“Australia Closer to Establishing National Human Rights Act, Says Parliamentary Report”

Australia, Human Rights

Australia is on the brink of establishing the legal protections needed for its citizens, as a new parliamentary report recommends a National Human Rights Act as part of a revitalized Human Rights Framework. The report, tabled in Federal Parliament today, includes an example of legislation for a National Human Rights Act, building on decades of work and reinforcing recommendations from the Australian Human Rights Commission’s landmark “Free + Equal” report.

The Commission’s President, Emeritus Professor Rosalind Croucher AM, welcomed the Committee’s report and urged the government to act on its recommendations. “Human rights are not adequately protected at the national level. Whenever laws are made, their impact on people’s rights and wellbeing should be front of mind,” she said.

The report, published by the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights, concludes the Committee’s Inquiry into Australia’s human rights framework. Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus initiated the Inquiry in March 2023, in response to a Position Paper by the Commission, which outlined a model for a National Human Rights Act.

The Commission will host a major national conference next week examining Australia’s human rights framework, where key figures from the Australian and international legal and human rights community will back calls for the federal government to legislate a National Human Rights Act.

Civil society has strongly supported calls for a National Human Rights Act, and many groups – including the Human Rights Law Centre, Amnesty International, Civil Liberties Australia and the Australian Council of Social Services – made submissions to the Inquiry.