The National Human Rights Consultation has invited organisations and citizens to submit their view on the following questions:
- Which human rights and responsibilities should be protected and promoted?
- Are human rights sufficiently protected and promoted?
- How could Australia better protect and promote human rights?
Heather Stewart prepared YANQ's submission in response to these questions. The submission focuses on the effectiveness of the Human Rights Charter proposed by the National Human Rights Consultation Committee.
- Indigenous Rights
- The enactment of a Human Rights Charter must be accompanied by steps to amend the Commonwealth Constitution to recognise the sovereign rights of Indigenous people to address past injustices and encourage reconciliation.
- There is need to repeal Section 51(xxvi) of the Commonwealth Constitution as it discriminates on the basis of race and it should be replaced with a non-discrimination and equality provision consistent with the purpose of the proposed Human Rights Charter.
- Protected Rights
- All human rights under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (IPCCR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), which Australia is a signatory to must be protected.
- YANQ also propose additional protections for young people such as the non-compulsory right to vote and abolition of wage discrimination by requiring employers to pay fair wage based on the work being done, not the age of the worker, to enable young people to more fully participate in decisions that affect their lives as well as recognise their value as equal citizens.
- Constitutional Problems
- The proposed Human Rights Charter empowers the High Court to make a declaration of incompability when a law is inconsistent with human rights which may be unconstitutional.
- The doctrine of the separation of powers limits the scope courts have to interpret legislation under the proposed dialogue model, which may often result in a failure to adequately protect human rights.
- Also the proposed Charter offers no judicial rights or remedies for people who have had their protected human rights violated
- Preferred Model for protecting human rights
- YANQ believes human rights should be protected by an amendment to the Constitution to include a Bill of Rights but if this is not likely to succeed at referendum, a Human Rights Charter must be enacted that gives courts the power to strike down legislation that is inconsistent with protected rights
YANQ's Submission to the National Human Rights Consultations 568.12 Kb