The Human Rights Law Centre told a Parliamentary Committee that the federal government’s proposed new powers to undertake facial recognition identification and surveillance are dangerously overbroad, and could dramatically alter the freedom of ordinary people going about their daily lives. New laws proposed by the Department of Home Affairs would authorise the creation of a “dragnet database”, compiling images of innocent Australians – including children – from their drivers’ licences, identification cards and passport photos.
This submission responds to the Queensland Law Reform Commission's review of termination of pregnancy laws. Queensland has a unique opportunity to demonstrate its commitment to women's health and equality by comprehensively reforming the state's outdated abortion laws, which are hopelessly out of step with community standards and clinical practice. Queensland should reform its abortions laws to ensure safe and equitable access to abortion services for women for years to come and to respect women as competent decision-makers over their bodies and lives.
The Human Rights Law Centre has welcomed to the government’s proposed secrecy laws put forward by the Attorney-General’s Department, but warned that significant work still needs to be done to bring the bill into line with principles of freedom of expression and open government. Following an earlier written submission and evidence to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security, the HRLC has responded to these amendments in a supplementary submission to the Committee’s inquiry into the National Security Legislation Amendment (Espionage and Foreign Interference) Bill 2017.
Over the past 18 months, the South Australian Government has passed a range of legislative reforms and introduced government policies to ensure fairness and equality for LGBTIQ South Australians. South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill delivered a historic and heartfelt apology to LGBTIQ people for the discrimination that was written into South Australian laws. These reforms received cross-party support and were warmly welcomed by South Australians. No other state or territory has passed the sheer number and range of laws within such a short period of time. However, more remains to be done to tackle the systemic discrimination and disadvantage experienced by LGBTIQ people.
Despite recent reforms to the Marriage Act 1961 (Cth) (Marriage Act), lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people continue to face significant discrimination and disadvantage in Australia. Discrimination entrenched in laws and policies or experienced at work, school or home, contributes to alarmingly high rates of suicide, self-harm and depression among LGBTI populations. Any proposals considered to advance religious freedom must not come at the expense of the health, well-being and safety of LGBTI people.
The HRLC is concerned that the Bill runs the risk of regulating participation in public debate on political matters at large, without sufficient connection to elections. Rather than incur the costs or run the compliance risks built into the proposed regime, civil society organisations are likely to choose to refrain from the public expression of their views to avoid the requirement to register and all that flows from it. The pressure to refrain from engaging in activities that create compliance risks will be especially strong on smaller organisations. This would harm public debate in Australia by discouraging voices that pose no risk of undue or improper influence on Australia’s system of elections.
Following the submission, the HRLC addressed concerns raised by the Bill, download letter here.
This submission responds to the Modernisation of the Anti-Discrimination Act Discussion Paper (Discussion Paper)1 released by the Department of the Attorney-General and Justice in September 2017 regarding the modernisation of the Anti-Discrimination Act (the Act).Read More
The Australian government has introduced legislation to federal Parliament overhauling Commonwealth secrecy offences. The Human Rights Law Centre has told a parliamentary committee about the serious concerns raised by the new criminal offences for handling government information, concluding that the proposed regime has no place in a healthy democracy, in which open government and the freedom to scrutinise government must be maintained.