Mr Kirby is one of Australia’s most eminent jurists and academics and is actively involved in human rights issues. A former Justice of the High Court, his other judicial roles have included inaugural Chairman of the Australian Law Reform Commission; judge of the Federal Court; and President of the New South Wales Court of Appeal.
Mr Kirby’s subsequent leadership roles have included appointments to the United Nations Development Program Global Commission on HIV and the Law; the UNAIDS and Lancet Commission: From AIDS to Sustainable Health; and as Chair of the UN Human Rights Council Commission of Inquiry on alleged human rights violations in North Korea.
Mr Kirby’s support of Penington Institute stems from his admiration for David Penington’s trailblazing approach to medical and social issues, particularly in steering politicians and public opinion towards enlightened community engagement and harm minimisation strategies regarding HIV/AIDS. “He has continued to stay the course in relation to laws and attitudes on drug use,” he says.
“The institute will play an important role in advancing the enlightenment contained in the early work of Professor Penington. The road ahead will be difficult and challenging. But, step-by-step, progress will be made and Australia will be a leader.’’