It’s time for Australia to walk the talk: Parliamentary Inquiry recommends an Australian Human Rights Act

May 30, 2024

Australian Lawyers for Human Rights (ALHR) welcomes the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights landmark report recommending that the Australian Government enact a federal Human Rights Act. 

For over thirty years, ALHR has called on the Australian government to comprehensively incorporate its international human rights law obligations into domestic legislation via a federal Human Rights Act. Today’s recommendation is a significant step toward ensuring every person in Australia has their human rights protected, no matter who they are or where they live.

“We fully endorse the Committee’s central recommendation to enshrine robust human rights protections in law through a Human Rights Act for Australia,” said Kerry Weste, President of ALHR.

“A Human Rights Act will create an essential framework that enables everyone involved in the work of government to engage in a positive, collective effort to realise greater freedom, dignity and equality for all of us. When governments legally protect and articulate human rights the quality of decision-making is improved and people are empowered to understand and stand up for their rights. This is what a modern democracy looks like.”

“We know that Human Rights Acts work,” Ms Weste continued, “Similar legislation operating in Victoria, Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory has – for decades – been delivering concrete benefits in people’s everyday lives in areas such as housing, education and healthcare.”

“ALHR calls on the Albanese Government to accept and implement the Report’s central recommendation by committing to the introduction of a federal Human Rights Act and putting forward a draft exposure Bill for community-wide consultation.

Ms Weste stressed that, “Australia is the only Western liberal democracy without some form of Federal Charter of Human Rights. This recommendation affirms that it is long past time to walk the talk on the international human rights obligations we have promised to uphold.”


The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights Inquiry into Australia’s Human Rights Framework was a comprehensive examination of the state of human rights protections in Australia. It sought input from a wide range of stakeholders and its recommendations reflect a broad consensus on the need for stronger human rights protections. ALHR made a submission and appeared before the Committee. The campaign for an Australian Human Rights Act is made up of 103 civil society organisations which represent a broad diversity of people, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, people with a disability, women, children, older persons, LGBTIQ+ people, and people from migrant and refugee communities.


ALHR was established in 1993 and is a national association of Australian solicitors, barristers, academics, judicial officers and law students who practise and promote international human rights law in Australia. ALHR has active and engaged National, State and Territory committees and specialist thematic committees. Through advocacy, media engagement, education, networking, research and training, ALHR promotes, practices and protects universally accepted standards of human rights throughout Australia and overseas.