In October 2016, Queensland Premier Anastasia Palaszczuk announced at state conference her cabinet’s commitment to introduce a Human Rights Act in Queensland. If passed, Queensland will become the third Australian jurisdiction to protect and promote human rights in law. The announcement comes of the back of a community campaign for human rights protection in Queensland.
The Premier indicated that the Queensland law would be based on Victoria’s Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006 (Vic). The announcement is significant because it indicates the government’s intention to pass robust human rights protection, above and beyond that recommended by a parliamentary committee.
In June Queensland’s Legal Affairs and Community Safety Committee released a report recommending that Queensland introduce a Human Rights Act. However, the Committee’s proposal for how that Act would operate fell well short of adequate human rights protection. It recommended a model that would merely involve parliament considering human rights when introducing a new bill. In contrast to human rights legislation in Victoria and the ACT, it did not recommend obligations on government and or the ability for people to seek redress if their rights are violated.
The Human Rights Law Centre will continue to work with Queensland-based organisations to support the introduction of robust human rights protection in Queensland.