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Australia's Human Rights Framework

Australia's Human Rights Framework outlines a range of key measures to further protect and promote human rights in Australia.

The framework acts on the key recommendations of the National Human Rights Consultation Committee and complements a number of actions the government is already taking to encourage greater inclusion and participation in our community.

The framework is based on five key principles and focuses on:

  • re-affirming a commitment to our human rights obligations
  • the importance of human rights education
  • enhancing our domestic and international engagement on human rights issues
  • improving human rights protections including greater parliamentary scrutiny
  • achieving greater respect for human rights principles within the community.

Specifically, the framework demonstrates the government's commitment to positive and practical action in relation to human rights through a number of key commitments, including:

  • investing in a comprehensive suite of education initiatives to promote a greater understanding of human rights across the community
  • establishing a new Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights to provide greater scrutiny of legislation for compliance with our international human rights obligations
  • requiring that each new Bill introduced into Parliament is accompanied by a statement of compatibility with our international human rights obligations
  • combining federal anti-discrimination laws into a single Act to remove unnecessary regulatory overlap and make the system more user-friendly
  • creating an annual non-government Human Rights Forum to enable comprehensive engagement with non-government organisations on human rights matters.

These changes are designed to have broad effect and will enhance the understanding of, and respect for, human rights across the Australian community.

Human rights and the public sector

Australia's Human Rights Framework contains measures that are aimed at enhancing understanding and respect for human rights across the public sector and ensuring appropriate recognition of human rights issues in legislative and policy development.

The framework education and training government public sector comprises a range of resources and guidance materials that will:

  • assist public sector officials to understand human rights obligations
  • strengthen the capacity of legal and policy officers to develop policies, programs and legislation that are consistent with human rights
  • provide guidance to administrative decision-makers on relevant human rights considerations to take into account.

More information is available on the Human rights and the public sector page or by emailing humanrightseducationsection@ag.gov.au.

Australia's new National Human Rights Action Plan

Australia's National Human Rights Action Plan was released on 10 December 2012 and was developed in consultation with state and territory governments, non-government organisations and the Australian people.

It was informed by a baseline study of human rights issues in Australia and existing measures to address them.

More information is available on the National Human Rights Action Plan page.

Improved scrutiny of legislation for compatibility with international human rights obligations.

The Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011 introduced a requirement for Statements of Compatibility to accompany all new Bills and disallowable legislative instruments, and established a new Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights.

The Act affects the way that new policies and legislation are developed. You can find answers to questions about the process on the Frequently asked questions page.