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About Rights and Freedoms

Rights Rights and Freedoms
Friday 14 December, 2012

Rights and freedoms: right by right | Scrutiny of human rights by the Parliament | Scrutiny by the courts | Advocacy for improved legislative protection of human rights | Promotion of improved hum​an rights policy and practice | International human rights scrutiny mechanisms | More information | Comments

Under the Australian Human Rights Commission Act and Australia's Federal discrimination laws, the Commission has important functions in promoting and protecting the human rights which Australian governments have promised to respect, protect and ensure.

Led by the Human Rights Commissioner, Mr Edward Santow, the Rights and Freedoms policy team within the Commission has a co-ordination role for work across all areas of human rights, with a particular focus on issues under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

The materials in the Human Rights Scrutiny section of this site are in addition to the work of the Commission in

The Commission also works cooperatively with State and Territory human rights and anti-discrimination agencies.

Rights and freedoms: right by right

See our rights and freedoms: right by right pages

Scrutiny of human rights by the Parliament

The Commission promotes effective Parliamentary scrutiny of legislation to ensure that legislation is compatible with human rights and promotes and protects human rights, including

Scrutiny by the courts

Statutory interpretation

See our page on Common law rights and human rights scrutiny for more discussion of the role of the courts in interpreting legislation consistently with human rights and the rule of law wherever possible..

Submissions to courts by the Commission

When court proceedings raise discrimination or other human rights issues the Commission may seek leave of the Court to intervene in the proceedings. 

Advocacy for improved legislative protection of human rights

The Commission supports more comprehensive and effective legislative implementation of Australia's human rights commitments, including

In addition to co-operating with the Parliamentary joint committee on human rights, the Commission has a function of examining enactments for compatability with human rights. 

Promotion of improved hum​an rights policy and practice

The Commission promotes implementation of Australia's human rights commitments through improved policy and practice on human rights, including through

International human rights scrutiny mechanisms

The Commission promotes and contributes to effective engagement, by the Australian Government and by Australian community organisations, with international mechanisms for human rights scrutiny, including

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