Historic human rights legislation comes into force today (1 January 2020), further enhancing the protections for Queenslanders in their dealings with public entities.
Acting Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Dr Anthony Lynham said the commencement of Queensland’s Human Rights Act 2019 meant public entities had a specific obligation to act and make decisions compatible with human rights.
“From today, Queenslanders will no longer have to rely on a patchwork of protections when they believe their freedom, equality or dignity is being challenged by a public entity,” he said.
“Instead they will have access to a momentous piece of legislation – one that protects their human rights when interacting with public entities.
“This includes the State Government, local government, public service employees and other organisations performing public work.
“It’s a significant step towards a human rights-based approach to government planning, policy and service delivery.”
The Human Rights Act 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.
Dr Lynham said the newly established Queensland Human Rights Commission, which replaces the Anti-Discrimination Commission, would administer the new Human Rights Act.
“The Queensland Human Rights Commission will also have the power to receive and conciliate human rights complaints,” he said.
For more information about the Human Rights Act 2019 and the Queensland Human Rights Commission visit www.qhrc.qld.gov.au
Attorney-General and Minister for Justice
The Honourable Yvette D'Ath