Barrister, human rights advocate, Peace Prize recipient and Living National Treasure
Julian Burnside AO QC is a barrister based in Melbourne. He joined the Bar in 1976 and took silk in 1989.
Mr Burnside specialises in commercial litigation, acting for the Ok Tedi natives against BHP, for Alan Bond in fraud trials, for Rose Porteous in numerous actions against Gina Rinehart, and for the Maritime Union of Australia in the 1998 waterfront dispute against Patrick Stevedores. He was Senior Counsel assisting the Australian Broadcasting Authority in the “Cash for Comment” inquiry and was senior counsel for Liberty Victoria in the Tampa litigation.
In addition to his above successes, Mr Burnside is passionate about human rights and the treatment of refugees. He frequently acts pro bono in many human rights cases earning him the Sydney Peace Prize, an appointment as Officer of the Order of Australia and his election as an Australian Living National Treasure.
Mr Burnside is passionately involved in the arts. He collects contemporary paintings and sculptures and regularly commissions music. He is Chair of Fortyfive Downstairs, a not for profit arts and performance venue in Flinders Lane, Melbourne, and Chair of Chamber Music Australia.
He is the author of a book of essays on language and etymology, Wordwatching (Scribe, 2004) and Watching Brief, (Scribe, 2007) a collection of his essays and speeches about the justice system and human rights. He compiled a book of letters written by asylum seekers held in Australia’s detention camps. The book, From Nothing to Zero was published in 2003 by Lonely Planet. He also wrote Matilda and the Dragon a children’s book published by Allen & Unwin in 1991.
Mr Burnside will be sharing with delegates his unique experiences and skill-set.