Media Release – Qld passes Human Rights Bill

Upwards reaching arms labelled with key tenants of human rights. Prosperity, equality, freedom, justice and hope.

Queensland Advocacy Incorporated

 

 MEDIA RELEASE

 

27 February 2019

For immediate release

 

Rights ON Queensland! High Score for Queensland Human Rights Protection

The Queensland Government made history today, passing legislation protecting the human rights of all Queenslanders.  The Human Rights Bill, passed in Parliament this afternoon, protects 23 fundamental human rights and establishes responsibilities by public entities making decisions that impact on the rights of all Queenslanders.

Leading disability advocacy organisation Queensland Advocacy Incorporated (QAI) applauds the Palaszczuk Government for this historic law reform.  QAI Director Michelle O’Flynn noted the important protections that this Bill includes for people with disability in Queensland.

‘We are particularly excited by the inclusion of the economic, social and cultural rights to education and health in the Bill,’ Ms O’Flynn said today.  ‘These are fundamental human rights that are not equitably enjoyed by people with disability and mental illness in Queensland.  People with disabilities are also particularly vulnerable to uman rights violations such as discrimination and cruel and degrading treatment, so this new legislation offers much needed protection,’ Ms O’Flynn said.

The Act will commence operation in two phases.  On 1 July 2019, the Anti-Discrimination Commission will be re-branded as the Queensland Human Rights Commission and from 1 January 2020, the complaints mechanism will commence, which will allow people who consider that their human rights have been violated by a public entity to lodge a complaint directly with the Commission.

Emma Phillips, Senior Lawyer – Law Reform and Systems Advocacy with QAI who has worked on the campaign for a Human Rights Act for the past four years, noted that the inclusion of this complaints mechanism will make the legislation workable and practical and provide ordinary people with an accessible way to have human rights issues heard and responded to. ‘With the inclusion of this complaints mechanism, along with the economic, social and cultural rights to education and health, Queensland is leading the way in human rights protection in Australia.’

In enacting human rights legislation, Queensland joins the Australian Capital Territory and Victoria, which have had human rights act or charters since 2004 and 2006 respectively.  QAI hopes that the passage of this legislation will prompt the remaining states and territories without human rights protections and the federal government to swiftly follow suit.

‘We call upon the federal government to respond to the increasing calls to enact a national Human Rights Act, which translates the commitments Australia has made at an international level, by signing and ratifying human rights treaties, into protection that is meaningful for all Australians,’ Ms O’Flynn said.

Queensland Advocacy Incorporated (QAI) is an independent, community-based systems and individual advocacy organisation and a community legal service for people with disability.  Our mission is to promote, protect and defend, through systems and individual advocacy, the fundamental needs and rights and lives of the most vulnerable people with disability in Queensland.

For more information, please visit the campaign website: humanrights4qld.com.au.

Media contact: Emma Phillips: (07) 3844 4200

Information provided in this release is not intended to constitute legal advice and should not be construed as such. You should obtain your own legal advice before applying any information provided in this release to specific issues or situations.