Positive reforms of Victoria’s Human Rights Charter announced but more needed

The Victorian Government today announced support in full or in part for 45 of the 52 recommendations made through the independent Human Rights Charter Review. But the Government deferred a decision on key recommendations that would make it easier to enforce rights.

The Human Rights Law Centre’s Executive Director, Hugh de Kretser welcomed the commitment to better protect Victorians human rights but urged action on the deferred reforms.

“The Government’s response is a positive step towards strengthening the Charter and building a human rights culture in Victoria. But the government needs to act on key recommendations which will make it easier for Victorians to enforce their human rights. The review recognised that providing for rights without remedies sends mixed messages about the importance of human rights. To be effective rights must be able to be enforced,” said Mr de Kretser.

“Currently, the Charter can only be enforced in a complicated way, typically through legal action in the Supreme Court. The review recommended sensible changes to make it simpler and easier to protect human rights by allowing people to take action in the more accessible and low-cost jurisdiction of the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal. We urge the government to accept this recommendation and the recommendation to give the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission the power to help resolve human rights disputes.”

“From family violence to LGBTI rights, the Victorian Government has a strong record on human rights. Acting on these important remaining Charter recommendations will strengthen that record.”

The review came after eight years of operation of the Human Rights Charter in Victoria. The HRLC’s submission made during the review process can be found here.

For all media queries, please contact:

Hugh de Kretser, Executive Director, Human Rights Law Centre: 0403 965 340