New Matilda - Human Rights Campaign
Thursday, 24th August 2006 at 1:08 pm
Australia is the only western country without a national human rights act or equivalent but a recently formed organisation called New Matilda has launched a campaign to change that.
The Human Rights Act for Australia Campaign unveiled its Human Rights Act in Melbourne on Sunday 13th August in a bid to change this.
Campaign Chair and former federal Minister Susan Ryan says the campaign was launched in response to growing concern in the community about the inability of the law to protect fundamental rights like freedom of speech, right to a fair trial, freedom of association, and freedom from detention without trial.
Ryan says the imprisonment of children in detention centres and the rushed passage of the anti-terror laws highlighted the urgent need to give legal protection to important rights.
She says a Human Rights Act would achieve this. It would also reinvigorate our most import democratic institution – the Parliament of Australia.
Ryan says New Matilda’s initial aim is to have the Human Rights Bill tabled and debated in the Federal Parliament by the end of 2006.
The campaign is built around the draft Human Rights Act was prepared by leading human rights and legal experts. Professor Spencer Zifcak led the drafting and received assistance from Professor George Williams, Professor Hilary Charlesworth, Dr Helen Watchirs, Julian Burnside QC, Brian Walters SC and Jo Swarc.
The draft Bill was launched in Sydney in October 2005.
The launch of the final Bill signals the commencement of the lobbying stage of the campaign.
Susan Ryan called on the community and in turn the Parliament and representatives from all of the parties and in both houses of the parliament to sponsor the Bill as a Private Members Bill.
You can download the Human Rights Act at www.newmatilda.com/humanrightsact