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Tassie to get Human Rights Act?

Tassie to get Human Rights Act?

By Bill Rowlings, CEO of CLA

Tasmania should have a Human Rights Act, its pre-eminent legal research body says.

The Tasmanian Law Reform Institute on 30 April 2024 released a report making 21 recommendations and urging the state to become the fourth jurisdiction in Australia to adopt human rights legislation.

The ACT since 2004, Victoria since 2006 and Queensland since 2020 already have human rights laws, with a total 42 years of experience in operating them.

The TLRI’s report – A Charter of Human Rights for Tasmania? Update – reviewed and updated its 2007 report on human rights in Tasmania, upholding its earlier key recommendations, which included the need for a HRA.

Dr Rebecca Bradfield

“It remains the view of the TLRI that there is a need for a Human Rights Act for Tasmania in seeking to protect human rights, develop a human rights culture across government and to frame parliamentary debate,” the latest report’s co-author, Dr Rebecca Bradfield (photo), said.

The 2024 report’s recommendations include:

  • enacting a Tasmanian Charter of Human Rights or a Human Rights Act;
  • covering public functions including emergency, utility, public housing, education, health, disability and transport services, along with the operation of correctional and detention facilities;
  • including in Bills going before parliament distinct human rights statements, prepared by a new Human Rights Unit, which specify whether the proposed laws are human rights compatible, or not;
  • creating a dedicated Parliamentary Human Rights Scrutiny Committee to examine all Bills for compatibility with human rights;
  • establishing an independent Tasmanian Human Rights Commissioner and office; and
  • enabling citizens to directly appeal for redress if they claim to be victims where a public authority has breached human rights laws.

The TLRI confirmed the right to religious freedom should be included. It identified a need to consider the treatment of religious bodies within a human rights and anti-discrimination framework in more detail and recommended this be considered in a further review.

Civil Liberties Australia has been working for 15 years with a wide range of groups in Tasmania to achieve a Human Rights Act for the state.

“We are delighted with the recommendation from the TLRI,” CLA President Dr Kristine Klugman said. “A lot of people, including CLA, have worked hard for this outcome.

“We call on the newly-elected parliament to approach the issue in cross-parties cooperation so that one of their first major Acts is to give more power to the people of the state.

“The updated 2024 recommendation is a logical next step for Tasmania, as South Australia, the NT and NSW are also considering whether to bring in a HR Act. And recommendations in relation to a federal HRA framework are due for release in late-May,” Dr Klugman said.


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