Report from the National Consultation on Human Rights
The report from the National Consultation on Human Rights has been released to the public for discussion (visit www.ag.gov.au for a downloadable copy). The report recommends a federal Human Rights Act for Australia. The federal government is considering its response over the next several months.
Highlights of the report:
- one of, if not the, largest-ever public consultation of its kind, revealing a deep desire to know more about human rights
- public support to establish human rights better in Australia – over 87% of public submissions support an Act, while 56% of those in a representative national phone poll supported one (30% were neutral)
- the Human Rights Act should follow a ‘dialogue model’ giving the High Court power only to declare laws incompatible and that it include rights drawn from the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights but not those in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Only federal public authorities would be accountable to a Human Rights Act. The Federal Government should integrate rights into public policy, legislation, decision-making, service delivery and institute a large-scale public education program.
For a summary of how a Federal Human Rights Act would work in practice, see http://www.isaiahone.org/summary-of-hra/