The Fifth Estate
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In the early hours of 29 April, the Indonesian government executed eight prisoners – including two Australians – by firing squad. Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran were killed despite intense diplomatic efforts, desperate legal manoeuvring and an enormous public outcry.
These executions, and the promise from Indonesia of more in the near future, have created unprecedented public interest in the death penalty. What can Australia now do to help abolish capital punishment in our region and beyond? Is a moratorium – or abolition – possible?
In a special edition of the Fifth Estate, in partnership with Reprieve Australia and its Mercy Campaign, host Sally Warhaft is joined by Professor Gillian Triggs, President of the Human Rights Commission, renowned anti-death penalty jurist the Honourable Lex Lasry and Richard Bourke, Director of the Louisiana Capital Assistance Center and founder of Reprieve Australia, to discuss Australia’s role in campaigning to end the death penalty.
Sally Warhaft is a Melbourne broadcaster, anthropologist and writer and the host of the Wheeler Centre’s live journalism series, the Fifth Estate, now in its sixth year. She is a former editor of the Monthly magazine and the author of the bestselling book Well May We Say: The Speeches that Made Australia.
Richard Bourke is a lawyer and Director of the Louisiana Capital Assistance Center, an advocacy and representation body based in New Orleans. The state of Louisiana has not executed anyone in five years, in no small part due to the efforts of the LCAC. Bourke is also the co-founder of Reprieve Australia.
Gillian Triggs is former President of the Australian Human Rights Commission, and the new Chair of Justice Connect, a non-profit dedicated to connecting people locked out of the justice system with free legal help. She is also Vice Chancellor’s Fellow at the University of Melbourne and Vice President of the Asian Development Bank Tribunal.
Gillian has combined an academic career with international commercial legal practice and has advised the Australian and other governments and international organisations on international legal and trade disputes. After her tenure with the HRC ended, Gillian joined Justice Connect as Chair to pursue her commitment to ensuring that all people have a fair chance to access justice, including people experiencing homelessness, elder abuse, family violence and financial exploitation. Post-HRC, Gillian is focused on helping lawyers ‘get out of the office’ and meet people who need legal help where they live. She is also the author of many books and papers on international law, including International Law, Contemporary Principles and Practices.
The Hon. Lex Lasry is one of Australia’s most prominent barristers and jurists, and a longtime advocate of the abolition of the death penalty.
Our long-running current affairs series, The Fifth Estate, is a mainstay of the Wheeler Centre programme. With our in-house news anchor Sally Warhaft at the helm, it's a series of in-depth conversations with guests from the world of politics, culture, journalism and international relations. It's free, it's fortnightly and it's rigorous long-form interviewing at its best.
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