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NHRCR-Summary (1).doc

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Summary On 10 December 2008 the Federal Government asked the Committee to conduct a nationwide Consultation with the aim of ndin! out which human ri!hts and res onsibilities should be rotected and romoted in #ustralia$ whether human ri!hts are su%ciently rotected and romoted$ and how #ustralia could better rotect and romote human ri!hts& 'he Committee travelled the len!th and breadth of the country to seek the community(s views& 'housands of eo le artici ated in the Consultation$
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  Summary On 10 December 2008 the Federal Government asked the Committee to conduct a nationwide Consultation with the aim of ndin! out which human ri!hts and res onsibilities should be rotected and romoted in #ustralia$ whether human ri!hts are su%ciently rotectedand romoted$ and how #ustralia could better rotect and romote human ri!hts& 'he Committee travelled the len!th and breadth of the country to seek the community(s views& 'housands of eo le artici ated in the Consultation$ by attendin! community roundtables$ by resentin! submissions$ by a earin! at ublic hearin!s$ and in other ways& 'his re ort sets out the rimary oints the community raised in relation to the rotection and romotion of human ri!hts and identies a number of o tions for the Federal Government to consider& 'he advanta!es and disadvanta!es of these o tions are e)amined$ and the Committee makes ndin!s and recommendations in relation to what it learnt durin! the Consultation&#fter 10 months of listenin! to the eo le of #ustralia$ the Committee was left in no doubt that the rotection and romotion of human ri!hts is a matter of national im ortance& *uman ri!hts touch the livesof everyday #ustralians& Part OneIntroduction 1The Consultation: an overview Cha ter 1 describes how the Committee went about consultin! broadly with the eo le of #ustralia& 'he Committee called for submissions and received +, 01- written res onses.the lar!est number ever for a national consultation in #ustralia& 'hese submissions were analysed to e)tract information and for statistical ur oses& /n addition$ about 000 eo le re!istered to attend the  community roundtables$ which were held in ,2 locations around #ustralia& Summary   )iii   'he Consultation website www&humanri!htsconsultation&!ov&au3 and a Facebook a!e allowed the Committee to further en!a!e with the ublic& #nd an online forum facilitated by le!al e) erts rovided another o ortunity for eo le to res ond to the Consultation 4uestions&Colmar 5runton Social 6esearch was commissioned to carry out two research ro7ects& 'he rst involved focus !rou research followed by a national tele hone survey to ascertain attitudes towards human ri!hts and their rotection amon! a random sam le of #ustralians&  'he second task was to conduct focus !rou research in order to cast li!ht on the e) eriences and o inions of mar!inalised and vulnerable !rou s who mi!ht otherwise not artici ate in the Consultation& 'he Committee also commissioned 'he #llen Consultin! Grou to rovide an economic analysis of o tions for the rotection and romotion of human ri!hts in #ustralia& /n early uly 2009 the Committee held three days of ublic hearin!s in Canberra: over 0 s eakers took art in anel discussions and debates&Finally$ throu!hout the Consultation the Committee met with a broad ran!e of individuals and or!anisations$ amon! them arliamentarians$senior ublic servants$ olice commissioners$ 7ud!es and former  7ud!es$ anti;discrimination commissioners and re resentatives of non;!overnment or!anisations& 2The community’s views Cha ter 2 !ives a voice to some of the many individuals who artici ated in the Consultation& /t records stories and e) eriences that were shared durin! community roundtables and in submissions and rovides evidence that for many eo le human ri!hts are not an abstract conce t but are instead relevant to actual$ everyday life& 'he Committee heard from individuals and !rou s whose ri!hts are most under threat$ amon! them /ndi!enous #ustralians$ the homeless$ eo le with disabilities$ eo le with mental illness$ eo le livin! in rural and remote arts of #ustralia$ the a!ein!$ and children&  'he 4uestion of access to 7ustice was often raised$ and it was a arent that the ri!ht to a clean environment was a central concern& 'hree recent develo ments in law and !overnment olicy were re eatedly referred to as !ivin! rise to human ri!hts concerns< the =orthern 'erritory >mer!ency 6es onse ?also known as the )iv    *uman 6i!hts Consultation Committee 6e ort  /ntervention@$ the treatment of asylum seekers$ and national security le!islation& Aany who artici ated in the Consultation felt that in these instances a balance between individual liberty and the ublic interest mi!ht not have been struck&Finally$ four controversial sub7ects often raised durin! the Consultation.same;se) marria!e$ euthanasia$ abortion and reli!ious freedom.are discussed& 3Rights and responsiilities Cha ter + deals with the reliminary 4uestion of what ri!hts and res onsibilities are& 'he two conce ts were crucial to the Consultation rocess$ and it is im ortant to reco!nise that there are diBerent inter retations of human ri!hts and res onsibilities&First$ the cha ter looks at the conce t of human ri!hts& /t traces historical discussions about the nature and ori!in of human ri!hts andtouches on more recent hiloso hical debates about ri!hts& /t then e)amines the ori!ins of international human ri!hts law in the niversal Declaration of *uman 6i!hts in 19-8& 'his is followed by discussion of a community ers ective on human ri!hts that emer!eddurin! the Consultation& Finally$ the relationshi between diBerent human ri!hts and the e)tent to which they can le!itimately be limitedare e)amined& 'he cha ter then moves on to the conce t of res onsibilities$ lookin! at the hiloso hical notion of res onsibilities that corres ond to ri!hts and the way international law has dealt with res onsibilities& # community ers ective on res onsibilities$ drawn from the Consultation$ is acknowled!ed& Finally$ there is discussion of how res onsibilities have been dealt with in other 7urisdictions& Part TwoRights and responsiilities in !ustralia #hich rights and responsiilities$ Cha ter - draws on the views of the #ustralian community to rovide an overview of which human ri!hts and res onsibilities should be rotected and romoted& # common res onse to this 4uestion was that #ustralia should rotect and romote all the human ri!hts reected in its obli!ations under international human ri!hts law& Summary   )v  Aost eo le who res onded to the 4uestion su orted the rotection and romotion of civil and olitical ri!hts in #ustralia& Some ar!ued that only civil and olitical ri!hts should be rotected: others contended that civil and olitical ri!hts do re4uire rotection but not to the e)clusion of other ri!hts&Aany Consultation artici ants ar!ued that economic$ social and cultural ri!hts ?such as the ri!ht to the hi!hest attainable standard of health@ should be rotected and romoted on the basis that these ri!hts are most im ortant to #ustralians and are 7usticiable and that all ri!hts are interrelated and interde endent& 'he research the Committee commissioned demonstrated that economic$ social and cultural ri!hts are at the to of the list of ri!hts that are considered most im ortant to the #ustralian community& On the other hand$ a considerable number of eo le contended that economic$ social and cultural ri!hts should not   be !iven le!al rotection in #ustralia because arliament alone should make decisions about social and scal olicy and these ri!hts are not amenable to 7udicial determination& 'here was amon! Consultation artici ants disa!reement on whether the ri!hts of articular !rou s in the #ustralian community deserve s ecial attention& #mon! these !rou s are /ndi!enous #ustralians: children and youn! eo le: women: eo le with disabilities: eo le with mental illness: asylum seekers and refu!ees: ethnic$ reli!ious and lin!uistic minorities: the elderly: !ay$ lesbian$ bise)ual$ trans!ender and interse) eo le: and workers&Some artici ants ro osed that new and emer!in! ri!hts should be rotected and romoted in #ustralia& #mon! these ri!hts$ those that received most attention were the ri!ht to an environment that is not harmful to health or wellbein! and the related ri!ht to have the environment rotected&Finally$ Cha ter - considers the 4uestion of which res onsibilities should be rotected and romoted in #ustralia& Aany who artici atedin the Consultation reco!nised that all human ri!hts entail res onsibilities& 'he idea that individuals should be encoura!ed to act res onsibly towards each other was considered im ortant$ but many o osed the reco!nition$ rotection or romotion of res onsibilities onthe basis that they are not le!ally enforceable$ are not reected in international law$ and raise the dan!erous ros ect of ri!hts bein! contin!ent on res onsibilities& # number of eo le ro osed that )vi    *uman 6i!hts Consultation Committee 6e ort
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