The roles of business and government in relation to human rights are undergoing profound change. With government retreating in many policy areas, business is increasingly being called upon to address human rights challenges.

The conference will bring together local and global leaders from business, civil society, government and academia to explore innovations in business and policy, opportunities for business to play a greater role in improving human rights and practical solutions to rights challenges that industry is facing.

2019 CONFERENCE SPEAKER LIST

Key Dates

  • 13 March – Tickets on sale here for guest lecture by Julia Gillard
  • 13 April   – Earlybird ticket sales close
  • 14 May    – Innovate Rights academic workshop, UNSW CBD Campus
  • 14 May    – Evening lecture by Julia GillardSydney Town Hall 
  • 15 May    – Conference Day 1 UNSW Sydney CBD Campus
  • 15 May    – Evening reception
  • 16 May    – Conference Day 2, UNSW Sydney CBD Campus

 

Click here for FAQs

Click here for details of the May 14 Julia Gillard talk at Sydney Town Hall

May 14 Academic workshop program (PDF)

Start End Topic Theme Speakers
08:00 08:45 Innovate Rights Day 1 Conference Registration

08:50 09:00 Welcome to Country

09.00 09.15 Welcome and overview of conference

  • Leadership on Human Rights
  • Modern Slavery & Supply Chains
  • Climate Justice & Human Rights
  • Diversity & Human Rights
  • New Technologies & Human Rights
09:15 09:45 Opening Session

Keynote Address

09:45 10:30 A Blueprint for Business Leadership on Human Rights

Increasingly, business is proving it can be a vehicle for the promotion and realisation of human rights. What are the opportunities and risks for business in engaging with human rights issues? Our panel explores cases where businesses are engaging with rights and doing it well.

  • Leadership on Human Rights
10:45 11:15 MORNING TEA

11:15 12:00 Gender Equality: Insights for Change

Many organisations have placed an emphasis on advancing gender equality for some time through polices and practice, yet the number of women in leadership positions remains stubbornly low and pay equity is still elusive. Julia Gillard, in her role as Inaugural Chair of the Global Women’s Leadership Institute, Kings College London, will talk about the research work that still needs to be done to establish the most effective ways of improving gender equality and her insights for achieving lasting change.

  • Diversity & Human Rights
Moderator: Libby Lyons
12:00 13:00 Diversity: The Role of Business

The 2017 Same Sex Marriage Survey raised a broader debate about what role business should play in advocating for government reform to support diversity. What are their obligations to their shareholders, customers and the public at large in supporting change? If social diversity is considered so valuable, why don’t more businesses better reflect society? The panel considers what more can be done to achieve diverse workplaces.

  • Diversity & Human Rights
- Nareen Young
- Chris Lamb
- Rosemary Kayess
- Tim Soutphommasane

Moderator: Paul Zahra
13.00 14.00 LUNCH

14.00 15.15 The role of finance in preserving human rights

Finance and human rights are inextricably intertwined. Human rights need finance, and now, more than ever, finance needs human rights. What innovations can ensure this interaction is substantive and enduring?

  • Leadership on Human Rights
  • New Technologies & Human Rights
14.00 15.15 Australia's Modern Slavery Act: a new beginning?

In 2018, Australia joined the UK as one of the few countries in the world to make companies accountable for modern slavery in their supply chains with legislation. What are the important and innovative features of this Act? What will it mean for business operations? And what difference will it make in enforcing human rights in Australia?

  • Modern Slavery & Supply Chains
- Moe Turaga
- Senator Lisa Singh
- Laura McManus
- Jennifer Burn
15:15 15:45 AFTERNOON TEA

15:45 17:00 Environmental Justice: Community responses in the face of corporate power

Businesses in many industries contribute to environmental degradation and climate change in ways that directly impact local communities, yet accountability for this harm remains elusive. What recourse exists for communities that wish to challenge business practices? How can they better protect themselves? How can companies be held to account and ultimately, change their practices?

  • Climate Justice & Human Rights
Moderator: Fiona David
15:45 17:00 Thinking outside the box: Supply chains and new technologies

Is technology a game changer for improving respect for human rights in supply chains? What technological innovations are companies and NGOs using to make supply chains more transparent?

  • Modern Slavery & Supply Chains
17:00 CLOSE

08:00 - 08:45

Innovate Rights Day 1 Conference Registration

08:50 - 09:00

Welcome to Country

09.00 - 09.15

Welcome and overview of conference

Theme:
  • Leadership on Human Rights
  • Modern Slavery & Supply Chains
  • Climate Justice & Human Rights
  • Diversity & Human Rights
  • New Technologies & Human Rights
09:15 - 09:45

Opening Session

Keynote Address

09:45 - 10:30

A Blueprint for Business Leadership on Human Rights

Increasingly, business is proving it can be a vehicle for the promotion and realisation of human rights. What are the opportunities and risks for business in engaging with human rights issues? Our panel explores cases where businesses are engaging with rights and doing it well.

Theme:
  • Leadership on Human Rights
10:45 - 11:15

MORNING TEA

11:15 - 12:00

Gender Equality: Insights for Change

Many organisations have placed an emphasis on advancing gender equality for some time through polices and practice, yet the number of women in leadership positions remains stubbornly low and pay equity is still elusive. Julia Gillard, in her role as Inaugural Chair of the Global Women’s Leadership Institute, Kings College London, will talk about the research work that still needs to be done to establish the most effective ways of improving gender equality and her insights for achieving lasting change.

Theme:
  • Diversity & Human Rights
Speakers:
Moderator: Libby Lyons
12:00 - 13:00

Diversity: The Role of Business

The 2017 Same Sex Marriage Survey raised a broader debate about what role business should play in advocating for government reform to support diversity. What are their obligations to their shareholders, customers and the public at large in supporting change? If social diversity is considered so valuable, why don’t more businesses better reflect society? The panel considers what more can be done to achieve diverse workplaces.

Theme:
  • Diversity & Human Rights
Speakers:
- Nareen Young
- Chris Lamb
- Rosemary Kayess
- Tim Soutphommasane

Moderator: Paul Zahra
13.00 - 14.00

LUNCH

14.00 - 15.15

The role of finance in preserving human rights

Finance and human rights are inextricably intertwined. Human rights need finance, and now, more than ever, finance needs human rights. What innovations can ensure this interaction is substantive and enduring?

Theme:
  • Leadership on Human Rights
  • New Technologies & Human Rights
14.00 - 15.15

Australia's Modern Slavery Act: a new beginning?

In 2018, Australia joined the UK as one of the few countries in the world to make companies accountable for modern slavery in their supply chains with legislation. What are the important and innovative features of this Act? What will it mean for business operations? And what difference will it make in enforcing human rights in Australia?

Theme:
  • Modern Slavery & Supply Chains
Speakers:
- Moe Turaga
- Senator Lisa Singh
- Laura McManus
- Jennifer Burn
15:15 - 15:45

AFTERNOON TEA

15:45 - 17:00

Environmental Justice: Community responses in the face of corporate power

Businesses in many industries contribute to environmental degradation and climate change in ways that directly impact local communities, yet accountability for this harm remains elusive. What recourse exists for communities that wish to challenge business practices? How can they better protect themselves? How can companies be held to account and ultimately, change their practices?

Theme:
  • Climate Justice & Human Rights
15:45 - 17:00

Thinking outside the box: Supply chains and new technologies

Is technology a game changer for improving respect for human rights in supply chains? What technological innovations are companies and NGOs using to make supply chains more transparent?

Theme:
  • Modern Slavery & Supply Chains
17:00

CLOSE

Start End Topic Theme Speakers
08:30 08:50 INNOVATE RIGHTS DAY 2 CONFERENCE REGISTRATION

09:00 09:10 Welcome & Overview of Conference Day 2

  • Leadership on Human Rights
  • Diversity & Human Rights
  • Modern Slavery & Supply Chains
  • Climate Justice & Human Rights
  • New Technologies & Human Rights
09:15 10:15 Business Leadership on Indigenous Rights

UNSW Sydney Pro Vice-Chancellor Indigenous, Professor Megan Davis, in conversation with Professor Gabrielle Appleby, on the role of business in recognising Indigenous rights and supporting the Uluru statement.

  • Leadership on Human Rights
10:00 10.45 Keynote

  • Modern Slavery & Supply Chains
11:00 11:30 MORNING TEA

11:15 12:30 Innovative strategies in business and human rights activism

Without activism, how would we make progress on human rights in the business sector? Innovations in activism including shareholder action, online petitions and social media campaigns are bringing new forms of accountability to government and business alike. Experts in various forms of human rights activism will discuss their strategies, successes and challenges.

  • New Technologies & Human Rights
- Andrea Maksimovic
- Elaine Pearson
- Katie Hepworth
- Margaret Stuart
- Andy Hall

Moderator: Richard Boele
12:30 13:30 LUNCH

13:30 14:30 Technology and Human Rights

Technology can be a powerful tool for human rights. Increased access to the internet and the development of social media tools have enabled activists to organise and spread their message more quickly and to broader audiences. However, emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence and concerns about privacy and free expression are just some of the challenges facing business, government and activists alike in the age of big data.

 

  • New Technologies & Human Rights
13:30 14:30 What does a good modern slavery reporting and assurance program look like?

How should companies respond to the new modern slavery laws? This panel will highlight best practices in reporting and assurance including how to map, monitor and prioritise high risk areas throughout corporate supply chains.

  • Modern Slavery & Supply Chains
- Richard Birdsey
- Jenny Stanger
- Abigail McGregor
- Sonja Duncan

Moderator: Sarah McGrath
14:30 15:30 The who, what and why of engaging with external stakeholders

How should companies, NGOs, workers, worker representatives and government be working together to reduce human rights abuses? This panel will discuss how to engage with a diverse group of stakeholders to address a range of human rights issues including modern slavery. 

  • Modern Slavery & Supply Chains
Moderator: Shelley Marshall
14:30 15:30 Public interest litigation

Although public interest litigation (PIL) has been part of the Australian legal landscape for many years, it is only now starting to be used as a tool for pursuing business-related human rights claims. Leading experts engaged in PIL will discuss recent successful cases of business and human rights litigation, the existing barriers to this approach and opportunities for expanding PIL action.

  • New Technologies & Human Rights
Moderator: Andrea Durbach
15.30 15.45 AFTERNOON TEA

15.45 16.30 The way forward

The relevance of human rights to business is now accepted, but how will it develop into the future?

  • Leadership on Human Rights
  • Climate Justice & Human Rights
  • Modern Slavery & Supply Chains
  • Diversity & Human Rights
  • New Technologies & Human Rights
Moderator: Louise Chappell
16:30 16:45 Closing Remarks

  • Leadership on Human Rights
  • Modern Slavery & Supply Chains
  • Diversity & Human Rights
  • New Technologies & Human Rights
  • Climate Justice & Human Rights
16:45 Closing

08:30 - 08:50

INNOVATE RIGHTS DAY 2 CONFERENCE REGISTRATION

09:00 - 09:10

Welcome & Overview of Conference Day 2

Theme:
  • Leadership on Human Rights
  • Diversity & Human Rights
  • Modern Slavery & Supply Chains
  • Climate Justice & Human Rights
  • New Technologies & Human Rights
09:15 - 10:15

Business Leadership on Indigenous Rights

UNSW Sydney Pro Vice-Chancellor Indigenous, Professor Megan Davis, in conversation with Professor Gabrielle Appleby, on the role of business in recognising Indigenous rights and supporting the Uluru statement.

Theme:
  • Leadership on Human Rights
10:00 - 10.45

Keynote

Theme:
  • Modern Slavery & Supply Chains
11:00 - 11:30

MORNING TEA

11:15 - 12:30

Innovative strategies in business and human rights activism

Without activism, how would we make progress on human rights in the business sector? Innovations in activism including shareholder action, online petitions and social media campaigns are bringing new forms of accountability to government and business alike. Experts in various forms of human rights activism will discuss their strategies, successes and challenges.

Theme:
  • New Technologies & Human Rights
Speakers:
- Andrea Maksimovic
- Elaine Pearson
- Katie Hepworth
- Margaret Stuart
- Andy Hall

Moderator: Richard Boele
12:30 - 13:30

LUNCH

13:30 - 14:30

Technology and Human Rights

Technology can be a powerful tool for human rights. Increased access to the internet and the development of social media tools have enabled activists to organise and spread their message more quickly and to broader audiences. However, emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence and concerns about privacy and free expression are just some of the challenges facing business, government and activists alike in the age of big data.

 

Theme:
  • New Technologies & Human Rights
13:30 - 14:30

What does a good modern slavery reporting and assurance program look like?

How should companies respond to the new modern slavery laws? This panel will highlight best practices in reporting and assurance including how to map, monitor and prioritise high risk areas throughout corporate supply chains.

Theme:
  • Modern Slavery & Supply Chains
Speakers:
- Richard Birdsey
- Jenny Stanger
- Abigail McGregor
- Sonja Duncan

Moderator: Sarah McGrath
14:30 - 15:30

The who, what and why of engaging with external stakeholders

How should companies, NGOs, workers, worker representatives and government be working together to reduce human rights abuses? This panel will discuss how to engage with a diverse group of stakeholders to address a range of human rights issues including modern slavery. 

Theme:
  • Modern Slavery & Supply Chains
14:30 - 15:30

Public interest litigation

Although public interest litigation (PIL) has been part of the Australian legal landscape for many years, it is only now starting to be used as a tool for pursuing business-related human rights claims. Leading experts engaged in PIL will discuss recent successful cases of business and human rights litigation, the existing barriers to this approach and opportunities for expanding PIL action.

Theme:
  • New Technologies & Human Rights
15.30 - 15.45

AFTERNOON TEA

15.45 - 16.30

The way forward

The relevance of human rights to business is now accepted, but how will it develop into the future?

Theme:
  • Leadership on Human Rights
  • Climate Justice & Human Rights
  • Modern Slavery & Supply Chains
  • Diversity & Human Rights
  • New Technologies & Human Rights
16:30 - 16:45

Closing Remarks

Theme:
  • Leadership on Human Rights
  • Modern Slavery & Supply Chains
  • Diversity & Human Rights
  • New Technologies & Human Rights
  • Climate Justice & Human Rights
16:45

Closing