7 Mar 2021
Father Frank Brennan SJ AO on Faith, Law, Social Justice, and Australia
Play • 56 mins

Originally published with transcript at


In this interview, Nick and Frank discuss:

  • Frank’s early life and education in Queensland, and the influences of his mother and father on his life

  • Frank’s ordination within the Catholic Church and the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits)

  • The impact of Jesuit Pope Francis on the Catholic Church, particularly with regard to environmental issues

  • The future of the Catholic Church globally

  • Frank’s early work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples in Redfern, Sydney, and the influence of Father Ted Kennedy on Frank’s formation

  • The development of Australian land law, with reference to the Australian High Court’s Mabo and Wik Peoples decisions

  • Practical policy steps towards Reconciliation, the Australian Constitution, and First Nations Peoples

  • Frank’s work with refugees and asylum seekers, and his experiences in East Timor and with the 2001 Tampa case

  • Migration policy changes for a more humane and ethical Australia

  • Frank’s understanding of Jesus Christ, and how this has informed his work with the most vulnerable and disadvantaged in our communities

  • The daily work of a priest, and death and dying in the COVID-19 pandemic

  • Frank’s views on education in the 21st century, and his hopes and vision for Newman College

Follow Fr Frank Brennan on Facebook and Twitter


Father Frank Brennan is a Jesuit priest and the current Rector of Newman College within the University of Melbourne. He is a man of many talents and interests, having worked variously as a Jesuit priest within the Catholic Church, a human rights lawyer, a professor of law at Australian Catholic University, and CEO of Catholic Social Services Australia. He is a National Living Treasure, and widely known to the Australian public through his long career of leadership and advocacy on a range of human rights and social justice issues relating to asylum seekers, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and the poor, vulnerable and disadvantaged both in Australia and abroad.

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