Melbourne Law School’s Peter McMullin Centre on Statelessness was established in 2018 with the objective of undertaking research, teaching and engagement activities aimed at reducing statelessness and protecting the rights of stateless people in Australia, the Asia Pacific region, and as appropriate more broadly.
The focus of the Centre is to develop teaching, research and engagement projects with three major aims:
- To properly understand the scope, scale and reasons for statelessness in order to develop targeted and effective responses to it;
- To work towards reducing and, over time, eliminating statelessness; and
- Until statelessness is eliminated, working to protect the human rights of stateless people within the countries in which they reside.
The Peter McMullin Centre on Statelessness offers opportunities for collaboration, debate and information sharing through conferences, round tables and visiting fellowships. The Centre also supports the work of the University of Melbourne’s Hallmark Statelessness Research Initiative.
The Centre has been established by a very generous philanthropic gift over 10 years from Peter and Ruth McMullin, and has strong support from the University of Melbourne, including in particular the Melbourne School of Government, in recognition of the inter-disciplinary nature of the issues.
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Professor Michelle Foster
Michelle Foster is a Professor, Director of the International Refugee Law Research Program in the Institute for International Law and the Humanities at Melbourne Law School and the inaugural Director of the Peter McMullin Centre on Statelessness at Melbourne Law School. Michelle has published widely in the field of international refugee law, including International Refugee Law and Socio-Economic Rights: Refuge from Deprivation (CUP, 2007) and, with James Hathaway, The Law of Refugee Status, Second Edition, (CUP, 2014). Michelle’s most recent publications explore various legal issues concerning the recognition and protection of stateless persons, including a monograph with Professor Helene Lambert, entitled The Protection of Stateless Persons in International Refugee Law (OUP, 2018). Michelle teaches Refugee Law and International Refugee Law at Melbourne Law School, and in 2017 taught in the International Summer School in Forced Migration at Oxford’s Refugee Studies Centre.
Professor Carolyn Evans - Chair
Professor Carolyn Evans is Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Graduate) and Harrison Moore Professor of Law at the University of Melbourne. Carolyn has degrees in Arts and Law from Melbourne University and a doctorate from Oxford University where she studied as a Rhodes Scholar and where she held a stipendiary lectureship for two years before returning to Melbourne in 2000. She worked for a period as a lawyer at Blake Dawson Waldron after graduating from Melbourne. In 2010, Carolyn was awarded a Fulbright Senior Scholarship to allow her to travel as a Visiting Fellow at American and Emory Universities to examine questions of comparative religious freedom.
Carolyn is the author of Legal Protection of Religious Freedom in Australia (Federation Press 2011), Religious Freedom under the European Court of Human Rights (OUP 2001) and co-author of Australian Bills of Rights: The Law of the Victorian Charter and the ACT Human Rights Act (LexisNexis 2008). She is co-editor of Religion and International Law (1999, Kluwer); Mixed Blessings: Laws, Religions and Women's Rights in the Asia-Pacific Region (2006 Martinus Nijhoff) and Law and Religion in Historical and Theoretical Perspective (CUP 2008). She is an internationally recognised expert on religious freedom and the relationship between law and religion and has spoken on these topics in the United States, United Kingdom, Russia, China, Greece, Vietnam, India, Hong Kong, Switzerland, Malaysia, Nepal and Australia.
Ms Erika Feller
From 2014 to 2017 Erika Feller held the appointment of Vice-Chancellor's Fellow at the University of Melbourne, located in the Melbourne School of Government. She is currently a Professorial Fellow in the School of Government, serving at the same time in various advisory capacities outside the University, including as a member of the Research Advisory Committee of the Humanitarian Advisory Group, a social enterprise working to elevate the profile of humanitarian action in Asia and the Pacific.
Erika’s experience with the statelessness portfolio spans many years at very high levels of seniority. UNHCR is the agency in the UN system with the mandate to protect and assist stateless persons. This is predominantly a protection function. Erika oversaw the protection policy and delivery in UNHCR for over 13 years, first in her capacity as Director of the Division of International Protection and then during her 7 years as UNHCR’s Assistant High Commissioner for Protection.
Prior to these respective appointments she had, among others, progressively senior positions within DIP, each of which regularly involved her in activities on behalf of stateless people. These activities have variously included running a series of training courses on the statelessness protection framework for Government officials throughout the Baltic countries; undertaking advocacy missions to countries hosting large groups of stateless persons [for example Vietnam and Thailand, Albania and Montenegro]; visiting stateless populations and discussing possible solutions with host states [notably the Rohingyas in Myanmar]; participating in consultations on the drafting of citizenship laws in an effort to avoid statelessness [for example in Sudan, prior to the breakup of the country into two]; overseeing promotional activities like the drafting of the joint UNHCR/IPU Handbook for Parliamentarians on Statelessness; addressing UN meetings in New York on statelessness; and engagement on numerous stateless cases under UNHCR’s mandate. Most recently she was instrumental in organising the UNHCR/Melbourne University Workshop on Researching Statelessness and Citizenship in Asia and the Pacific held at Melbourne Law School from 27-29 January 2016.
Ms Santi Kusumaningrum
Santi Kusumaningrum leads PUSKAPA or the Center on Child Protection and Wellbeing PUSKAPA at Universitas Indonesia after she co-founded it in 2010. PUSKAPA positions itself as a research and policy advocacy organization that is data-driven, interdisciplinary, and effective in communicating the science behind solutions to improve children’s access to health, education, justice, and social care. Her previous work experiences include managing child protection program in UNICEF Indonesia for over six years, both in the development and humanitarian contexts, teach and research-assisting in the Criminology Department Universitas Indonesia, and for a short period helping to set up a legal aid service unit in the Indonesian Bar Association. Through PUSKAPA, she commits to applying rigor in situating child wellbeing in the center of development and humanitarian actions.
Santi focuses her work to understand what makes or breaks child wellbeing and resilience; to address challenges concerning legal identity and personhood so that they facilitate -not discriminate, people’s access to public services, justice, and economic opportunities; and to master the politics of evidence-based policy transformations to realize social inclusions in Indonesia. She had published her research on social exclusion in legal identity system in Indonesia on, among others The Lancet, PLOS One, and Bio Med Journal. She also sits on the Advisory Board of Care and Protection of Children Learning Network (CPC). She is in the process of getting her Doctorate in Public Health from Columbia University and has been awarded with Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health Award of Excellence in Global Health, in 2017. She hopes to graduate in 2018.
Dr Maryanne Loughry
Dr Maryanne Loughry is a Sister of Mercy and psychologist and has worked internationally in refugee settings. She commenced her refugee work with the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) in South East Asia in 1988. Her doctoral study investigated the effects of detention on unaccompanied children.
From 1996-2004 Dr Loughry was the Pedro Arrupe tutor at the University of Oxford Refugee Studies Centre from where she conducted research, programme evaluations and humanitarian training in the Middle East, Africa, the Balkans, South East Asia and the UK. Presently Dr Loughry is a Research Professor at the School of Social Work, Boston College, Massachusetts and a Research Associate at the Refugee Studies Centre (RSC), University of Oxford.
Dr Loughry is a member of the Australian Government's Minister of Immigration' Advisory Council on Asylum Seekers and Detention (MCASD) and serves on the Governing Committee of the International Catholic Migration Committee (ICMC). She is researching the psychosocial effects of climate-induced displacement in the Pacific. In 2010 Dr Loughry was made a Member (AM) of the Order of Australia for service to refugees.
Mr David Manne
David Manne is a human rights lawyer and Executive Director of Refugee Legal (previously the Refugee & Immigration Legal Centre (RILC)). He has worked in various capacities assisting refugees and asylum seekers for over 20 years. In January 2001, he joined Refugee Legal, at the forefront of defending the rights, the dignity and the lives of asylum seekers, refugees and disadvantaged migrants.
David sat on the Board of the Refugee Council of Australia for seven years, and is currently on the Victorian Foundation for Survivors of Torture Ethics Committee, and a number of peak Government consultative bodies. He has also been appointed to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees Advisory Board of Eminent Persons. He has been invited to attend and present at the UN High Commissioner's Dialogue on Protection Challenges on numerous occasions.
David has been the recipient of numerous prestigious awards, including the Law Institute of Victoria Paul Baker Prize for Administrative and Human Rights Law, the Law Institute President’s Awards (2006 and 2011), was shortlisted for the Australian Human Rights Commission Human Rights Medal in 2011 and been frequently named as one of Australia’s Leading Immigration Lawyers in the Australian edition of Best Lawyers.
David headed Refugee Legal’s legal teams in successfully arguing 10 out of 10 High Court challenges, including the cases of Plaintiff M61 (regarding the Government’s ‘offshore processing’ regime in Australia); Plaintiffs M70/M106 (the ‘Malaysia Solution’ case); Plaintiff M47 (challenging security assessment and indefinite detention of a refugee); Plaintiff M76 (regarding indefinite detention of a refugee on security grounds); Plaintiff M150 (challenge by a 15 year old unaccompanied refugee in relation to the Government’s attempt to bar permanent protection through a visa cap); and Plaintiff S89 (challenging a Government regulation designed to bar boat arrivals from permanent protection).
Mr Peter McMullin
Peter McMullin has an extensive legal and business career encompassing prominent roles in both the public and private sectors.
Peter is the current Chairman and Director of privately owned, diversified investment company McMullin Group and Special Counsel for Cornwall Stodart Lawyers, specialising in improving outcomes for the firm and its clients by facilitating meaningful connections between like-minded people.
Throughout Peter’s career, he has had a deep-seated interest in community affairs. He has consistently used his professional experience and network to further causes that he feels deeply and passionately about.
Peter’s belief is that the private sector has an important role to play in the resolution of many of our pressing social issues. He has made a significant contribution throughout his career forging positive, constructive partnerships between the private sector and governments, the not-for-profit sector and educational institutions.
Director of the Division of International Protection, UNHCR ex-officio*
Ms. Carol Batchelor is the Director of the Division of International Protection of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. From 2010 – 2015, Ms. Batchelor served as the UNHCR Representative to Turkey. Prior to this she was the first Director of the UNHCR Ethics Office, which she opened in 2008. Previously, Ms. Batchelor served as Chief of Mission for UNHCR operations covering India and the Maldives, and as Senior Legal Officer in the Department of International Protection at UNHCR HQs, spearheading the expansion of the international legal framework and UNHCR’s mandate on statelessness during the 1990’s.
Before her time with UNHCR, Ms. Batchelor worked in the private sector, including as Director of Operations at the U.S.A. firm Media Marketing, as consultant to Terrada Investment a Japan based firm, and as Law Associate in the Los Angeles and London offices of Mayer, Brown and Platt.
Ms. Batchelor holds a B.A. from the University of Washington in Seattle, U.S.A., a J.D. from Stanford University, U.S.A., and an LL.M. from Cambridge University in the United Kingdom.
*The Director of the Division of International Protection will serve on the Advisory Board to provide general strategic guidance to the Centre.
Mr Christoph Sperfeldt
Christoph Sperfeldt will begin as a Senior Research Fellow at the Peter McMullin Centre on Statelessness on the 1st June 2018. He is currently a doctoral candidate at the School of Regulation and Global Governance (RegNet), Australian National University. Christoph came to the issue of statelessness from a bottom-up perspective, examining the development and peace implications resulting from the marginalisation of vulnerable populations. Christoph brings to the role more than ten years of experience in researching and working on human rights, statelessness and transitional justice, predominantly in the Asia-Pacific region. Prior to joining the Centre, he was Deputy Director at the Asian International Justice Initiative, a joint program of the East-West Center and the WSD Handa Center for Human Rights and International Justice, Stanford University, where he supported human rights and rule of law capacity development in Southeast Asia; and Senior Advisor with the Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) in Cambodia. Christoph has published widely in the field of human rights and transitional justice.
Ms Timnah Baker
Timnah Rachel Baker (BA/LLB Monash University and LLM Boston College) will begin as a Research Fellow at the Peter McMullin Centre on Statelessness on the 1st March 2018. She is currently a PhD candidate at Sydney Law School. From 2009 - 2017 she was based at Harvard University as visiting scholar at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs and Research Associate for the International Policy and Law Analysis (IMPALA) project.
Professor John Tobin
Professor John Tobin is the Francine McNiff Chair in International Human Rights Law at Melbourne Law School. He is an internationally recognised expert in human rights with special expertise in children’s rights. In 2010, he was awarded the Barbara Falk Award for Teaching Excellence by the University of Melbourne and in 2011 he was awarded a national citation for outstanding contribution to student learning in the area of human rights.
Professor Tobin’s expertise with respect to children’s rights has particular salience for the Centre in light of the fact that UNHCR estimates that there is a stateless child being born at least every 10 minutes, and observes that the effects of being born stateless are profound especially in terms of access to the most basic of human rights such as medical care. Therefore, research and advocacy with regard to the link between children’s rights and statelessness is essential to finding solutions to statelessness.
Professor Susan Kneebone
Over the last decade Susan’s research, teaching and publications have focussed on forced migration, including refugees, statelessness and citizenship, in South East Asia (SEA). In 2006, she was awarded an ARC Linkage Grant: LP0667748; ‘Australia’s Response to Trafficking in Women: Towards a Model for the Regulation of Forced Migration in the Asia-Pacific Region’ (with Julie Debeljak and Bernadette McSherry). A second ARC Linkage Grant followed in 2009: LP0990168; ‘Delivering Effective Protection to Victims and Prevention of Human Trafficking in the Greater Mekong Sub-Region’. Additionally, in 2009 she received an ARC Discovery Grant as sole Chief Investigator: DP09844404; ‘Law, Governance and Regulation of Intra-Regional Labour Migration in South East Asia: An Agenda for Protection and Development’.
As a result of research conducted under these projects Susan has extensive experience researching in SEA. The issue of statelessness is a relevant vulnerability factor in human trafficking, especially regarding children of migrant workers and victims of forced marriage (as detailed in two reports arising under LP0990168). The issue of citizenship is important to understanding the rights of migrant workers. Susan’s current ARC Discovery Grant is directly relevant to these issues as it has a focus on the nationality and rights of children of marriage migrants, many of whom are stateless as a result of operation of laws. Through this project, her geographic focus extends to East Asia (Taiwan and South Korea) and her substantive focus statelessness and the rights of children.
Ms Amy Lee
Amy Lee is the Centre Administrator at the Peter McMullin Centre on Statelessness. In the past Amy has held a variety of administrative jobs in diverse work sectors. Prior to joining MLS she was working with medical students from the University of Melbourne at Epworth hospital, coordinating their placements activities and assessments. Amy has a committed passion for education with a teaching background in primary school level and English language teaching. Due to this, Amy believes strongly that statelessness children are especially vulnerable and disadvantaged. She is delighted to be supporting the Centre’s work to challenge this growing global issue.
Applications are invited from suitably qualified scholars for a PhD scholarship to undertake a higher degree by research through Professor Michelle Foster at the Peter McMullin Centre on Statelessness. This scholarship is open to both domestic and international students.
Melbourne Law School (MLS) is Australia’s first all-graduate law faculty. MLS was the first faculty in Australia to teach law, and awarded this country’s first law degrees. The Law School is now fully graduate with its Juris Doctor for admission to practice recognised as a high level qualification in Australia and beyond. Its faculty is a vibrant community of creative scholars, committed to a highly collegial, research-intensive institutional life.
The Peter McMullin Centre on Statelessness is excited to invite expressions of interest from visiting scholars to undertake research on any topic connected with issues of statelessness and citizenship. Visiting scholars are generally provided with a stipend, a workspace, computer and library access. They are highly encouraged to participate in the academic life of the Melbourne Law School, and will be expected to give at least one public seminar or public lecture during their tenure.
International visitors will require a visa. It is the visiting scholar's responsibility to obtain an appropriate visa.
Contact us via email for more information.
Visting Fellows 2017
Dr Laura van Waas
Dr. Laura van Waas is a founder and Co-Director of the Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion as well as Assistant Professor at the Department of European and International Law at Tilburg Law School in the Netherlands. Laura’s PhD manuscript, ‘Nationality Matters’ (Intersentia, 2008), is widely used as a reference for understanding international statelessness law by researchers and practitioners all over the world.
In more than a decade of working on the issue of statelessness, Laura has carried out a wide array of research and teaching projects, both within academia and for the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and other actors. She has worked as a consultant for UNHCR’s headquarters in Geneva as well as the regional offices in Beirut and Bangkok. She has supervised or conducted studies on statelessness for, among others, Plan International, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Open Society Foundations, the Women’s Refugee Commission, the United States Department of State, the European Parliament and the Norwegian Refugee Council.
During Laura’s visit to the Centre (from October – December 2017), she worked closely with the Centre’s Director, Michelle Foster, on the first stages in the design of a collaborative teaching project that involves developing a curriculum on statelessness as well as exploring other areas for research-related collaboration.
Friday 6:00pm - 7:00pmThe Decline of Parliamentary Democracy in a Post-Truth EraFree Public Lecture LPCCL;comparative law;post-truth;CCCS;MLS;Constitutional Law;Gillian Triggs;Law;
Monday 6:00pm - 7:00pmLaunch of the Peter McMullin Centre on StatelessnessLaunch kim rubenstein;fernand de varennes;michelle foster;centre launch;peter mcmullin;statelessness;MLS;Erika Feller;United Nations;human rights;Research;
Monday 6:00pm - 7:00pm50 Shades of Green: Challenges and Opportunities in the Green Bonds MarketSeminar/Forum Centre for Corporate Law and Securities Regulation;Transactional Law Group;TL;CCLSR;MLS;
Tuesday 1:00pm - 2:00pmRegulating the Fissured Workplace: A Comparison of European Models and Australian Developments Relat...Seminar/Forum centre for employment and labour regulations law;CELRL;MLS;Law;
Tuesday 1:00pm - 2:00pm'Some Varieties of Consent in Equity: Enhancing or Protecting Autonomy?'Seminar/Forum Obligations Group;Obligations;OG;MLS;
Tuesday 3:00pm - 4:00pmPhD Completion Seminar by Andrew NewmanSeminar/Forum MLS;
Tuesday 5:00pm - 6:30pmHow Big is the Problem of Violence Against Women?Seminar/Forum MLS;iilah;
Tuesday 7:00pm - 8:00pmSome Thoughts on Writing Judgments In, and For, Contemporary AustraliaFree Public Lecture writing judgments;mulr;MLS;Mortimer;contemporary;Australia;Law;
Wednesday 12:00pm - 2:00pmCivil Penalties for Cartel Conduct: An OECD Review of the Australian RegimeSeminar/Forum CLEN;MLS;
Wednesday 5:30pm - 7:00pmRecent International Tax Developments within the US, the EU and the OECD BEPS EffortSeminar/Forum tax-group;TG;MLS;tax;
Wednesday 6:30pm - 7:30pmCharities, Politics and TaxFree Public Lecture MLS;
Thursday 1:00pm - 2:00pmCollateral Damage and State Power: A Critical Approach to International Humanitarian LawSeminar/Forum State Power;Laureate Program in International Law;Laureate Program;laureate;States;MLS;brazil;Politics;International Law;Law;
IP & Media Law Conference 2018Symposium CMCL;MLS;IPRIA;
Wednesday 1:00pm - 2:00pmCharity Law Today: A ConversationSeminar/Forum MLS;
Wednesday 1:00pm - 2:00pmThe Widening Gulf Across the Taiwan Strait: Law, Criminal Justice, and Human RightsSeminar/Forum ALC;MLS;
Friday 8:00am - 9:00amRegulation by Blockchain: The Emerging Battle for Supremacy between the Code of Law and Code as LawSeminar/Forum TLG;TL;CMCL;CCLSR;MLS;
Tuesday 7:15am - 8:30amMLS Alumni Seminar with Anna Funder: "Behind 'Stasiland' and 'All That I Am'"Seminar/Forum MLS;literature;Law;
Tuesday 4:30pm - 6:30pmJD and LSAT Information Session, PerthFuture Student Event
Wednesday 1:00pm - 2:00pmDemocrats, Dictators and Constitutional Dialogue: Myanmar’s Constitutional Tribunal and the Debate o...Seminar/Forum ALC;MLS;
Wednesday 5:30pm - 7:30pmNew Research on the 1965 Killings: Implications for Contemporary Indonesia: Panel discussion and lau...Seminar/Forum CILIS;MLS;
Wednesday 6:00pm - 7:30pmJD and LSAT Information Session, MelbourneFuture Student Event MLS;
Thursday 1:00pm - 2:00pmThe state of convenience voting in VictoriaSeminar/Forum ERRN;MLS;
Friday 12:30pm - 2:00pmDigital PolyopolySeminar/Forum CLEN;MLS;
Monday 1:00pm - 2:00pmJapanese Patent Law and Practice: Comparisons with AustraliaSeminar/Forum ALC;MLS;
Thursday 6:00pm - 8:00pmMLS JD Class of 2016 DrinksOther MLS;Law;
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Obligations IX Conference: Form and Substance in the Law of ObligationsConference Law;law of torts;contract law;Obligations;MLS;conference;Equity;
Wednesday 6:00pm - 7:30pmAnnual Tax Lecture 2018 - Brexit vs globalisation: the economics of tax policy and the fragmentation...Seminar/Forum TG;tax;
- Melbourne to lead Statelessness fight
More than 10 million people are stateless, leaving them vulnerable to discrimination and exploitation. The Peter McMullin Centre on Statelessness will help fight this issue by seeking to develop policy solutions and ultimately contributing to a United Nations goal of eradicating statelessness by 2024.MLS News Issue 18 - November 2017
- Nowhere People have a Right to Somewhere
The University of Melbourne's Law School is to host a new research centre devoted to ending statelessness, backed by philanthropists Peter and Ruth McMullin.Pursuit - 6 June 2017