The Wyndham business community was treated to a luncheon with keynote speaker, the newly appointed United Nations’ Assistant High Commissioner for Protection Professor Gillian Triggs on Friday (20th November).

Now in its 8th year, the Barry Jones Oration is the most significant forum on Wyndham City’s business calendar.

Wyndham City Mayor Cr Mia Shaw said the annual event, attended by over 100 people, aims to raise greater awareness of social, educational, economic and environmental issues in Wyndham and beyond.

“Over the years we had high profile speakers such as Nobel Prize winner and previous Australian of the Year, veterinary surgeon and researcher, Professor Peter Doherty, previous Prime Minister and former Member for Lalor the Honourable Julia Gillard, top business woman and philanthropist Janet Holmes à Court, biologist and immunologist Sir Gustav Nossal, biologist Professor Suzanne Cory, Australian barrister, human right and refugee advocate Julian Burnside and of course former politician, lawyer, social activist, polymath, writer and teacher, the Honourable Doctor Barry Jones,” Cr Shaw said.

“This year we continued with our list of high-profile keynote speakers and secured Professor Triggs, just before she left for her new role in the UN in Geneva.”

Professor Triggs spoke about how the law protects against racial discrimination but did not offer the same protection when people are discriminating against a person’s sexual orientation under religious grounds.

She used the example of former Rugby League player Israel Folau, who used social media to express negative opinions of homosexuals.

Professor Triggs said, in this case, Folau had the right of freedom of speech and freedom of expression but posed the question: “Should we have a law that does not allow people to be discriminated against due to their sexual orientation?”.

“This is now an important event on Wyndham’s business calendar and it was an honour to attend alongside two truly outstanding Australians, both of whom, among their many achievements, have been highly acclaimed for their contributions to Australian society,” Cr Shaw said.

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