The Queensland Government’s budget, which was handed down this week, features $2.3 million of funding over four years for the state’s Anti-Discrimination Commission to help it administer the Human Rights Act that the Government will soon be introducing.
Lee Carnie, a Lawyer at the Human Rights Law Centre, said it was great to see the Queensland Government moving to protect people’s civil and political rights in the law.
"A Human Rights Act will better protect Queenslanders’ human rights in law. It will require the government to think about people’s rights when making laws and policies and delivering services like housing, aged care and disability services. It will give people a way to hold the government to account if it crosses the line and breaches rights. It will make Queensland a better and fairer state," Lee Carnie said.
The Palaszczuk Government committed in 2016 to introduce a Human Rights Act and this morning Deputy Premier Jackie Trad confirmed the legislation will be unveiled in the coming months.
It is understood the legislation will be modelled on Victoria’s Charter of Human Rights. Lee Carnie said Queensland should learn from the Victorian experience and ensure that people have a simple and accessible mechanism to enforce their rights.
"To be effective, it’s vital that a Queensland Human Rights Act enables people to take action when their rights are being violated. It’s good to have your human rights articulated, but what people actually need is an ability to enforce them," said Lee Carnie.
Queensland will become the third Australian jurisdiction to protect human rights in law - the Australian Capital Territory adopted its Human Rights Act in 2004 and Victoria adopted its Charter of Human Rights in 2006.
Lee Carnie said it was time to also properly protect human rights at a national level.
"Given the importance of 'the fair go' in our culture, it’s really surprising that Australia is the only western democracy that doesn’t have a charter or bill of rights. An Australian Charter of Human Rights will better protect our fundamental values in our laws. It will help to ensure that everyone gets a fair go," said Lee Carnie.
For interviews or further information please call:
Tom Clarke, Director of Campaigns, Human Rights Law Centre, 0422 545 763