Boosting human rights is a progressive move, CLA says

The move by the Stanhope Government in the Australian Capital Territory to further strengthen Australia’s first human rights legislation is a progressive and positive step, CLA says. The right to take legal action in the Supreme Court as a remedy to an alleged human rights abuse, one of the amendments due for introduction in 2008, is a particularly welcome initiative.

Media Release

7 Dec 07

Civil Liberties Australia today welcomed the proposed improvements to ACT Human Rights laws

“These new clauses are a result of three years of using the first human rights act in Australia,” CEO of CLA, Bill Rowlings said.

“The proposed clauses follow extensive community consultation. They will make for better human rights law in the ACT.

“We particularly welcome the right for people to take legal action if someone’s rights have been trampled on…the new law will basically give people 12 months to seek their day in court.

“We’re also delighted that the private sector can choose to ‘opt in’ to the human rights in the ACT,” he said.

CLA media spokesperson and lawyer, Max Jeganathan, said the revised provisions of the laws were an important development in Australian terms.

“The ACT has led the way with its Human Rights Act. Victoria has followed, and legislated its own Charter of Rights and Responsibilities, and now Tasmania and WA look likely to bring in their own acts,” he said.

"It’s important for Australia that a consciousness of and respect for human rights reaches beyond the legislature and the judiciary.

“Today’s Bill is an important step in clearly setting down the social, political and legislative expectation that all public authorities respect human rights and, in particular, those set down in the ACT Human Rights Act.

“Once passed, this bill will again confirm the ACT as a national example and leader in the area of human rights awareness and legislation,” Mr Jeganathan said.

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