Submission: The cashless debit card is a discriminatory and coercive policy

The cashless debit card is a discriminatory and coercive policy that threatens to trap people in poverty. It’s a policy reminiscent of the days of rations and missions. A good government would support self-determination, rather than denying Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people the freedom to control their own lives. The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services and Human Rights Law Centre have opposed the expansion of the cashless debit card, noting that:

  • it discriminates against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people;

  • it unjustifiably limit rights to social security, private and family life, equality and non-discrimination; and

  • there is a lack of evidence to support the interference with human rights and the expenditure of large sums to administer the CDC.

Download the Submission to the Inquiry into the Social Security (Administration) Amendment (Income Management and Cashless Welfare) Bill 2019.

Submission: Social security is about making sure every person in Australia has an income that allows them to live with dignity

Social security is about sharing our national prosperity fairly to make sure that no individual or family is trapped in grinding poverty. It is a fundamental human right.

Successive governments have, however, let some of the most powerless members of our community down. They have done this by implementing policies that have allowed the wealthy to get richer, while refusing to increase social security payments to a level that would allow people going through hard times to take back control of their lives. Further, Governments have created increasingly rigid and punitive rules that are causing severe financial and emotional stress for families. Nowhere is this starker than in remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

The Social Security Commission Bill 2018 (the Bill) would establish a Commission to provide independent, evidence-based advice to Government about the minimum levels of social security payments required to ensure that every person in Australia has an income that allows them to live with dignity.

The Human Rights Law Centre’s submission supports the Bill, calls for immediate action to abolish the remote Community Development Program and raise the rate of inadequate social security payments. It also endorses the recommendations of Aboriginal Peak Organisations NT, which focus on steps required to address stark economic injustices in remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Download the submission to the Review into the Social Security Commission Bill 2018 (Cth).

Submission: Putting single mothers last: the economic injustice of ParentsNext

Each of us expects to be supported and treated fairly and compassionately by governments in times of need, and to have our contribution to Australia’s economic prosperity, including through unpaid care work, valued. The Federal Government’s ParentsNext program, which is underpinned by a punitive compliance framework and targets mothers with young children and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women in particular, undermines these basic expectations.

This is a joint submission made on behalf of the National Family Violence Prevention Legal Services (NFVPLS) Forum, SNAICC – National Voice for our Children (SNAICC) and the Human Rights Law Centre (HRLC) to the Senate Community Affairs References Committee.

Download the joint HRLC, SNAICC and NFVPLS Forum submission to the Senate Community Affairs References Committee here. 

Submission: Bill would see Australians stripped of their citizenship at the broad discretion of the Minister

The Federal Parliament must not pass a Bill that would see Australians stripped of their citizenship at the broad discretion of the Minister, and for relatively minor crimes.

The Australian Citizenship Amendment (Strengthening the Citizenship Loss Provisions) Bill 2018 creates a scheme that would allow arbitrary removal of citizenship, without the necessary safeguards to prevent the serious human rights violations that could flow from that removal.

Download the Submission to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security on the Australian Citizenship Amendment (Strengthening the Citizenship Loss Provisions) Bill 2018 here.

Submission: Ending racially discriminatory laws that lead to the over-imprisonment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner at the Australian Human Rights Commission invited the Human Rights Law Centre to make a submission on how to end racially discriminatory laws that lead to the over-imprisonment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and girls.

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Submission: Freedom from discrimination in religious schools

Strong discrimination laws promote equality and foster happy, healthy and safe societies. Permanent legislative exemptions which allow faith-based educational institutions to discriminate in education and employment effectively override the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people, and their families, to be free from discrimination. These exemptions are inherently unfair, discriminatory and out of step with modern community expectations.

Download the HRLC submission here

Submission: Self-determination for trans and gender diverse Territorians

The Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration and other Legislation Amendment Bill 2018 (NT) would mean married transgender people wouldn’t need to divorce their spouse in order to change the gender on their birth certificate. The Human Rights Law Centre has welcomed key parts of the bill, but called for further amendments in its submission to provide self-determination for trans and gender diverse Territorians.

Download the HRLC submission here