Barrister Julian Burnside practises in commercial litigation, trade practices and administrative law – but he also takes pro-bono human rights cases and works as an advocate for refugees. He’s a dedicated supporter and patron of the arts, a noted and published lexophile and he writes books. 

Burnside’s commitment to justice runs long – with a pronounced commitment to asylum seeker and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander issues. He’ll lead a panel conversation about justice – what it means to him, and what it should mean to all of us –with host Benjamin Law.

Monday Conversations: Each month, join us at Belvoir for a focussed exploration of one idea. After the discussion, we’ll close with a performance or reading – illuminating or responding to a central idea from the night’s conversation.

Presented in partnership with The Wheeler Centre and Belvoir.

Julian Burnside (Australia )

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Julian Burnside AO QC is an Australian barrister who specialises in commercial litigation and is also deeply involved in human rights work, in particular in relation to refugees.

He is a former president of Liberty Victoria, and is also passionately involved in the arts: he is the chair of Melbourne arts venue fortyfivedownstairs, and is chair of the Mietta Foundation.

He has published a children’s book, Matilda and the Dragon, as well as Wordwatching, a collection of essays on the uses and abuses of the English language, and Watching Brief: reflections on human rights, law, and justice. He is also the editor of From Nothing to Zero, a compilation of letters written by asylum-seekers held in Australia’s detention camps.

Kat Armstrong (Australian )


Kat Armstrong is the acting CEO of the Women's Justice Network and is an ex-prisoner, having served 10 years in prison. Kat commenced a law degree whilst serving a custodial sentence, and has since completed it 14 years later. When released from prison, Kat remained in Sydney – knowing nobody, homeless, and with just $213 to her name.

Having seen and experienced the enormous gap in the decreasing resources and support networks for women in prison and upon their release, in 2007 Kat co-founded the organisation Women in Prison Advocacy Network (WIPAN) in NSW. WIPAN, now rebranded the Women’s Justice Network, is an organisation that gives direct support, via mentoring and advocacy, to women affected by the criminal justice system. Kat was the Director/CEO of WIPAN from its commencement to February 2016, and is now again the acting CEO from March 2017, although continues to directly mentor women and do voluntary work for the organisation.

Benjamin Law (Australian)

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Benjamin Law is a journalist, columnist, TV screenwriter and author of two books – The Family Law (2010) and Gaysia: Adventures in the Queer East (2012). Both were nominated for Australian Book Industry Awards. The Family Law is now an AACTA-nominated TV series for SBS.