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Australia’s record of human rights protection in areas such as Indigenous people, asylum seekers and freedom of speech are perennial topics of debate. The focus of these discussions is now shifting to whether Australia can take steps to establish a stronger legal framework for protecting human rights.
Against this backdrop, many argue the time has come for Australia to adopt a national charter of rights. Australia is the only democratic nation in the world without such a national law.
The idea has been gaining traction, particularly at the state and territory level. The Queensland government recently announced it would enact a human rights act, based on the ACT and Victorian models, which have been in force for 13 and 11 years respectively. There are also pushes for NSW and Tasmania to adopt such legislation.
After years of lobbying, Queenslanders will soon be protected under a Human Rights Act, to replace a patchwork of legislation under a new framework to ensure freedom of speech, safety, privacy and equality.
The Human Rights Act was introduced in State Parliament today and is expected to be passed early next year.
Michael Cope from the Queensland Council for Civil Liberties said Australian states were some of the last in the Western world to be covered by such an act.
December 10th 2018 is Human Rights Day and the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), a milestone document, which underpins all international human rights law and inspires us to continue to work to ensure all people can live in freedom, equality and dignity.
How can it be then that in 2018 Australia is the only Western democracy bereft of a national Human Rights Act to legally protect the basic rights and freedoms of all Australians?
Every Australian deserves to be treated fairly and equally. After all, this protection is something which is enjoyed by the citizens of every other comparable democratic nation. These nations have not descended into chaos as a result of entrenching protection for basic human rights in law.
10 November 2016
Queensland human rights advocates have had many reasons to celebrate this year. The QLD Government has made progress on youth justice, LGBTI rights, reproductive rights and more. Most recently the QLD Government announced plans to introduce a Human Rights Act.
Essentially, a Human Rights Act means that the government need to take human rights into account when making all major decisions that could have an impact on human rights.
THE Brennan report should come as no surprise. It has been apparent for many years that there are major problems with human rights protection in Australia. The report catalogues this from the ground up. It is a historic initiative, built on the stories of thousands of Australians from across the nation.
The report should be welcomed for this, as well as for recommending that Australia enact a human rights act.
While human rights problems come to light periodically in the media, the report shows that many Australians live with their rights being breached daily. This includes people in aged care, Aboriginal Australians, people suffering mental illnesses and children with disabilities.
Despite being often avoidable, these problems continue to cause grave distress and harm to those involved. Remedial action is often absent, and may only occur if the story reaches the media and so comes with the possibility of political embarrassment.