Julian Burnside is Melbourne barrister, human rights and refugee advocate, and author. He joined the Bar in 1976 and took silk in 1989.
He specializes in commercial litigation and has acted in many contentious cases – the MUA Waterfront dispute and the Cash-for-Comment enquiry. Julian Burnside has represented some of Australia’s wealthiest people, including Alan Bond and Rose Porteous, what he called “the big end of town”. However in the 1990s he began to undertake more and more pro bono legal work on a range of human rights-related issues. He is an outspoken opponent of the mistreatment of people who come to Australia seeking protection from persecution.
His published books include From Nothing to Zero: Letters from Refugees in Australia’s Detention Centres; On Privilege; Watching Brief: Reflections on Human Rights, Law and Justice; Wordwatching: Fieldnotes of an Amateur Philologist; and Matilda and the Dragon.