About Future Justice

Future Justice is an initiative of Future Leaders.

Future Justice is committed to economic, social, cultural and environmental advances for the present generation whilst securing and strengthening the life chances of future generations.

Future Justice takes as its starting point the UNESCO ‘Declaration on the Responsibilities of the Present Generations Towards Future Generations’. This Declaration sets down the core responsibilities, which the present generation should assume. These include:

  • the responsibility to bequeath to future generations an Earth that will not one day be irreversibly damaged by human activity;
  • the responsibility to ensure that future generations may benefit from the richness of the Earth’s ecosystems and, to that end, the present generation should work to ensure sustainable development and the quality and integrity of the environment;
  • the responsibility to underpin and promote the socio-economic development of future generations through the fair and prudent use of available resources, including the nation’s economic, fiscal and budgetary resources;
  • the responsibility to work towards the progressive alleviation of poverty and other forms of economic and social disadvantage;
  • the responsibility to protect and safeguard the nation’s cultural heritage and to transmit that heritage to future generations;
  • the responsibility to provide high quality education as one crucial means of fulfilling everyone’s inherent potential; and
  • the responsibility to preserve and to strengthen peoples human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international law.

Future Justice will initially focus upon four discrete areas of policy and activity.

Climate Change
To introduce the perspective of future generations into the present Australian debate about climate change. It is apparent for example, that policy with respect to emissions trading, for example, is too focused upon what is immediately, politically achievable. It should focus instead upon the consequences for Australian life and society of a failure to take strong measures now – so that that irreversible environmental damage does not occur in the near future.

Financial Debt
To examine the impact of rising public and private levels of debt upon the resources that may, or may not, be available for use and distribution by future generations. While it is clear that a forceful governmental stimulus has been required to combat the potential harm that may be caused by the global financial crisis, the debt which resulted must be repaid. And so must that which preceded it. This heavy burden, which is both public and private, should fall principally upon the generation that incurred it and not upon future generations, which might inherit it.

To consider the implications of potentially steep population increases upon Australia’s natural environment, living standards, economic capacities, social structures and land use and distribution.

Human Rights
To monitor Australia’s compliance with its international human rights obligations. Australian governments have ratified seven critical international human rights treaties and yet the nation is far from providing the human rights protections that it has thereby undertaken to preserve and strengthen. In fact, if anything, Australia’s commitment to protecting the human rights of our indigenous people, of those seeking asylum here, of minority groups, of the elderly, and of children has wavered over the past decade or so. We should not pass on to future generations, fewer and weaker protections than we have come to expect for our own.

Future Justice Executive

Justice Susan Kenny – Federal Court of Australia
Ms Alison King – ACU National
Dr Helen Sykes AM – Future Leaders
Professor Spencer Zifcak – ACU National

Future Justice Consultation

The Future Justice Consultation provides an opportunity for individuals and organisatrions to share their views on intergenerational equity (future justice). It aims to seek a range of views from across Australia on the key questions.

How do we gain advances (economic, social, cultural and environmental) for the present generation whilst securing and strengthening the life chances of future generations?

How do we ensure that future generations are not unjustly dispossessed or disadvantaged as a result of the present generation’s pursuit of these advances?


The Foundation for the Rights of Future Generations (FRFG)