Centre for Tourism, Leisure and Work. Other notable presenters include:

• Myo Win, of the Smile Education and Development Centre, Myanmar;

• Maire Leadbetter, chair and spokesperson for the Indonesia Human Rights Committee, NZ. Leadbetter has been a long-term human rights activist over nuclear disarmament, East Timor and now West Papua over three decades;

• Herman Wainggai, West Papuan Independence advocate;

• Powes Parkop, governor of Port Moresby,PNG. Parkop was a former lawyer before he was elected to parliament in 2007. In 2010, he formed his political party, the Social Democratic Party; and

• Ralph Regenvanu, Vanuatu MP. Regenvanu is considered a controversial politician in Vanuatu and was recently removed from his post as Justice Minister after he voted against government legislation. He is also an artist and anthropologist and has been involved with UNESCO through cultural activities.

The conference has a multi-disciplinary perspective on civilian-based movements and campaigns to defend and obtain basic rights and justice around the world.

It is designed specifically for understanding human rights and peace building in the Asia Pacific region. It is supported by the School of Law and Justice and the Centre for Peace and Social Justice at SCU.

The conference will be preceded by the Rise of the Morning Star Concert on Sunday, February 26, featuring Blue King Brown and Tabura at the Currumbin Sound Lounge. It will be presented in conjunction with the Bleach Festival.

Director for the Research Centre for Tourism, Leisure and Work, Professor Kerry Brown is delighted Southern Cross University is hosting such an important conference.

“The dynamics of the civil engagement conference is a significant forum for coming together to learn, connect and build better relations across the Asia-Pacific region,” she said.

The Conference is open to members of the public and starts at 9am at the Gold Coast campus. It is free to attend but registration is necessary. Contact Sarah Gornall by Friday close of business by email [email protected] or telephone (07) 5589 3113 to register to attend.

Photo: Professor Kerry Brown.