Leading Australian Human Rights Lawyers call on Premier Palaszczuk to initiate discussion on Queensland Human Rights Act

Date: Mon 11th May 2015


Australian Lawyers for Human Rights (ALHR) calls upon Premier Palaszczuk to initiate a State-wide public discussion on the introduction of a Queensland human rights act as promoted by MP Peter Wellington in his conditions for the formation of the current Queensland government.

“A human rights act is vital for democracy in Queensland and crucial to protect the rights and liberties of all Queenslanders against abuses of government power” stated ALHR President Nathan Kennedy.

Mr Kennedy continued:  “Queenslanders were fed up with having their rights trampled upon under the previous Parliament and there is work to do to ensure that proper safeguards are in place to guarantee our democracy is protected for current and future generations of Queenslanders.”

“As demonstrated by other jurisdictions, including Victoria and the ACT, a bill of rights or legislated human rights act engenders better government decision-making and optimises the democratic qualities of fair-go governance which all Australians do, and should, expect in our lucky country”

Mr Kennedy continued: “A bill of rights is a bulwark against corruption. Queensland has no upper house or house of review. The once robust Crime and Misconduct Commission was significantly curtailed by the former government and the current committee system is not able to provide the necessary checks and balances on excesses of power. A Queensland human rights act would provide real benefit and value to all Queenslanders in protecting their way of life against government incursions.”

“ALHR urges the new government to jump on the front foot and foster a positive, inclusive and united culture of tolerance, respect and dignity throughout the State of which we can all be proud. Through enshrining fundamental rights and responsibilities in law, the government will send a strong educative message that human rights are for everyone, everywhere. It is essential to our way of life that fundamental rights including the right to equality before the law, the right to be free from discrimination, the right to adequate housing and the right to work are legally protected for, and accessible by, all Queenslanders” says Mr Kennedy.

“Australia remains the only liberal democracy and common law legal system without a federal human rights act or constitutional bill of rights. The time is ripe for an act of parliament that enshrines the basic rights and fundamental freedoms that all Queenslanders value as important” Mr Kennedy said.

If Queensland follows the positive precedent set by Victoria and the ACT it may encourage other States and Territories to do the same and perhaps then Australia will be ready to adopt a federal human rights act in common with all other first world democracies.

ALHR encourages all Queenslanders to sign the online Change.org  petition calling on Premier Palaszczuk to initiate this important discussion on a human rights act for Queensland at: https://www.change.org/p/annastacia-palaszczuk-support-bill-of-rights


Media Contact:

Nathan Kennedy, President, Australian Lawyers for Human Rights (ALHR)

M: 0417 267 143 E: president@alhr.org.au