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Sandy Duncanson Social Justice Lecture

In June 2010, Alexander (Sandy) Duncanson, the principal solicitor of the Tenants' Union of Tasmania, died aged 37, after surviving cancer for 16 years. Sandy is greatly missed, and was widely respected for his work in the community legal and housing sectors. In 2002 Sandy visited Woomera Detention Centre and interviewed refugees seeking asylum. At the time he was still a law student and this experience had a lasting impact, inspiring Sandy to dedicate his working life to social justice.

The University of Tasmania holds a public lecture in Sandy's name each year, raising awareness of social justice issues amongst University of Tasmania students and staff, legal practitioners and other professionals, and across the wider Tasmanian community.

Sandy Duncanson Social Justice Bursary

In recognition of Sandy's profound commitment to social justice, in 2011 his friends and family established a fund in his name through the University of Tasmania Foundation. The lecture also coincides with the announcement of the Sandy Duncanson Social Justice Bursary, which provides funding for a social justice project or activity undertaken by University of Tasmania students and helps ensure that Sandy's commitment and passion for social justice is passed onto future generations.

Contributions can be made as once-off donations or recurring donations at intervals of your choice. All donations are tax deductible. Your donation can be anonymous or named.

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Watch past lecture recordings

Click on the links below to watch the lecture recording.


2020 - Behrouz Boochani  -  Isolated from Justice

2019 - Elizabeth Broderick - Challenges of Reaching Gender Equality

2018 - Reverend Tim Costello AO - Fullness of Life: Building just societies for  all people to thrive

2017 - Rodney Croome  - The Long Road Home: How marriage equality will unlock a better future for Australia
Rodney Croome is a long-time advocate for the equal rights of LGBTI people. In particular he led the campaign to decriminalise homosexuality in Tasmania and has been at the forefront of the marriage equality debate.

He has been honoured for his work by being named as a Member of the Order of Australia and Tasmanian Australian of the Year in 2015.

2016 - David Morrison AO  - Seeing the Unseen and Hearing the Unheard
The 2016 Sandy Duncanson Social Justice Lecture presented by David Morrison AO, Australian of the Year 2016. When former Lieutenant-General David Morrison ordered misbehaving troops to ‘get out’ if they couldn’t accept women as equals, his video went viral and he started a cultural shift that has changed Australia’s armed forces forever.

‘I only kicked a stone down the
road. It was the actions of others that caused the avalanche.’

These are the modest words of David Morrison AO, as told to the audience of the Sandy Duncanson Social Justice Lecture by Jane Hutchinson, the 2016 Tasmanian Australian of the Year. During his time as the Chief of Army, David took on a battle for cultural change that led to unprecedented movement towards gender equality in the armed forces. His life as a leader and as an individual was changed in 2013 when three courageous women came forward to speak with him about their treatment by other officers. His feelings of personal responsibility as custodian of the organisation empowered him to work towards making a change in the Army culture. Now retired, he is Chair of the Diversity Council Australia and is a passionate advocate for social justice, joining a select group of speakers (including the likes of Her Excellency Kate Warner, Dr Gillian Triggs and the Honourable Michael Kirby) who have delivered lectures in memory of Alexander ‘Sandy’ Duncanson, who died in 2010.

2015 - Her Excellency Professor the Honourable Kate Warner, AM, Governor of Tasmania  - Family and Gender Violence and the Limits of Law Reform
Family and Gender Violence and the Limits of Law Reform presented by Her Excellency Professor the Honourable Kate Warner, AM, Governor of Tasmania. Previously a Professor at the Faculty of Law, University of Tasmania and Director of the Tasmanian Law Reform Institute, Her Excellency
Professor the Honourable Kate Warner AM, was sworn to Office at Government House on Wednesday 10 December 2014 as Tasmania's 28th Governor.

2014 - Janet Holmes à Court AC  - Asylum seekers: How did we come to this?
Janet Holmes à Court is owner of the Janet Holmes à Court Collection. She is also Chairman the West Australian Symphony Orchestra and the Australian Children’s Television Foundation. She is a Board Member of the Rio Tinto Community Investment Fund, the Australian National Academy of Music (ANAM), the Australian Major Performing Arts Group (AMPAG), and Chamber of Arts and Culture WA. She is a science graduate from the University of Western Australia and taught science for a number of years before working more closely with family business matters. She has won numerous awards recognising her contribution to the community and to business, including a Companion of the Order of Australia.

2013 - Professor Gillian Triggs - Human Rights in Australia: The Role of Public Education and Advocacy
Professor Gillian Triggs, the President of the Australian Human Rights Commission and Acting Race Discrimination Commissioner, gave the 2013 lecture on the topic 'Human Rights in Australia – The Role of Public Education and Advocacy.'  Two bursaries were awarded in 2013, to Charlotte Hunn and Timothy Woolley.

2012 - Andrea Durbach - A Common Purpose - Inching the Law towards Justice
The 2012 lecture was delivered by jurist and reformer Associate Professor Andrea Durbach, on the topic 'A Common Purpose – Inching the Law Towards Justice.' Durbach's lecture was followed by a screening of her award-winning film A Common Purpose, and the event included a presentation by the first bursary recipient, Laura Sykes.

2011 - The Honorable Michael Kirby AC CMG - My Journey with Social Justice
The inaugural Sandy Duncanson Social Justice Lecture by the Hon. Michael Kirby AC CMG was attended by over 700 people, providing an inspiring and compelling vision of the impact and importance of social justice, as well as a moving insight into the life and passion of Sandy Duncanson.