Federal Cabinet on December 1, 2008 agreed to a national consultation process on what a human rights Bill should contain. The Bill, likely to be based on those in Victoria, Queensland and Britain, would outline a set of rights and require Parliament to ensure legislation complies with the rights.
The Public Interest Law Clearing House (PILCH) has welcomed the Federal Government’s launch of a national consultation on the protection and promotion of human rights and responsibilities, calling the process profoundly democratic and long past due.
The National Human Rights Consultation provides the opportunity for the Australian public to share its views on human rights. The consultation is run by an independent committee supported by a secretariat in the Attorney-General’s Department.
People are encouraged to share their opinions online at www.humanrightsconsultation.gov.au, by post or via community roundtable discussion groups. A community discussion has already taken place in Queanbeyan, New South Wales, on February 11, which included debate around the following key issues: children’s rights, direct incorporation of international conventions into Australian laws, streamlined federal anti-discrimination laws, Charter of Rights, human rights education, harmonisation of state and territory laws, preventative detention and the erosion of the innocent until proven guilty principle.