The WA4HRA Coalition’s goal is for the Parliament of Western Australia to pass a Human Rights Act similar to human rights legislation already enacted in the Australian Capital Territory, Victoria and Queensland. The WA Government previously considered the introduction of such an Act through a wide reaching community consultation process held in 2007, led by a committee headed by Fred Chaney AO. The committee found that there was strong community support for a WA Human Rights Act and issued a comprehensive report recommending the introduction of an Human Rights Act. Unfortunately no WA Government has proceeded to enact a Human Rights Act.
Our vision for a WA Human Rights Act
The WA4HRA Coalition will seek to build on the strong foundations of the 2007 consultation and will seek input from member organisations, stakeholders and the WA community on the exact content and model of a WA Human Rights Act.
We want to see the WA parliament introduce a Human Rights Act similar to the legislation adopted in other Australian jurisdictions. We are calling for legislation that includes:
- Protection of the fundamental human rights that Australia has agreed to uphold under core international human rights conventions, including civil and political rights as well as economic, social and cultural rights (such as rights to culture, housing, health and education).
- A strong mechanism for parliamentary scrutiny of legislation for compliance with the Human Rights Act.
- A requirement that public authorities must act consistently with human rights and consider human rights when making decisions.
- A requirement that state courts must interpret legislation consistently with human rights if possible to do so, and may issue declarations of incompatibility with the Human Rights Act.
- Meaningful and accessible remedies for individuals seeking redress for violations of their human rights.
Benefits for the community
A WA Human Rights Act will benefit everyone in our community. It will:
- Help prevent human rights violations, provide a powerful tool to challenge injustice, and foster understanding and respect for human rights;
- Ensure the decisions and actions of our governments and public authorities are guided by the values of freedom, equality and dignity; and
- Mean that if someone’s rights are violated by the government or a public authority they can take action to get justice.
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