Leading Australian Human Rights Lawyers commend Queensland ALP on Rights Leadership

September 1, 2015

Australian Lawyers for Human Rights (ALHR) commends the Palaszczuk government for taking strong leadership on repairing Queensland’s broken record of human rights protection. Over the weekend, the ALP State conference moved to adopt a motion for the Queensland Government to conduct a Parliamentary Inquiry into a Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities during this term. The motion, moved by Peter Russo MP, was adopted without opposition.

ALHR Spokesperson Benedict Coyne today stated: “This is a reform that all Queenslanders should strongly and warmly embrace. It is a great opportunity for the current Queensland government to innovate, create and lead the State from the dark days of repeating problematic patterns of the past, toward a brighter future which will leave a long-lasting legacy that respects, protects and fulfils the government’s human rights obligations to Queenslanders.

Mr Coyne clarified: “Although most Australians think that our basic human rights are legally protected, unfortunately this is not the case. The most basic of human rights agreed upon by the international community in the adoption of the Universal Declaration in 1948 and reaffirmed by over 170 nation-states at the Vienna World Conference of Human Rights are still not legally protected in Australia. Furthermore, Queensland is the only state in Australia with a one-house Parliament which means there is a higher risk of rights breaches by the Government and therefore more work to do in terms of rights protection. However, it is not difficult for that positive change to occur. But it does depend on all Queenslanders to stand up and be counted and to become part of this powerful and positive movement.

“A Human Rights Act introduced in Queensland will have many important and positive impacts on the lives of everyday Queenslanders, as had been seen by the experiences in Victoria and the ACT. In both cases, the evidence is clear; a Human Rights Act improves how government operates, it improves efficiency in bureaucratic decision-making, it injects humanity into the governance process and it will provide the people of Queensland with recourse when their rights are violated.

“The Palaszczuk government has taken the first positive step for a Parliamentary inquiry and it is up to the people of Queensland to demand the ultimate positive change. Essentially, this is an exercise of giving power back to the people of Queensland and ensuring that their rights are protected from unreasonable, unfair and unwarranted incursions by the Executive. This is about good governance and the people of Queensland deserve nothing less.

Media Contact: Benedict Coyne, QLD Convenor & Chair, Human Rights Act subcommittee

M: 0434 915 713 E: hra@alhr.org.au