CLArion June 2024: Time for a Human Rights Act !

A federal parliament committee has urged the Albanese government to enact a Human Rights Act for Australia. The Joint Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights, chaired by Labor MHR Josh Burns, made 17 wide-raning and positive recommendations in a report released on 30 May. Australia needs to protect human rights in law like other liberal democracies do, mount a major national education campaign, and school all public servants to fully consider human rights. Parliament itself needs to scrutinise human rights much more closely, the committee also says.

Other items in the June issue include:

  • Campaign breakthrough after four years and 14-month inquiry
  • Where are HR Acts up to in the states and territories?
  • Coroner says proposed new law not needed
  • Weasel word ’significant’ gets new meaning
  • There is no ‘right to vote’ in America
  • Do children have a right to hug their parents?

Click for a one-column CLArion

Click for a two-column CLArion

Tassie to get Human Rights Act?

For the second time, the Tasmanian Law Reform Institute is urging its parliament to pass a Human Rights Act to benefit the citizens of the state. Following a strong recommendation in 2007, the TLRI has released its 2024 Update, calling for MPs to pass a Human Rights Act, for all laws passed by parliament to be compatible with it, and for a ’no rights without remedy’, direct way for Tasmanians to access justice if their rights are breached by bureaucrats.

CLArion May 2024: Covid inquiry demands human rights base

Four different public inquiries have been investigating problems around how Australia has handled the COVID-19 pandemic. One inquiry only recommends basing further detailed probes into lessons for the future on the basis of the human rights of Australians. The C-19 issue sits alongside key questions generally about whether police, prosecutors and the courts are letting Australia down. It is time for a national inquiry into justice: there has never been one.

Why federal human rights wouldn’t ‘entrench racism’

Two Quadrant authors are alarmist in claiming that a national human rights Act would ‘entrench racism’ in Australia, leading civil liberties campaigner Dr Kristine Klugman says. It may be threat to the unwarranted privileges of the rich and ‘old white men’, but such an Act would provide a much fairer society with a ‘fair go’ for all, equally.

CLArion April 2024: HR Act report postponed

The tabling date for a major report into Australia’s human rights framework has been postponed by two months, to 30 May 2024. The report, after 14 months’ analysis by the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights, is expected to detail the full benefits that could accrue by modernising and improving the framework. In particular it is likely to discuss how to avoid more illegal Robodebt claims, ancient fines resurrected by the ATO and similar bureaucratic fiascos. Better empowering citizens in the long run could enhance trust in parliament, politicians, government and Australian democracy itself. Also, in contrasting approaches reported this month, the ATO is planning to take over government digital communications even as another parliamentary committee tries to rein in government IT projects to prevent waste.

CLArion March 2024: Forensics & genetics under closer scrutiny

By the end of the month, Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus should have in his hands the report of the special parliament committee which has inquired into Australia’s human rights framework for the past year. As that happens, rights related to forensic quality and how genetic testing can be used against us are coming to the fore. The Defence Department is trying for the second time in a decade to restrict and control the communication rights of research scientists. And, in a fascinating twist, the High Court will soon be asked to consider whether missing parts turn a body into something else, legally.