The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights (HR committee) is arguing that ALL ‘money/financial’ Bills should/must go before Parliament with an assessment of their potential impact on human rights attached…which does not currently happen.
Were it to happen, the abuse or ignoring – or boosting – of human rights by the federal government would become apparent time after time throughout the year, every year. Currently, human rights are a sleeper issue in Australian politics.
For the past eight years, the HR committee has consistently argued that allocating funds via money (“appropriations”) bills engages human rights: the bills permit actions which may promote, or limit, a range of human rights.
Therefore, statements of compatibility for appropriations bills should contain an assessment of human rights compatibility, the cross-party HR committee argues.
“Without an assessment of human rights compatibility of appropriations bills, it is difficult to assess whether Australia is promoting human rights and realising its human rights obligations,” the PJCHR’s Report 7 of 16 June 2021 said.
Doing what the HR Cttee wants would considerably expand the reach of human rights into the day-to-day business of Parliament. For example, all Budget measures would have to be legislated with human rights implications attached.
If that were the case, there would be strong argument that every Budget announcement (media releases and leaks as well) would need to be accompanied formally by a HR consideration, Civil Liberties Australia says.
The same “rules” should apply to state and territory parliaments, all government agencies, and even local government, under the PJCHR’s reasoning.
“Such a change would create a revolution in the world of human rights in Australia,” CLA’s President Bill Rowlings said.
ENDS Released 17 June 2021
CLA Civil Liberties Australia A04043
Box 3080 Weston Creek ACT 2611 Australia