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Community legal centres welcome new law to protect and promote Queenslanders’ human rights

Posted October 31, 2018

The Human Rights Act introduced to Queensland’s Parliament today goes further than any of its interstate predecessors, and is a win for all Queenslanders. 

Community Legal Centres Queensland Director James Farrell said while Queensland Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Yvette D’Ath introduced the Human Rights Bill to Parliament today, she announced her intention to introduce it at the Community Legal Centres Leadership Forum on Monday.

 “The Attorney-General’s announcement at our forum was warmly welcomed by our sector’s representatives,” said Mr Farrell.

“Community legal centres have been advocating for a Human Rights Act in Queensland for some time now, and we congratulate the Attorney-General and the Palaszczuk Government on this sensible and positive reform.”

Mr Farrell said the Queensland Bill was heavily modelled on the Victorian Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities, with a few important differences.

“This law will go further with additional rights for Queenslanders including the right to education, right to healthcare, and the acknowledgement of cultural rights of First Peoples.

“It’s also positive to see the Government ensuring complaints can be made to the Human Rights Commission for mediation. 

“It’s important there’s a meaningful process to ensure people’s rights are protected, and the Queensland Human Rights Commission’s role will be key to help Queenslanders realise their human rights.”

Mr Farrell said for everyday people this means they can expect Government to act consistently with human rights, and to make decisions considering human rights. 

“Practically, being required to consider people’s human rights will sharpen Government’s focus, particularly when taking actions that impact people’s lives in areas like whether students get appropriate supports at school, people with disability can access government services, or families are threatened with eviction from public housing.”

“Queensland’s new human rights law will make a positive and meaningful change, but it’s no silver bullet,” said Mr Farrell. “Building a culture of human rights will take time, and this is an important milestone. Community legal centres welcome this law as an important step forward, and a key mechanism to protect and promote Queenslanders’ human rights.”