Human rights and international law expert Professor Hilary Charlesworth, says that Australia's appointment to the UN Human Rights Council gives the country an opportunity to examine its own human rights record.
Science/Arts/Environments graduate Jack Fuller, 24, was last month selected as the recipient of the Victorian Rhodes Scholarship for further study at Oxford University in 2010, and earlier this month Commerce graduate Daniel Norman, also 24, was chosen as a National Rhodes Scholar.
Rhodes Scholarships are awarded annually by competitive application to young people between the age of 18 and 25 who show high intellectual and academic ability as well as an interest and involvement in the community. Recipients also demonstrate leadership qualities and sporting achievement. There are nine scholarships given annually, one for each of the six states and three national scholarships.
Mr Fuller, who is currently a Project Leader with the progressive public-policy think tank Per Capita, is hoping to study a Master of Philosophy degree in International Relations at Oxford.
Mr Fuller’s particular interest is the intersection between environmental politics and international relations. Having majored in Neuroscience, he is also fascinated by the way in which institutions shape cultures of behaviour, as part of understanding their role in governing human-environment interactions.
"My interest in environmental politics grew out of my love of nature, which I owe to my parents," he says. "I spent most of my childhood outdoors in Brisbane, camping and sailing, and visiting forests in Malaysia."
After his mother also taught him to garden, his interest developed into a passion for biology and evolution. "My later studies in neuroscience were partly motivated by developing a worldview in which humans were part of the natural environment."
Motivated by an interest in German politics and the Greens movement, Mr Fuller spent a year on exchange in Germany in 2003, where he became fluent in German. He also lived in East Timor during 2006, where he worked with a local NGO building sustainable gardens, and becoming fluent in Tetum.
"I lived in the districts, without newspapers, where politics occupied people on a very different scale."
Mr Fuller joined a local soccer team, which was a uniting force in the community, playing in the rain dodging chickens and buffalo. By mid year however, East Timor was in crisis. Mr Fuller was initially caught up in the fighting but was saved by the Australian Defence Force.
"This gave me a new respect for the military and after a month I returned to Timor where I helped kids in an orphanage building a community garden."
Mr Fuller says his experiences in East Timor gave him an "acute appreciation of the value of our inheritance in Australia and a sense of custodianship of our legal, political and military institutions, as well as our natural systems."
"I would hope to bring back from Oxford an improved political judgment, a familiarity with the axes of debate in international politics, and an understanding of environmental politics connected with more established concerns in International Relations like security, economics, and justice."
Daniel Norman currently works as an analyst in the investment banking division of JP Morgan, after completing a stint with professional services firm KPMG and a Melbourne Bachelor of Commerce degree. Daniel has a keen interest in financial regulation, and how the corporate sector can work with public policy makers to promote an efficient, innovative but stable global financial economy.
Mr Norman says the events that transpired around the world over the past 18 months have highlighted some of the "structural and Governance challenges the financial sector now faces".
"Having watched the crisis unfold firsthand, I find it troubling that the recklessness of some practitioners has caused hardship to so many. These actions have tarnished the reputation of many finance professionals who are making genuine contributions to help alleviate injustice and poverty around the world."
Mr Norman hopes that by studying a Master of Science in Financial Economics at Oxford, he will gain the skills and perspectives necessary to work for an international organisation such as the World Bank.
"It would be both incredibly exciting and rewarding to assist emerging economies in developing their financial systems, with the aim of increasing economic growth and reducing poverty," he says.
Mr Norman’s sense of justice and fairness can be traced back to his youth, and is reflected in his passion for Australian Rules Football umpiring. An avid follower of the game and keen runner, he began umpiring at age 14.
"Umpiring is a great way to stay part of the game, to keep fit, and of course to learn how to make quick and accurate decisions", he says. In 2006, Daniel gained a position at the Victorian Football League, where he officiated in VFL Reserve and TAC Cup matches.
Congratulating the new Rhodes Scholars on their awards, Victorian Rhodes Scholarship Selection Committee Secretary Professor James Angus, who is Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences at the University of Melbourne, says both are outstanding young Australians who are sure to make their mark on the nation and the world.
"All the applicants the Committee interviewed had a wonderful sense of the privileged life we lead here in Australia and the responsibility to make a contribution locally, nationally and globally," he said. "It is really encouraging to see young people with such a balanced, mature attitude to work, scholarship, the arts, community and their own physical well-being."
"Jack Fuller’s interests and ambitions are certainly appropriate to the times, and the challenges of climate change mitigation and adaptation in the future will need the attention of our best young minds. I wish him well as he travels to Oxford next year.
"Daniel Norman has the potential to make a significant contribution in the financial sector, hopefully injecting some of his integrity, intellect and work ethic into an industry suffering a compromised reputation. A stable, fair and well-managed global economy is the key to ending poverty for so many millions of people around the world and I look forward to following the progress of his career," he said.