Let's talk about rights: Human rights and inclusion webinar series

Let's talk about rights: Human Rights and Inclusion Series

Join the ACT Law Society’s Access to Justice and Inclusion Committee for a free series of monthly virtual learning lunches about First Nations, human rights, and inclusion and diversity issues that impact on the legal profession and the wider community.

Every month, a new speaker will share their expertise on a rights and inclusion focused topic. The series will be facilitated by Access to Justice and Inclusion Committee members Farzana Choudhury and Tiffany Long.

OCTOBER: T-Minus 3, 2, 1 Lift Off: Human Rights in Outer Space (1:15pm - 2:00pm)

More than half a century since the Moon landing, the exploration and use of outer space by humanity is back making headlines. Outer space is no longer the predominant domain of nation states, with commercial entities playing leading roles. Closer to home, the ACT Government released a prospectus on Canberra’s space capabilities in August 2022, seeking to drive the growth of the local space industry. Yet as humanity seeks to venture beyond Earth, will human rights travel with us? 

To coincide with World Space Week, join Art Cotterell (PhD Candidate on outer space law at The University of Adelaide) for a discussion on why human rights matter to fostering an ethical and inclusive future for the new space age.


NOVEMBER: Human Rights and the Criminal Justice System (1:15pm -2:00pm)

What does a human rights approach in the ACT criminal justice system look like? How are human rights principles applied in a prison setting? Join Professor Lorana Bartels and Dr Helen Watchirs OAM, members of the ACT Chapter of the Justice Reform Initiative (JRI), for a discussion on promoting human rights in the ACT justice system.  
JRI is an alliance of Australians who are committed to reforming the justice system, including former parliamentarians from all sides of politics, as well as respected Aboriginal leaders, judicial figures and community experts. In March 2023, JRI released a report titled State of Incarceration: Insights into Imprisonment in the ACT, and has called on the ACT Government to lead the country in its approach to criminal justice. 


DECEMBER: Disability Justice in the ACT - A Cross Sector Reform Agenda (1:15pm -2:00pm)

To celebrate International Day of People with Disabilities, join the ACT Office for Disability and members of the ACT Disability Justice Liaison Officer Community of Practice for a practical session on improving access to justice for people with disability. This session will showcase the work of the ACT Disability Justice Liaison Officer Community of Practice, and how they have supported objects of the ACT Disability Justice Strategy 2019-2029, and offer strategies for legal services to promote disability inclusion within their workplaces.



  • When: Monday 9 October - 1.15pm to 2pm 
  • Where: online webinars - a zoom link will be sent the day before the event
  • Cost: free

For more inclusion and diversity resources, visit our “Inclusion, diversity, and flexibility” webpage.


9 October - T-minus 3, 2, 1 Lift Off: Human Rights in Outer Space Free Register
6 November - Human Rights and the Criminal Justice System Free Register
4 December - Disability justice in the ACT - A cross-sector reform agenda Free Register



September: Emma Towney (Senior Solicitor, Dhurrawang Aboriginal Human Rights Program, Canberra Community Law), Vanessa Graf ( Program Manager/Solicitor for the Mulleun Mura Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women’s Access to Justice Program) and Rachael Clark (Program Manager and Solicitor, Dhurrawang Aboriginal Human Rights Program)

Emma Towney: 

Emma joined Canberra Community Law (CCL) in March 2019. In March 2021, Emma commenced as Program Manager of the Dhurrawang Aboriginal Human Rights Program. Emma is a proud Wiradjuri woman who grew up on Wonnarua Country in the hunter region of NSW, before moving to Ngunnawal Country in 2012 to take up a legal graduate position in a Commonwealth Department. Prior to joining Canberra Community Law, she worked as a Commonwealth Government Lawyer in areas such as employment law, work, health and safety and legislation.  

Emma was admitted as a Lawyer in 2013 and holds a Master of Laws from ANU.  

Emma is a member of the ACT Law Society’s Access to Justice Committee and is a strong advocate on legal issues that impact Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People both within the ACT community and beyond. 

Emma’s current work at CCL sees her work within a small team to provide advice and representation to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients in the ACT on social and community housing, social security and race discrimination. Her work is informed by human rights principles of participation, inclusion and self-determination and involves using human rights legislation and principles to support her client’s legal matters.

Vanessa Graf:

Vanessa is a descendant of the Butchulla, Bundjalung and Munanjali peoples. Vanessa is committed to empowering First Nations Women by providing high quality legal advice to First Nations women in a culturally safe and appropriate manner. Her lived experience helps her support First Nations women navigating family law processes by using her cultural knowledge and understanding of First Nations women’s experiences of engaging with western legal systems. Balancing these two competing interests ensures women feel culturally safe, heard, and empowered to make decision which affect their family’s lives. 

Rachael Clark:

Rachael is a proud Wiradjuri woman (Murrumbidjeri) who is grateful to lived and worked on Ngunnawal/Ngambri lands for most of her adult life. She commenced work at CCL in February 2018. She previously worked in a variety of roles in the private sector including banking, sales, small business management and accounting, and as the student advocacy officer of the University of Canberra. Whilst at CCL she has performed a number of roles including as a cadet in the Dhurrawang Aboriginal Human Rights Program, a Night Time Legal Advice Service volunteer, Locum Office Manager and the NTLAS Administrator. Rachael was admitted into practice in 2019 and has specialised in Social Security Law and Tenancy Law providing advice, representation and undertaking litigation. 

October: Art Cotterell (PhD Candidate on Outer Space Law, University of Adelaide)   

Art is an admitted lawyer in the ACT and experienced researcher and adviser on policy and strategy, with a career spanning government, peak bodies, the courts and academia. Currently, they are completing a PhD on the intersection of outer space and intellectual property laws through The University of Adelaide. Art’s focus is on utilising legal, regulatory and policy frameworks to best support the R&D and commercialisation of space technology to benefit humanity on Earth and in space. Art has also recently established TransLunar, an initiative to bring together and raise the profile of trans and gender diverse people in the space ecosystem.  

All views expressed are the speaker’s own and in their PhD capacity. 

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