Submission: Call for clear guidelines for Amicus Curiae

In November 2006, the Human Rights Law Resource Centre and Blake Dawson Waldron made a joint submission to the Victorian Law Reform Commission Civil Justice Review, entitled 'Why are Non-Parties Non-Starters?  A Call for Clearer Procedures and Guidelines for Amicus Curiae Applications in Victoria'. The submission sets out:

  1. the distinction between amici curiae, interveners and other non-parties;
  2. the benefits of and potential disadvantages associated with amici curiae participating in proceedings;
  3. the current law in Australia and position in Victoria with respect to amicus curiae applications;
  4. problems with the current position in Victoria with respect to amicus curiae applications; and
  5. recommendations for reform.

The submission focuses on the rules and procedures for amicus curiae applications brought by public interest organisations (an area in which the HRLRC and BDW have had recent experience).  However, many of the recommendations contained in the submission are also relevant to interveners.

A Charter of Rights for Tasmania

On 29 November 2006, the HRLRC, with the substantial pro bono assistance of Allens Arthur Robinson, made a submission to the Tasmanian Law Reform Institute inquiry into the need for a Charter of Rights in Tasmania. On 12 October 2007, the Tasmanian Law Reform Institute published its Report on A Charter of Rights for Tasmania.

The Report, which was commissioned by the Tasmanian Government, recommends that a legislative Charter of Human Rights be enacted in Tasmania. Similarly to the Victorian Charter, it is recommended that this instrument promote a ‘human rights dialogue across the three branches of government while ultimately maintaining parliamentary sovereignty’.  Unlike the Victorian Charter and ACT Human Rights Act, however, the Institute recommends that a Tasmanian Charter incorporate economic, social and cultural rights (as well as civil and political rights), confer a free standing cause of action, and entitle victims to such remedies as are ‘just and appropriate’, including damages. 

Download the HRLC submission here.

Indigenous Rights: Request for Country Visit from UN Special Rapporteur

On 30 November 2006, the Human Rights Law Resource Centre, on behalf of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders Legal Services Network, the Castan Centre for Human Rights, the Foundation for Aboriginal and Islander Research and Action, the Human Rights Law Resource Centre, the National Association of Community Legal Centres Human Rights Network, the North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency Ltd, Oxfam Australia, the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service Co-operative Limited and the Victorian Council of Social Service, wrote to the UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

The letter outlines our concerns about the violation of the human rights and fundamental freedoms of Indigenous Australians and to request that the Special Rapporteur investigate, and take action in relation to, these issues.  Specifically, the letter requested that the Special Rapporteur undertake a country visit to Australia.

Download the letter here.

 

Torture: Review of Australia's Mutual Assistance and Extradition Law and Practice

On 3 October 2006, the Centre made a submission regarding the relevance of international human rights to the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s review of Australia’s mutual assistance policy and practice.  ‘Mutual assistance’ is the formal process that countries use to request or render assistance in the investigation and prosecution of criminal offences.

On 30 March 2006, the Centre made a submission regarding the relevance of international human rights to the Commonwealth Attorney-General's review of Australia's extradition policy and practice.

Download the HRLC submission regarding the relevance of international human rights to the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s review of Australia’s mutual assistance policy and practice here.

Download the HRLC submission regarding the relevance of international human rights to the Commonwealth Attorney-General's review of Australia's extradition policy and practice here.

Equality: Discrimination against Same-Sex Couples

In June 2006, the HRLRC made a submission to the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission's inquiry into discrimination in access to financial and work-related benefits and entitlements for same-sex couples. The HRLRC submission considered a range of domestic legislation conferring such benefits and entitlements in the light of international human rights jurisprudence, and expressed concern that these and other laws risk placing Australia in breach of its international human rights obligations.  The submission focussed particularly on rights to non-discrimination under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights ('ICCPR'), the Convention on the Rights of the Child ('CRC'), the Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) Convention of the International Labor Organisation ('ILO 111'), and the International Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights ('ICESCR').

Download the HRLC submission here. 

Prisoners' Rights: Prisoners and the Right to Vote

Attached is a submission by the by the Human Rights Law Resource Centre Ltd ('HRLRC') to the Senate Finance and Public Administration Legislation Committee Inquiry into the Electoral and Referendum Amendment (Electoral Integrity and Other Measures) Bill 2005. The HRLRC aims to bring the influence of international human rights norms and principles to bear on domestic law and policy.

The submission examines and discusses the Electoral and Referendum Amendment (Electoral Integrity and Other Measures) Bill 2005.

Download the HRLC submission here.

Human Rights and Corporate Social Responsibility

This submission by the Human Rights Law Resource Centre Ltd to the Corporations and Markets Advisory Committee considers the issue of corporate social responsibility in a human rights framework. The submission contends that corporations have the potential and capacity to, on the one hand, contribute significantly to, and on the other hand, derogate significantly from, human rights in local, regional, national and even international communities and environments.  At its best, corporate social responsibility is corporate governance and conduct that contributes to the realisation of human rights.

Download the HRLC submission here.