Julian Burn­side: Tak­ing the Law in Stride


Vision Magazine - - Contents - english Text By Philippa ray­ment chi­nese Text By Jer­lin lin

2004年澳洲法律協會的人權平等委員會授予他「人權法獎」,同時被冠以「澳洲之寶」的頭銜, 2007年獲得「澳洲和平獎」的殊榮,2014年悉尼和平基金會授予他「悉尼和平獎」

To en­ter a lawyer’s of­fice can be a daunt­ing ex­pe­ri­ence for many peo­ple, and es­pe­cially so when the man sit­ting be­hind the huge desk is Julian Burn­side AO QC. As a bar­ris­ter, au­thor and prom­i­nent hu­man rights and refugee ad­vo­cate, he is one of Aus­tralia’s most re­spected lawyers. Julian has a twin­kle in his eye and a ready smile; he pos­sesses an en­vi­able qual­ity of mak­ing oth­ers feel wel­come. He is will­ing to lis­ten to any­thing they say.

Peo­ple want to be lis­tened to, they want to be ac­knowl­edged as peo­ple, ac­knowl­edged as part of the com­mu­nity they’re in. --- Julian Burn­side

Some­how this re­mark­able man man­ages to keep his life in bal­ance while spend­ing his days work­ing to help those who have been trau­ma­tised by cir­cum­stances beyond their con­trol – refugees and asy­lum seek­ers, and then hav­ing to bat­tle with less than hu­mane gov­ern­ment poli­cies.

“You learn to han­dle what it is be­cause you have to - this is part of my life,” he ex­plains.

Julian’s web­site greets its vis­i­tors with a quote by James Thurber, “All men should strive to learn be­fore they die, what they are run­ning from, and to, and why.” He thinks these words are a use­ful re­minder to politi­cians who need to cast away their fear and in­stead, ex­tend a help­ing hand to fel­low hu­mans in dire need.

Beyond the of­fice and law courts, Julian seeks re­lax­ation in clas­si­cal mu­sic and read­ing, in par­tic­u­lar po­etry, phi­los­o­phy and his­tory. He finds joy in mak­ing sculp­tures out of ob­jects he col­lects dur­ing his walks along the quiet coast­line near his beach house in South Gipp­s­land.

Julian the school­boy was a bril­liant stu­dent and at the end of his fi­nal year at Mel­bourne Gram­mar was ac­cepted by five uni­ver­si­ties. He laughs heartily when asked why he chose a ca­reer in law. It was an ac­ci­dent he ex­plained. He sim­ply chose to fol­low a friend in his de­ci­sion be­cause he thought it nice to have a com­pan­ion at univer­sity. To­gether they en­rolled in law at Monash Univer­sity. Julian also earned a de­gree in eco­nom­ics, ini­tially plan­ning to be­come a man­age­ment con­sul­tant.

His path took a sharp turn when he trav­elled to New Zealand with the Monash Univer­sity In­ter­var­sity Moot­ing team. He won the prize as the best in­di­vid­ual speaker and, the Chief Jus­tice of New Zealand who presided over the fi­nal moot at the prize giv­ing drinks ses­sion sug­gested he ‘go to the bar’. In that in­stant Julian said he de­cided to be­come a bar­ris­ter. “So that was my ca­reer plan­ning,” he laughs.

Af­ter grad­u­at­ing from univer­sity, Julian pro­ceeded to forge a suc­cess­ful ca­reer in lit­i­ga­tion, deal­ing pri­mar­ily with high-end clients. How­ever, in 2001 his path in life was about to change dra­mat­i­cally with the Tampa in­ci­dent. The Nor­we­gian cargo ship MV was re­fused en­try to Aus­tralian waters af­ter res­cu­ing 438 peo­ple, mostly Afghan asy­lum seek­ers, from a dis­tressed In­done­sian fish­ing boat. It high­lighted no ‘boat peo­ple’ ac­cepted in Aus­tralia and was the start of off­shore pro­cess­ing for asy­lum seek­ers. This was the cat­a­lyst for Julian to be­come an out­spo­ken ad­vo­cate for hu­man rights and refugees.

Julian’s work has not made his life any eas­ier. He re­ceived hun­dreds of hate emails over time. only em­bold­ened by this ob­sta­cle, Julian took time from his busy schedule to pro­vide mean­ing­ful ex­pla­na­tions for his work. The re­sults he says, were as­ton­ish­ing. Many re­sponded with grat­i­tude for his at­ten­tion, thank­ing him. Julian has come to the con­clu­sion that many peo­ple nowa­days gen­er­ally feel ne­glected. This he says is re­flected in the re­cent elec­tions in Amer­ica. The Trump cam­paign ap­pealed to the masses of peo­ple who felt un­no­ticed, over­looked and es­tranged.

Julian doubts he will see an ac­cept­able res­o­lu­tion for asy­lum seek­ers in his life­time but says, “Whether I am op­ti­mistic or not, the sim­ple fact is you don’t give up on it.”

When asked about his most crit­i­cal con­cern for the fu­ture, Julian feels it is the lack of ac­knowl­edg­ment and prepa­ra­tion for climate change. Fol­low­ing the In­dus­trial Rev­o­lu­tion and ad­vances in tech­nol­ogy, the en­vi­ron­ment and at­mos­phere have be­come more and more pol­luted to the detri­ment of all liv­ing be­ings in­clud­ing hu­man­ity.

“I am re­ally, re­ally wor­ried that we seem to have for­got­ten al­to­gether the dan­ger of what we are do­ing to the planet.”

There is some talk, but lit­tle ac­tion. To quote Shake­speare’s Ham­let, “Thus con­science doth make cow­ards of us all… And lose the name of ac­tion.”


1972年朱利安獲得經濟學位, 1973年得到法律學位。大學畢業前夕,在前往新西蘭參加國際模擬法庭訴訟辯論中,朱利安贏得最佳演說者的頭銜,並與新西蘭首席法官Sir Richard Wild有了一面之緣,大法官對他說:「當律師去吧!」



1998年,澳洲海洋工會與當時最具有影響力的商業集團 Pa­trick Cor­po­ra­tion 爆發勞資衝突。這起案件當時被視為澳洲最嚴重、時間最長的勞資關係爭議。在最後的判決中,最高法庭幾乎是傾向 Pa­trick 集團。朱利安說:「一直到今天,我對這個案件都是記憶猶新」。他發現,代表低層的工會應當獲得理性和公平的生存環境。

在 1990年末期,朱利安開始參與愈來愈多與人權有關的公眾糾紛案。直到2001年,他徹底明白,能為社會低層發聲的律師有多麼重要。「他們渴望被聆聽、被承認,被看做是社會的一部分」他說。


2001年,澳洲發生一起轟動社會的難民事件,一艘載有438 位阿富汗難民的MV Tampa 挪威貨船在澳外海被拒絕入境,澳洲政府的決定震驚挪威並受到聯合國和多國的指責。聯邦政府隨即向國會遞交「邊境保護修改草案」。在提供醫療援助以及食物後,便將全數難民送往澳洲難民營- 瑙魯。



2008年,朱利安參與了幾項代表澳洲原住民與聯邦政府之間的糾紛案。其中最著名的是澳洲原住民「被偷走的一代人」協會會員Bruce Trevor­row 的案件,當時的 Trevor­row指控南澳政府,在他幼年時期,政府將他從親生父母身邊帶走,給他整個家庭帶來了難以磨滅的傷痛。結果,朱利安為首的律師團為「被偷走的一代人」贏得了澳洲史上的首次勝利,澳洲政府被判賠償Trevor­row 55萬澳元,外加 22.5 萬澳元利息。



---Julian Burn­side

Julian Burn­side has re­ceived many awards in­clud­ing the Aus­tralian Peace Prize, the Syd­ney Peace Prize and the Or­der of Aus­tralia "for ser­vice as a hu­man rights ad­vo­cate, par­tic­u­larly for refugees and asy­lum seek­ers, to the arts as a pa­tron and fundraiser, and to the law”.

With his wife Kate, he set up Spare Rooms for Refugees and Spare Lawyers for Refugees, pro­grams that pro­vide free ac­com­mo­da­tion and le­gal rep­re­sen­ta­tion for refugees in Aus­tralia.

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