QLD NFP Calls for Human Rights Act
Tuesday, 28th April 2015 at 11:11 am
Not for Profit advocacy group, Queensland Advocacy Incorporated has called on the new Palaszczuk Government to urgently introduce a Human Rights Act in Queensland to redress what it claims is a serious erosion of democratic rights by the former Newman Government.
“There is currently a significant and growing momentum towards the introduction of a Human Rights Act, triggered by our recent, first-hand experience witnessing the Newman Government erode our democratic rights and override the basic rights of individual Queenslanders,” Michelle O’Flynn, Director of Queensland Advocacy Incorporated (QAI) said.
“A Human Rights Act would inform everyday Queenslanders, as well as those with power to make and shape the law, about their rights and responsibilities, creating a culture of understanding and respect for human rights.
“We are particularly concerned about protecting the rights of vulnerable people who are liable to be treated in a discriminatory way and who are not able to advocate for themselves to assert and defend their basic rights, such as people with disability.
“We also consider that it is vital for people to understand that human rights are for everyone – the right to liberty, to a fair trial, to appropriate housing and to fair working conditions, along with the right to make basic choices such as who we lawfully associate with, are fundamental to basic freedom and democracy.”
O’Flynn told Pro Bono Australia News that the need for a Bill of Human Rights in Queensland follows the Newman Government’s hard nosed approach to many issues that in the end affect the most vulnerable in the community.
“The most publicised example is the anti bikie laws but other hard nose approaches including the three- -strikes-and-your-out policy for public housing tenancies including people with disabilities, the naming and shaming of young offenders a young as eleven and the suspension and exclusion policies in the education system that removes the rights of parents to natural justice," she said.
“Unfortunately Governments have a great way of saying they are making policies within the human rights framework.
“If Queensland goes ahead with a Human Rights Act is will mean an advantage of three states that have a Bill of Rights and we can then push the agenda for a national one."
Victoria has a Charter of Human Rights and the ACT has a Bill of Rights.
QAI human rights lawyer David Manwaring said the introduction of a Human Rights Act “would mean that vulnerable people, including people with disabilities, would have a robust and primary legal framework proving remedies and protections, instead of relying on secondary sources such treaties to ensure they are less likely to face indefinite detention, restrictions and breaches of human rights that most of us take for granted".
QAI has established a public petition to push the case for a Human Rights Act here.