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Stronger human rights laws will ensure more scrutiny of law-making (2011 Media Release)

Rights Rights and Freedoms

The Australian Human Rights Commission welcomes the passage last week of laws that will strengthen Australia’s commitment to human rights.

Commission President Catherine Branson QC, said passage of the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Bill 2010 and the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) (Consequential Provisions) Bill were major steps forward in the protection of human rights.

“Passage of this legislation will help to make sure that a dialogue about human rights accompanies every piece of legislation introduced into the federal Parliament,” Ms Branson said.

“This will provide a new transparency in our law-making and require the Government to think twice before passing laws that breach human rights.

“Importantly, it will also compel the Government to explain to the Parliament and the public when it thinks it is necessary to override human rights considerations when passing laws.”

She said the Commission supported the proposed Joint Parliamentary Committee as an important mechanism at the parliamentary level to ensure that the human rights impact of legislation is fully considered as part of the policy development process.

“We hope that over time the Committee’s operation will contribute to broad acceptance and understanding of human rights in Australia, and that its role will be seen as an accepted and expected level of scrutiny for all proposed legislation,” she said.

The new legislative regime also provides for the President of the Australian Human Rights Commission to become an ex-officio member of the Administrative Review Council.

“I look forward to working with the Administrative Review Council to ensure that human rights are fully considered in the process of administrative review,” Ms Branson said.

Up to the minute information on human rights is now available on twitter at twitter.com/AusHumanRights.

Media contact: Louise McDermott on (02) 9284 9851 or 0419 258 597

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