Prof. Rosalind Croucher, President of the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), used Tuesday's Alice Tay Lecture to reflect on what it would take to embed human rights throughout every level of Australian society. Building a community based on respect is, she argued, everybody's responsibility, and she commented in some detail on what this responsibility meant in a range of contexts including within the public service and within parliamentary committee processes.
Prof. Croucher also used the occasion of the lecture to reflect on the life and contribution of the late Prof. Alice Tay. Tay, an academic lawyer who was President of the Australian Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC) from 1998 to 2003, made a significant contribution to the recognition of human rights in Australia. She was also, based on Croucher's description, a woman of considerable intellect, character and determination. Prof. Croucher described giving the Alice Tay Memorial lecture as her way of "honouring" Tay. -- "I was her student, then her boss for a brief while, and now her 'successor in title'." Professor Croucher came to her role at the AHRC after 25 years in university teaching and management and an earlier high profile role as President of the Australian Law Reform Commission from 2009-2017.
The Alice Tay Lecture series was established by the Freilich Foundation to remember the life of Professor Alice Tay, with the inaugural lecture held at Parliament House in June 2005. Professor Tay was a “much beloved” member of the Freilich Foundation’s advisory board for several years before her death in early 2004.
The Freilich Foundation thanks Prof. Croucher for her reflective, thought-provoking lecture. The full transcript of the lecture is available below, and the audio recording of the lecture is available on Soundcloud.