Parliamentary inquiry into Human Rights Act for South Australia

December 10, 2023

South Australia is one step closer to a Human Rights Act, with the Social Development Committee of the South Australian Parliament committing to hold a parliamentary inquiry into how human rights across the State can be guaranteed and protected. 

The announcement comes on Human Rights Day and exactly one year after a group of more than 150 organisations and experts endorsed a joint statement calling on the SA Government to inquire into a Human Rights Act for South Australia.

A Human Rights Act would set certain rights in legislative stone, meaning the government would have to check its legislation does not unreasonably impede those rights before it passes laws and public authorities would have to act consistently with those rights when making decisions. It would also provide South Australians with pathways to seek just solutions if their human rights are breached.

The move to establish an inquiry has been applauded by the South Australian Council of Social Service (SACOSS), the Rights Resource Network of South Australia (RRNSA) and Australian Lawyers for Human Rights (ALHR), who led the joint statement. 

Dr. Sarah Moulds, RRNSA Convenor said, “We commend the Parliament for establishing this Inquiry to examine how we can improve human rights protections across our state. 

“Despite our proud history as a leader in protecting democratic freedoms, South Australian’s basic rights remain largely unprotected under existing legislation, leaving us lagging behind other jurisdictions,” Dr. Moulds said.

“The Australian Capital Territory, Victoria and Queensland have already enshrined human rights in Acts of Parliament.  

“These laws are returning dignity and power to everyday people, and helping government officials to make fair and caring decisions. 

“South Australians deserve a similar framework as we tackle big challenges like the housing crisis, domestic violence, equitable timely access to healthcare and inclusive education for all children,” she said. 

Contact: Michael Salmon, ALHR media manager: 0417 495 018