Today is an historic day for Queenslanders, with their rights to be enshrined in legislation after the Human Rights Bill 2018 was passed in Parliament.
Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Yvette D’Ath said the legislation is about protecting people’s rights and creating the Queensland Human Rights Commission (QHRC) to educate and help people.
“Queensland’s Human Rights Act is about a better Queensland – modern, fair and responsive,” she said.
“The primary aim of the legislation is to ensure that respect for human rights is embedded in the culture of the public sector, and that public functions are exercised in a principled way that is compatible with human rights.”
Mrs D’Ath said the QHRC conciliation function will be the first of its kind in Australia and play an important role in educating and informing the community about human rights and the Act.
“A dispute resolution function for the Commission will provide an accessible, independent and appropriate avenue for members of the community to raise human rights concerns with public entities, with a view to reaching a practical resolution,” she said.
“Not only is the Palaszczuk Government honouring another election commitment, but we are advancing the rights of Queenslanders and providing better services.
“This legislation underscores that we must put people first in all that we do – in our actions and our decisions, and in our interactions with one another.”
The Bill protects 23 human rights:
- recognition and equality before the law;
- right to life;
- protection from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment;
- freedom from forced work;
- freedom of movement;
- freedom of thought, conscience, religion and belief;
- freedom of expression;
- peaceful assembly and freedom of association;
- taking part in public life;
- property rights;
- privacy and reputation;
- protection of families and children;
- cultural rights—generally;
- cultural rights—Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders;
- right to liberty and security of person;
- humane treatment when deprived of liberty;
- fair hearing;
- rights in criminal proceedings;
- children in the criminal process;
- right not to be tried or punished more than once;
- retrospective criminal laws;
- right to education; and
- right to health services.
Mrs D’Ath said the vast majority of the 280 submissions regarding the Bill were of overwhelming support.
“I would like to thank the stakeholders and members of the public who took the time to provide submissions and attend hearings. A special mention and thank you goes to the stakeholders who have been advocating for a Human Rights Act for many years; without their tenacity we would not be where we are today,” she said.
The first review of the operation of the Act will occur as soon as practicable after July 1, 2023 and will include consideration of whether additional human rights should be included.
Attorney-General and Minister for Justice
The Honourable Yvette D'Ath