“Although Australia has, in many ways, a strong democracy, secrecy has noticeably increased across government. Australia’s commitment to the Open Government Forum is a step towards addressing some of the transparency issues that hold us back,” said Emily Howie.
Australian governments must act now to safeguard and encourage vibrant debate on matters of public interest, 15 non-government organisations have said in a new Human Rights Law Centre report to be launched by Gillian Triggs at the Progress conference in Melbourne.
On Tuesday the High Court of Australia will hear a landmark case seeking to strike down Tasmania’s excessive anti-protest laws that unreasonably limit people’s freedom to stand together and speak out on matters that they care about.
“We are seeing a clear and worrying wave of state-based laws that restrict the ability of Australians to stand together and speak out on issues that they care deeply about. The government may disagree with protesters' views on a particular issue, but shutting down peaceful assemblies only serves to weaken our democracy,” said HRLC's Emily Howie.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull should make the most of his seemingly close relationship with Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo to push for unfettered media access and human rights monitoring in Papua.
“The push to weaken the laws by some has run aground. It’s hard to imagine what those pushing for change want people to be able to say that they currently can’t. Any move to weaken the law itself would have sent a green light to racism,” said the Human Rights Law Centre’s Director of Legal Advocacy, Adrianne Walters.
Australia’s metadata retention regime should be overhauled to properly protect Australians from indiscriminate mass surveillance, the Human Rights Law Centre said in a submission to the Attorney-General’s Department today.
The Australian Government must maintain strong and effective laws against racial hatred the Human Rights Law Centre said today in its submission to a parliamentary inquiry.
In November 2016, Victoria’s Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC) announced that charges would be laid against a Leading Senior Constable of Victoria Police in relation to the brutal assault of Corinna Horvath nearly 20 years earlier.
The Australian Government must maintain strong and effective laws against racial hatred, Aboriginal, ethnic and human rights organisations said today in a joint letter that responds to the inquiry into the racial vilification protections in the Racial Discrimination Act.
Australia is failing to provide a safe and free environment for civil society and to ensure that people are free to speak out and peacefully protest on issues that they care about, said a UN Human Rights expert today. Michel Forst, the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders, has been in Australia for a two-week official visit, meeting with government, MPs and civil society organisations.
Human rights lawyers have raised concerns that a parliamentary committee has sought to silence organisations that advocate to protect the environment.
As governments can bestow rights, equally they can take them away. We must not be complacent, writes the HRLC's Emily Howie.
The New South Wales government’s anti-protest laws will unreasonably restrict and disproportionately punish people for standing together and speaking out on issues that they care about, said the Human Rights Law Centre.
Whistleblowers who reveal human rights abuses face the risk of prosecution and jail and require much greater legal protection, said the Human Rights Law Centre in a submission to the review of the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013 (Cth). The Act is currently being reviewed by former Integrity Commissioner Philip Moss for the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.
Australia’s political parties must stop eroding many of the vital foundations of Australia’s democracy, the Human Rights Law Centre has said in a new report. Civil society leaders joined the launch at Australian Parliament House to highlight the critical role that civil society plays in a healthy and robust democracy.
Three UN human rights experts urged the Western Australian parliament not to adopt a proposed law that would criminalise peaceful protests and silence environmentalists and human rights defenders.
Victoria’s Charter of Human Rights would be made more effective, practical and accessible through a range of recommendations made in a report following a review of the Charter’s first eight years of operation.
Lecturer in the Faculty of Law at Monash University, Sangeetha Pillai, examines the problems with the three significant expansions to the current grounds for citizenship loss contained in new laws proposed by the Government.
The full bench of the High Court will hear an important human rights case next week in Canberra about the Northern Territory's excessive police powers.
Stripping environmental groups of the right to take legal action under Federal environmental laws will undermine core democratic freedoms, a leading human rights organisation has warned.
The Citizenship Bill currently before the Australian Parliament is badly flawed and should not be passed, the Human Rights Law Centre said in its submission to the Parliamentary Committee investigating the Bill.
Australia should demonstrate its international human rights leadership by leading action at the Human Rights Council to address the urgent human right situation in Egypt, human rights organisations said in a joint letter to Foreign Minister Julie Bishop.
Human rights lawyers have raised concerns that a parliamentary inquiry into charity tax law could be used to lay the groundwork for attempts to stifle important voices in the environmental movement.
A group of leading Australian and international human rights organisations are calling for an overhaul to the way the Australian government campaigns to end the death penalty, today launching a new strategy document: ‘Australian Government and the Death Penalty: A Way Forward’.
The announcement from Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo that Indonesia will lift its decades-long ban on journalists travelling to its troubled Papuan provinces is a welcome step in the right direction.
Proposed legislation being debated today in the Western Australian Parliament risks criminalising peaceful protest in breach of international human rights guarantees.
The Queensland government’s commitment to abolish voter ID requirements introduced by the previous government has been welcomed by the Human Rights Law Centre.
The Human Rights Law Centre welcomed today’s announcement by the Victorian Government that Michael Brett Young will lead the 8 year review of Victoria’s Human Rights Charter.
Confirmation that the Attorney-General sought the resignation of the President of the Australian Human Rights Commission reveals the depths of the Government’s willingness to undermine Australia’s independent human rights watchdog, said the Human Rights Law Centre. “This is a blatant political attack to punish the Commission for doing its job reporting on the harm being inflicted on children in detention,” said the HRLC’s Executive Director, Hugh de Kretser.
Over the weekend, millions of demonstrators across the world took to the streets with a clear message for the new U.S. President: if you tread on women's rights, you've got a fight on your hands. It was a stunning display of the dynamic relationship between the state and its people and how democracy continues to operate in between elections.
While the exhibition, Another Day in Paradise which opens at the Campbelltown Arts Centre on Friday, is a chance to reflect on his life and the brutality of the death penalty, we mustn't shy away from a difficult home truth: the Australian Federal Police's role in his death.
Late last year, a friend told me that we need to make sure we don't look back in the future on human rights as just a passing phase. It was a comment that kept coming back to me over the past 12 months with Brexit, the re-rise of Pauline Hanson, the hardening of Turnbull and now Trump.
The HRLC's Tom Clarke looks at whether the back-peddling has already begun on Indonesia's announcement that it will let foreign journalists into West Papua.
Chan & Sukumaran have been denied the chance to learn from their mistakes. We owe it to them to learn from ours, writes the HRLC's Daniel Webb.
Human Rights Law Centre Executive Director, Hugh de Kretser, outlines what 2015 may have in store for human rights in Australia.
HRLC Executive Director, Hugh de Kretser, delivered a speech at the Australian Communities Foundation’s end of year event. Here’s what he had to say.
Over 1,000 children are still locked up. They are more in need of the attention of the Australian Human Rights Commission than a powerful commentator, writes the HRLC's Rachel Ball.
Commonwealth Attorney-General George Brandis's reform of Australia's racial vilification laws needs to tread carefully writes HRLC's Hugh de Kretser.
Given Victoria Police use force, on average, every 2.5 hours, it seems they might have achieved their monthly quota in the space of a Friday morning. An alarming statistic when one considers that the spike was due, not to a surge in knife crime or even petty theft, but a gathering of people seeking to exercise political freedoms protected under the law. Whatever one’s views on the Occupy Melbourne protesters and their aims, the decisions and actions taken by Lord Mayor Robert Doyle and the Victoria Police to forcibly evict peaceful demonstrators from City Square raise a number of serious questions about infringement of fundamental civil and political rights and the excessive use of force by Victoria Police.