Federal Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus KC’s decision to review the Federal Human Rights framework, with a focus on whether the Government should implement a Charter of Human Rights, is welcome, says the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA).
“We commend the Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus for delivering on Labor’s commitment to review the framework, and we look forward to participating in this discussion,” said Ms Genevieve Henderson, National President, Australian Lawyers Alliance.
“We strongly support the development of a federal legislative human rights charter. Such a charter would not only deliver protection and freedoms, but ensure that governments and leaders are accountable to the Australian people.”
Australia is the only western democracy without a national human rights act, bill of rights or charter of rights.
“We need to catch up with accepted and developing international standards when it comes to protecting the human rights of our citizens,” said Ms Henderson. “Human rights laws are positive and effective mechanisms for safeguarding the dignity and well-being of everyone in a healthy democracy.
“All Australians can benefit from having a national human rights charter in place as it plays a key role in a culture of respect, dignity and freedom.
“A federal charter of rights would also lead to significant, positive, life-changing outcomes for some of the most disadvantaged people in our community, with human rights considerations infused in policy and legislative development processes. This will encourage improved quality of services for people living with disabilities, older people, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, veterans and other vulnerable persons.
“A public conversation is overdue. We welcome the Government’s decision to seek submissions and input into this issue.”