About Free + Equal Conference

If you want to help make Australia more just, equitable and inclusive, and a country which protects and promotes the rights of all people, then this conference is not to be missed. 

More than 600 delegates will join diverse leaders, experts and advocates from across Australia for a historic national forum that will pave the way for a much-needed overhaul of Australia’s human rights framework, including the introduction of an Australian Human Rights Act.

Learn, connect and be entertained 

Presented by the Australian Human Rights Commission, the conference is part of this year’s Vivid festival Ideas program and will include 12 engaging sessions and events over two days featuring a diverse line-up of more than 50 eminent experts, thought leaders, social justice advocates and community heroes. 

Delegates will learn about the positive change and opportunities a Human Rights Act will deliver as well as how to activate community support and engagement for this landmark reform. Sessions will also focus on a range of key human rights related issues including: enhancing Australia's anti-discrimination laws; preventing racism; improving children's rights and youth justice; exploring the intersection of business, technology and human rights; and marking 40 years of Australia’s ground-breaking Sex Discrimination Act.

A highlight will be Rights On Time, time-travelling panel show hosted by sleek geek Adam Spencer who’ll tussle with some of Australia’s favourite legal eagles, rights advocates, media personalities and comedy stars as they try to save the future from rights gone wrong.

Why You Should Attend

A Human Rights Act is the missing piece of government accountability in Australia and it’s introduction would improve how people and communities can access justice and hold governments to account for their decisions.

The Federal Joint Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights recently concluded a 12-month inquiry into reforming Australia’s human rights framework, including the possible introduction of an Australian Human Rights Act. The Committee’s report is scheduled to be released at the end May, a week before the Free + Equal Conference. The PJCHR inquiry follows the Australian Human Rights Commission's report Revitalising Australia's commitment to human rights,
which was tabled in Parliament in December 2023 and which sets out an ambitious reform agenda for human rights in Australia. The conference will explore the findings of the PJCHR inquiry as well as the Commission's proposal for reforming Australia's human rights framework. 

Learn and connect

A Human Rights Act would be a major reform, impacting on Australia’s legal, justice, government, civil society and business sectors, so understanding the trajectory of its introduction is vital for people working across these areas.

This means the conference will attract a ‘who’s who’ of workers from the public, private and community sectors, providing a valuable opportunity to network with some of the key movers and shakers across these fields.       

Delegates will also be able to get the latest information on a range of other key human rights and anti-discrimination issues, ensuring they come away informed, connected and activated in new and exciting ways which will help them develop their professional practice and personal advocacy. 

Enjoy Vivid too

The conference is also part of this year’s Vivid festival, providing visiting delegates with opportunities to indulge in all the fabulous entertainment, food, music and spectacle that the Vivid festival offers. Stay for the King’s Birthday long weekend and make your time in Sydney a memorable getaway!

About Free + Equal Project

Over the last five years, the Australian Human Rights Commission has undertaken a wide-ranging community consultation about reforming Australia’s human rights framework so it can be fit for purpose in the 21st century.

The key outcomes of the Commission’s Free + Equal project are a proposed model for an Australian Human Rights Act as well as recommendations to enhance Australia’s anti-discrimination laws. The Commission has delivered comprehensive reports on both these proposals as well as other recommendations for revitalising Australia’s commitment to human rights. 

The Commission’s proposed model for a Human Rights Act has been referenced by the PJCHR inquiry as it's preferred model and has been supported by 90% of submissions to the inquiry as the best model for an Australian Human Rights Act.

The Free + Equal Human Rights Conference aims to educate and activate delegates about the Commission’s proposals for human rights reforms in Australia and to chart the way forward to deliver these reforms.

Free + Equal project resources