The Queensland Government introduced the Human Rights Bill 2018 (QLD) (‘the Bill’) on 31 October 2018. This Bill proposes to establish guidelines to protect and promote human rights. In doing so, the Bill proposes to build a culture and create a dialogue about human rights in the Queensland public sector.
The explanatory notes highlight that while Australia has accepted legal obligations under various international instruments, treaties are not direct sources of rights and obligations unless incorporated into legislation. To this end, the Bill aims to consolidate statutory and common law protections relating to human rights which are recognised under international instruments.
The provisions in the Bill are based on a 2015 inquiry into the desirability and necessity of a Human Rights Act by the Legal Affairs and Community Safety Committee. The final report, the Inquiry into a Possible Human Rights Act for Queensland, was tabled on 30 June 2016. The Committee was unable to agree on the necessity of a Human Rights Act in Queensland. Government members supported such an Act, but non-government members opposed this Act.
The objects of this Bill are the following:
These objectives are based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) as noted in the associated explanatory notes. The Bill is also based on human rights legislation such as the Victorian Charter and the ACT Human Rights Act, which both incorporate a ‘dialogue’ model of human rights which provides a framework for dialogue between the arms of government.
In her second reading speech, Attorney-General of Queensland and Minister for Justice and Minister for Training and Skills Yvette D’Ath stated that the purpose of the Bill focused on ‘changing the culture of the public sector.’ On the framework of the Bill, she stated:
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Human Rights Bill 2018 (QLD), and associated explanatory notes and second reading speech.
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