Earlier this month, four UQ law students spoke to visiting students from Hillcrest Christian College on how human rights are protected under Australian law. The high school students were surprised to hear the facts behind several popular misconceptions, including that:
- Human rights under international treaties are not legally actionable unless the Australian Government has passed domestic laws
- Australia does not have a right to free speech
- Australians do not benefit from a general right to privacy.
On the other hand, despite not having a bill of rights, Australia does protect human rights through other legislation and common law. The high school students were invited to consider whether these provide sufficient protections.
The law students – Ameera Ismail, Amelia Bell, Isabelle Shoshani and Helen Booth also gave insight into what it’s really like to study law at UQ, and highlighted the broad range of career paths unlocked by a law degree. Especially for those interested in human rights, the community legal sector and other NGOs offer valuable and fulfilling careers.
According to Amelia, "We've had a fantastic lecturer and mentor this semester in Associate Professor Tamara Walsh, who has constantly challenged the way that we view law and human rights, and I hope that we managed to do a little of the same for the students who came to visit us."