The Australian Human Rights Commission Act (AHRC Act) brings into Australian law a number of rights contained in international human rights law.
You can make a complaint under the AHRC Act if you believe your human rights have been breached.
Under the AHRC Act human rights are defined in a very specific way. For an action to constitute a breach of a person's human rights:
- the organisation against which you are complaining must be the Commonwealth or one of its agencies
- the action you are complaining about must breach or infringe a right recognised in the international human rights instruments scheduled to or declared under the AHRC Act.
The following international instruments are scheduled to or declared under the AHRC Act:
- International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
- Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
- Convention on the Rights of the Child
- Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief.
- Declaration on the Rights of Mentally Retarded Persons and
- Declaration on the Rights of Disabled Persons.
Complaints lodged under the AHRC Act can be investigated and, if appropriate, resolved through conciliation.
If conciliation is unsuccessful or inappropriate – and if the Australian Human Rights Commission finds that your human rights have been breached – then we can prepare a report of the complaint, including recommendations for action, for the Attorney General. The report must be tabled in Parliament.
It is important to note that discrimination under the AHRC Act is not unlawful – instead, it is regarded as unfair conduct. Unlike the other anti-discrimination laws that the Commission has responsibilities under, you can not apply to have your complaint heard in court if conciliation is unsuccessful.
Find out more:
- Information for complainants under the AHRC Act
- Information for respondents under the AHRC Act
- AHRC Act reports tabled in federal Parliament
- Suppression Orders under AHRC Act
Complaints Process Flowchart - Brief overview of the Complaint Process
For more information, contact the Complaints Infoline on 1300 656 419 (local call) or 02 9284 9888. You can also send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.