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Senator Thorpe welcomes committee call for Human Rights Act

The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human rights has recommended that Australia establish a Federal Human Rights Act in its report on the Inquiry into Australia’s Human Rights Framework, which was tabled in parliament today.

Senator Lidia Thorpe, who sits on the cross-party committee, has welcomed the recommendation and is calling for parliament to now legislate a Federal Human Rights Act.

Currently, Australia is the only democratic country in the world without a charter of human rights in either legislation or the Constitution. And governments do not have an obligation to give proper consideration to human rights when making decisions, or act in accordance with their obligations under international human rights law.

A human rights act would begin to address this.

Senator Thorpe has been a vocal advocate for human rights and through the committee has been pushing for strong human rights protections consistent with international law.

Last year she introduced a private senator's bill to enshrine the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples into law, which Labor blocked in the senate.

The recommendations of the report will now be considered by government, including Senator Thorpe’s additional comments calling for closer alignment of the proposed Act with international law, and stronger protections for First People’s and other marginalised communities.

 

Quotes attributable to Lidia Thorpe, Gunnai, Gunditjmara and Djab Wurrung independent Victorian Senator:

"This country is long overdue for a human rights framework. We must stop denying people the fundamental protections under international human rights laws that they are entitled to.

"I strongly support the government legislating a Federal Human Rights Act.

"First Peoples were the first defenders of human rights on this continent in the face of brutal colonisation, and First Peoples across the world today continue to fight for basic human rights.

"It’s critical to remember that this government both regularly breaches human rights and tasks itself with upholding and implementing those same rights. That irony isn’t lost on me.

"The evidence of this government’s human rights violations is clear. Just look at the child removal system, the prison system, the ongoing destruction of Country, or the government policies that have left people trapped in poverty without access to safe housing, enough food, or even safe drinking water.

"This country clearly has a long way to go. A Human Rights Act would be a starting point to begin correcting these wrongs and changing course.

"So I urge all sides of parliament to come together to back this important step."

 

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