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 Human rights and anti-discrimination

The Attorney-General's Department has portfolio responsibility for driving the implementation of the government's human rights policy agenda. This includes supporting the Attorney-General as First Law Officer by providing policy advice on human rights matters to the government and administering Australia's federal anti-discrimination legislation and the Australian Government Guidelines on the Recognition of Sex and Gender.

The Attorney-General's Department also has portfolio responsibility for international human rights law and provides legal advice to the Australian Government on international human rights matters, including human rights treaties to which Australia is a party. It also administers human rights scrutiny processes, including Statements of Compatibility.

The Attorney-General's Department also represents the Australian Government internationally in the human rights arena – including engagement with the United Nations human rights treaty body system, through both the treaty body reporting and communications processes. The department also leads Australia's engagement with the Universal Periodic Review process as a part of this role.

The Council of Attorneys-General cross-jurisdictional working group, comprised of representatives from federal and state governments, has developed the National Statement of Principles Relating to Persons Unfit to Plead or Found Not Guilty by Reason of Cognitive or Mental Health Impairment (the National Principles). The National Principles are intended to assist states and territories in identifying safeguards throughout legal processes to protect the rights of persons with cognitive or mental health impairments.

Please note: The Attorney-General and the Attorney-General's Department cannot provide legal advice to the public and cannot investigate any complaints of unlawful discrimination or alleged breaches of human rights.

If you wish to make a complaint regarding unlawful discrimination or a breach of human rights, you can lodge a complaint with the Australian Human Rights Commission or relevant state and territory agencies. Find more information on making a complaint on the Australian Human Rights Commission's website. You can also contact the Commission using the details below:

  • Phone: 1300 656 419 or 9284 9888
  • Email: infoservice@humanrights.gov.au
  • TTY: 1800 620 241
  • National Relay Service: 1300 555 727
  • Fax: 02 9284 9611