Part of a podcast series

The Wheeler Centre

View all episodes in this series

Michael Kirby

Listen to Michael Kirby

Michael Kirby is one of Australia’s most admired public figures. When he retired from the High Court of Australia in February 2009, Kirby was Australia’s longest serving judge. Joined by Peter Mares, the conversation includes topics such as Kirby’s early life, the birth of his passion for human rights, his objection to the perception of homosexuality as “lifestyle” choice, his encounters with the Kinsey Institute and his belief in the value of love in its varying forms.

In addition to his judicial duties, Kirby has served on many national and international bodies, including the World Health Organisation’s Global Commission on AIDS, the International Commission of Jurists, the UNESCO International Bioethics Committee, the UNAIDS Reference Group on HIV and Human Rights, and the UNDP Global Commission on HIV and the Law.

Kirby’s new book, A Private Life, is a very personal memoir in which he reflects on his early life, about being gay, about his 42-year relationship with Johan van Vloten, about his religious beliefs and even about his youthful infatuation with James Dean.

The Wheeler Centre

Subscribe to the Wheeler Centre's podcast to hear full recordings of our talks – featuring the best in books, writing and ideas.