The Greens Member for Newtown has today called for a human rights act in NSW as racism and divisive politics again enters another election campaign.
“It’s clear that the Liberals and Nationals have no regard for the protection of people’s human rights in this state, but with the latest racist comments by the NSW Labor Leader and the possibility of the likes of One Nation in the Upper House – we need to get our act together,” Jenny Leong, MP for Newtown said.
“Given the likely make-up of the new parliament and the complete lack of diversity that already exists in Macquarie Street coupled with the potential for One Nation and the right-wing conservatives potentially to have a significant impact on those that end up governing after Saturday – we need a mechanism to ensure that any laws passed do not further erode our rights and civil liberties.
“That’s why we need to get our act together – by protecting human rights in NSW law – through the introduction of a Human Rights Act.
“During my time at Amnesty International, I worked with organisations across the country pushing for a National Human Rights Act – something that had widespread support in the community as well as a solid report recommending its introduction.
“The Federal Labor government at the time failed to act on this recommendation – and still today at a national level we do not have adequate human rights protections. Victoria has had a state-based charter over successive governments now, and Queensland is also getting its Act together.
“If the actions of politicians, from all sides, have shown us anything, it is that people who are not in the majority need protection from those in power who put their self-interest in gaining or maintaining power ahead of respect for people’s human rights.
“Whether it be those who are in fear of racist attacks, of discrimination based on sex characteristics, sexuality, gender or gender identity, or those who are unable to engage in society due to failures to meet basic accessibility standards – it shouldn’t have to be up to the individual who is subject to the offensive situation to have to hold the perpetrator to account.
“NSW needs a Human Rights Act and the Greens are the only party in NSW committed to making that a reality.
“It’s high time NSW stepped up – and the Greens are committed to working with organisations, experts and members of the community who want to see rights protections realised in NSW – to make this a reality,” Leong said.