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Statements of Compatibility templates

All Bills and disallowable legislative instruments within the meaning of section 42 of the Legislation Act 2003 must be accompanied by a Statement of Compatibility.

A Statement of Compatibility is an assessment of whether the Bill or legislative instrument is compatible with the rights and freedoms recognised in the seven core international human rights treaties to which Australia is a party.

These treaties are:

Statements of Compatibility are required for all Bills and disallowable legislative instruments, regardless of whether or not the provisions affect human rights and freedoms.

Although there is no prescribed form for Statements of Compatibility, the Attorney-General's Department has developed templates which agencies can use to assist in their preparation. Agencies are not required to use the templates.

Templates

To use these templates, download and save a copy as a Word document. Your completed Statement of Compatibility must be included with the explanatory memorandum of a Bill or an explanatory statement of a legislative instrument when presented to Parliament.

The download below is a template for a Statement of Compatibility for a Bill or legislative instrument that does not raise human rights issues:

Before you complete this template, make sure you have undertaken an assessment of whether the particular Bill or legislative instrument raises human rights issues.

For assistance in assessing human rights compatibility see the flowchart on the tools for assessing human rights compatibility page.

To use this template an agency will need to:

  • insert the name of the Bill or legislative instrument
  • provide an overview of the Bill or legislative instrument and state its general purpose
  • state that the Bill or legislative instrument does not engage any human rights. Where appropriate, the agency should cite the evidence that has been taken into account in making this assessment.

Below is a template for a Statement of Compatibility for a Bill or legislative instrument that raises human rights issues:

Before you complete this template, make sure you have undertaken an assessment of whether the particular Bill or legislative instrument raises human rights issues. For assistance in assessing human rights compatibility see the assessment tool and flowchart on the tools for assessing human rights compatibility page.

To use this template, agencies will need to:

  • insert the name of the Bill or legislative instrument
  • provide an overview of the Bill or legislative instrument and state its general purpose, and
  • describe in general terms the most significant human rights issues which arise in relation to the Bill or legislative instrument, together with conclusions made by the agency on compatibility with human rights. It is not necessary to list every human right engaged. If the Bill or legislative instrument protects or promotes a right, the agency will need to explain how it does that.

If the Bill or legislative instrument limits human rights, it is necessary to explain why there is no incompatibility with the right engaged.

In these circumstances, the agency will need to clearly identify the reasons relied upon to justify the limitation and provide, wherever possible, empirical data that demonstrates that the objectives being sought are important. The agency will also need to explain why it considers that the limitation on the right is both necessary and also within the range of reasonable means to achieve the objectives of the Bill or legislative instrument. The agency should consider the guidance sheets on absolute rights and permissible limitations.

The agency should also cite the evidence that has been taken into account in making this assessment.

Statements of Compatibility can be found in the explanatory memoranda for Bills and explanatory statements for legislative instruments. The following links to explanatory materials are provided for illustrative purposes only:

More information

For more information contact the Human Rights Unit at humanrights@ag.gov.au.