Human rights report paves way for better protections for marginalised Australians

8 October 2009

ACOSS welcomes the report released today by the National Human Rights Consultation Committee recommending that Australia adopt a national Human Rights Act.

“Human rights are important for all Australians, but particularly for low income and disadvantaged Australians who can be vulnerable to human rights breaches,” said Clare Martin, CEO, Australian Council of Social Service.

“People who are homeless, on income support, or in poverty commonly experience discrimination and the denial of their rights to adequate housing and health care.”

“ACOSS calls on Government to accept the Committee’s recommendations, including by incorporating social and economic rights into legislation. The enforceability of social and economic rights through the legal system should be a future step.”

“A national human rights act could make an important difference in the lives of low income and disadvantaged Australians. Practically, it would produce better outcomes through improved and more accountable decision making.”

“We congratulate the Committee on its detailed and meaningful community consultations and its efforts to reach people on the margins – people experiencing homelessness, people with a mental illness, disabilities and those living in remote communities.”

“Law reform is just one part of human rights protection and broader social, institutional and cultural change must be the ultimate goal. We are delighted the Committee has made a range of recommendations to enshrine a human rights culture in Australia and to improve the legislative and policy process.”

Media contact: Clare Cameron 0419 626 155