An incisive and witty collection of Geoffrey Robertson's best writings and speeches.
Christopher Hitchens described Geoffrey Robertson as ‘the greatest living Australian’ and the satirical magazine Private Eye calls him ‘an Australian who has had a vowel transplant’. Just before he was to cross-examine Princess Diana, the London Times complained that he was ‘anti-establishment, republican and Australian’ - in ascending order of horror.
Internationally recognised as one of the world’s leading human rights lawyers and as an intellectual inspiration for the global justice movement, he regularly boomerangs back from leading Europe’s largest civil liberties practice to the land of his birth and his youth. Just as his Hypotheticals dazzled television audiences, so the speeches and essays collected in this book provoke, disturb and entertain.
Here you will find new heroes in our history, such as the schoolteacher who stopped Ned Kelly’s planned terrorist atrocity at Glenrowan, and the squadron leader who led ‘the few’ - the airmen who held the Japanese at bay after the fall of Singapore. There are insights into Australian education, the story of wrongly jailed Aboriginal mother Nancy Young, encounters with Vaclev Havel, Rupert Murdoch, Michael Kirby, John Mortimer and Julian Assange, the transcript of a previously banned ‘hypothetical’, reflections on worldwide problems such as torture, terrorism and the Catholic church, and much else besides. With his trademark intelligence, humour and humanity, Robertson’s expatriate (but not ex-patriot) vision picks the real winners and losers in the Australian race.
“Robertson is a major figure in international law, an author of considerable accomplishment, and an influential commentator on human rights.”
Frank Bongiorno, Australian Book Review