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Human rights protections

Australia is founded on the rule of law and has a strong tradition of respect for the rights and freedoms of every individual. Human rights are recognised and protected across Australia through a range of laws at the federal and state and territory levels, the Australian Constitution, and the common law.

The Australian Government is committed to protecting and promoting traditional rights and freedoms, including freedom of speech, opinion, religion, association and movement. These rights and freedoms are protected by the common law principle that legislation should not infringe fundamental rights and freedoms unless the legislation expresses a clear intention to do so and the infringement is reasonable.

The Australian common law provides particularly strong protections for freedom of speech related to public affairs and political matters. The government believes these rights and freedoms underpin Australia’s democracy and should not be taken for granted, and has taken some key steps to ensure that these rights and freedoms are protected and promoted.