If you want social justice, you must promote love, especially in the home, said the Honourable Michael Kirby at the University of Wollongong yesterday.
Love between parents, children, siblings and extended family paved the way for love in the community and the right attitude towards minority groups, Mr Kirby said.
Schools and universities also had a role to play in promoting love, he said, as, ‘‘some people never have that at home and it’s not their fault’’.
The former High Court judge was at the university to present a $10,000 scholarship and to deliver the annual Goldring Lecture.
First-year law students also had the chance to hear about his experience in court.
Mr Kirby told them a day in the life of a justice of the High Court was ‘‘arduous, hard work, but full of excitement and interest’’.
Aside from the desire to see the international law of human rights made a reality, Mr Kirby said there were two main social justice issues on Australia’s agenda.
‘‘The way we treat refugee applicants and the way in which we treat gay and lesbian and other minority communities,’’ he said.
‘‘We fixed up quite a few things but not all, and other matters remain to be attended to.’’
The law school at UOW received high praise from Mr Kirby for its diversity in students.
‘‘Unlike some law schools in Australia, [the cohort] are representative of the whole variety of the socio-economic background of the community,’’ he said.
‘‘You can be proud of this law school and I’m always happy to come here.’’
Mr Kirby also presented the $10,000 Jack Goldring Scholarship to Rachael Kalmanidis, 22, for her commitment to social justice.
The third-year law student said she wanted to get involved in research and advocacy for minority groups, especially people with disabilities.
‘‘People do struggle to get equal opportunities. I’m a type 1 diabetic, so with that disability stigma, I think that’s why I lean towards that,’’ she said.
How did she feel about winning the scholarship?
‘‘It was a shock, a bit overwhelming,’’ she said.
‘‘It will enable me to do internships next year. I’m applying for the Australian Human Rights Commission and the Australian Law Reform Commission.
‘‘I’m not expecting to change the world. I think it’s about small changes, that you change somebody’s perspective or view and then slowly that will accumulate.’’