New Joint Committee established to strengthen parliamentary human rights scrutiny

The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights, mandated by the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011, has recently been established. Under section 7 of the Act, the Committee has two primary functions:

  • to examine Bills, existing Acts and legislative instruments for compatibility with human rights and to report to both Houses of the Parliament on that issue; and
  • to inquire into any matter relating to human rights which is referred to it by the Attorney-General, and report to both Houses of the Parliament on that matter.

Pursuant to section 5 of the Act, the Committee is comprised of 5 Senators and 5 members of the House of Representatives. As at 26 March, the membership of the Committee was:

  • Senators: Senator Sean Edwards (Lib); Senator Gary Humphries (Lib); Senator Ursula Stephens (ALP); Senator Matt Thistlethwaite (ALP); Senator Penny Wright (Greens)
  • House of Representatives: Mr Harry Jenkins (Chair) (ALP); Ms Melissa Parke (ALP); Mr Dan Tehan (Lib); Mr Kelvin Thomson (ALP); Mr Ken Wyatt (Deputy Chair) (Lib)