Historic human rights legislation comes into force today (1 January 2020), further enhancing the protections for Queenslanders in their dealings with public entities.
Acting Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Dr Anthony Lynham said the commencement of Queensland’s Human Rights Act 2019 meant public entities had a specific obligation to act and make decisions compatible with human rights.
“From today, Queenslanders will no longer have to rely on a patchwork of protections when they believe their freedom, equality or dignity is being challenged by a public entity,” he said.
“Instead they will have access to a momentous piece of legislation – one that protects their human rights when interacting with public entities.
“This includes the State Government, local government, public service employees and other organisations performing public work.
“It’s a significant step towards a human rights-based approach to government planning, policy and service delivery.”
The Human Rights Act protects 23 human rights:
- recognition and equality before the law;
- right to life;
- protection from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment;
- freedom from forced work;
- freedom of movement;
- freedom of thought, conscience, religion and belief;
- freedom of expression;
- peaceful assembly and freedom of association;
- taking part in public life;
- property rights;
- privacy and reputation;
- protection of families and children;
- cultural rights—generally;
- cultural rights—Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders;
- right to liberty and security of person;
- humane treatment when deprived of liberty;
- fair hearing;
- rights in criminal proceedings;
- children in the criminal process;
- right not to be tried or punished more than once;
- retrospective criminal laws;
- right to education; and
- right to health services.
Dr Lynham said the newly established Queensland Human Rights Commission, which replaces the Anti-Discrimination Commission, would administer the new Human Rights Act.
“The Queensland Human Rights Commission will also have the power to receive and conciliate human rights complaints,” he said.