Apart from our shared interest in human rights and helping clients who have difficulties meeting Australia’s strict migration law health criteria, Kathryn Viegas and I also share an “intellectual crush” on The Honourable Michael Kirby AC CMG that dates back to when we were law students. Last night in Sydney, at the launch of the Law Council of Australia’s International Bar Association conference committee, we had the honour of meeting the object of our affection.
As the keynote speaker, Mr Kirby spoke eloquently about his distinguished career including his recent appointment to the United Nations High Level Panel on Health Technologies. This panel has been established to assist with the realisation of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, particularly the goal to ensure good health and well-being for all – a matter of special interest to us given the limited global availability of health technologies, including treatments for HIV, Hepatitis C and other non-communicable and rare diseases.
As migration lawyers, we know that this issue is important to many of our clients as their ability to remain in Australia is determined by how much their medical treatment may cost the Australian community. We left our encounter feeling inspired, enthused about our work and delighted by the fact that we didn’t embarrass ourselves in Mr Kirby’s presence, except perhaps for Kathryn’s bashful greeting of “Hello, your Holiness”.