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Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights

Rights Rights and Freedoms
Monday 13 May, 2013

Role and mandate

The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights (PJCHR) is established by the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011. The committee's main function is to examine all bills and legislative instruments for compatibility with human rights, and to report to both Houses of Parliament on its findings. It also has a function to examine existing legislation and an inquiry function for matters referred to it by the Attorney-General. The powers and proceedings of the committee are set out in the committee's resolution of appointment.

The committee’s scrutiny reports provide the committee’s view on the compatibility of legislation with the seven core human rights treaties to which Australia is a party (these are, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination; Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women; Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment; Convention on the Rights of the Child; and Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities). The committee's scrutiny reports, usually tabled each joint sitting week and published on the committee’s website, primarily focus on legislation which raises human rights concerns, including having regard to the information provided by the legislation proponent in the statement of compatibility, explanatory memorandum and any subsequent correspondence. Information about the committee’s approach to human rights scrutiny of legislation and its expectations for statements of compatibility is contained in its Guidance Note 1.

PJCHR resources

Index of Bills and Legislative Instruments

The Index of bills and instruments contains a list of all bills introduced into Parliament and considered by the committee, as well as legislative instruments that raised human rights concerns, during a calendar year. The index is updated following the tabling of the committee's scrutiny report and includes: identifying the report(s) in which the legislation was considered; the key issues, where relevant; the human right(s) potentially engaged and/or limited; and the committee's action.

Correspondence register

The correspondence register tracks correspondence requested in relation to the committee’s scrutiny reporting, including tracking outstanding correspondence, correspondence recently received and any correspondence received after the requested date.

Guidance Notes and resources

This section includes the committee’s Guide to Human Rights, which provides an introduction to 25 of the key human rights protected by the seven international human rights treaties against which the committee considers questions of human rights compatibility. The section also includes the committee’s Guidance Note 1, which sets out the committee’s approach to human rights assessments and its requirements for statements of compatibility, and Guidance Note 2 which sets out some of the key human rights compatibility issues in relation to provisions that create offences and civil penalties.

Scrutiny reports

Includes all of the committee’s scrutiny reports, and the relevant tabling date, since the committee’s first report in August 2012.

Statements and speeches

Includes the Chair’s tabling statements in relation to each scrutiny report as well as speeches delivered by the Chair and other members of the committee.


Committee inquiries includes information on completed committee inquiries, including the relevant inquiry report, submissions and additional information.

Annual Reports contains the committee’s annual reports dating back to 2012-13.