With the announcement of the winner of the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize being broadcast tomorrow, Friday 8th October at approximately 19:00 AEST here, we asked what peace meant to three individuals within the Club.

For the last two decades, I have worked in peacebuilding. I have had the honour to work with leaders who enact peace, Nobel Peace Prize recipients Jose Ramos Horta, former President and Prime Minister of Timor-Leste and Madame Ellen Johnston Sirleaf, first female African President of Liberia. I currently work with a leader who champions peace,  His Serene Highness Prince Albert of Monaco, the High Patron of the FPCD {the Foundation for Post Conflict Development}, a Foundation I proudly serve as Vice-Chair of the Board Directors. On a day-to-day basis, we work with the g7+, 20 fragile and conflict-affected Nations whose sole ambition is to facilitate peace, and year on year, I attend the United Nations General Assembly, the organization established to navigate peace. Whether you enact peace, champion peace, facilitate peace or navigate peace, there is only one determinant that defines peace, the investment into it.

The Institute for Economics and Peace estimates the annual global expenditure on war is 14.4 trillion dollars, in 2021 the United Nations regular and peacekeeping budget was a mere $3 billion. We spend $5 dollars a day on war for every person on the planet, yet less than half of that could eliminate global poverty.

Can global peace be achieved? Absolutely, but only when every organization, every leader, and every Government divests in war and invests in peace as a global priority and a moral imperative. It is that simple. Missy Stephens

When asked if I would be willing to say something about peace for this venerable publication, to mark the announcement of the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize, my immediate response was to indicate I was all for it. It, however, became apparent that something more was sought, and that it was sought from me, not based on my own view of my quick wit, but rather due to my (still very recent) appointment as a judge. Thus, while I remain of the view that peace generally is a good thing, there may be something more I can offer from my particular perspective.

In my role, I have nothing to do with international relations or indeed, politics more generally. And so it should be. The relative peace we enjoy in this country is possible as a result of public confidence in the administration of justice and central to this is the separation of powers doctrine. Our judiciary is independent from the other two arms of government, the legislature and the executive. The text and structure of the Commonwealth Constitution mandates this and for good reason: judicial independence ensures independence in the administration of justice as between the State and the individual in the criminal context and between parties, that often include the State, in the civil context. Any actual or perceived interference with the judicial independence erodes public confidence in the administration of justice.  Trust is difficult to build and easy to break. And trust is at the heart of what binds a society such as ours – trust in the rule of law and an independent judiciary is what encourages individuals to take on the state using the very laws made by the state rather than taking up less peaceful options.

Thus, our democracy is dependent on its institutions and the confidence of the people in those institutions.  The judicial system, and in particular its independence has a key part to play. As part of the judiciary my obligation, based on my oath of office is to “do right to all manner of people after the laws and usages of this State without fear or favour, affection or ill-will”. It is by my honouring this oath that respect for the rule of law, including the acceptance of equality before the law, is fostered and maintained. In turn, we expect to live in a society of relative peace. And if the strength of our institutions, including the judiciary, provide an example of a means by which peace can be brought to other parts of the world then, again, I’m all for it. Hament Dhanji

From a yogic perspective, preeminent spiritual leaders across many traditions and centuries have hypothesized that the most essential building blocks for a harmonious world are spiritual, rather than material, and are found by first looking within. Cultivating a foundation of peace in one’s life, through meditation, self-improvement and compassion, will bring the world closer to having harmony and understanding. Andrew Hampson