“He is a jurist who has probably done more to advance the interests of human rights, including gay rights, internationally, than anybody else alive today," said one of many Kirby nominators.
The Honorable Michael Kirby is now retired from the bench of the High Court of Australia, but his frequent appointments as a public speaker, mediator and advisor keep the sprightly 71-year-old busy and eloquently influential.
We learned a great deal more about Kirby last year when he opened up his life and photo albums for an ABC TV camera crew. In the resulting documentary 'Don't Forget the Justice Bit', he pays tribute to his partner Johan, who has lived with him since 1969.
"There should be an award for the long standing and long suffering top 25 partners of Same Same," Kirby laughs modestly when we tell him he's on our list once again. "My partner deserves a gong before another one for me."
"But thank you for the very welcome news that I have been elected to the 25 Same Same list for 2011. I am proud to be on the list, and especially because of the company I am keeping.
"I hope that 2011 will be a real year of progress towards equality in Australia. If the United States of America can make political progress towards equality we, Australian citizens, expect nothing less in the land of the fair go."
The Same Same 25 is an annual celebration of the 25 Most Influential Gay and Lesbian Australians. They are publicly nominated, and chosen by a panel of community leaders.
For the past two years, the announcement of the 25 Most Influential Gay and Lesbian Australians has attracted widespread national media attention and focused on the achievements and influence of a varied and inspirational group of people.