Submission: Next steps for equality

Over the past 18 months, the South Australian Government has passed a range of legislative reforms and introduced government policies to ensure fairness and equality for LGBTIQ South Australians. South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill delivered a historic and heartfelt apology to LGBTIQ people for the discrimination that was written into South Australian laws. These reforms received cross-party support and were warmly welcomed by South Australians. No other state or territory has passed the sheer number and range of laws within such a short period of time. However, more remains to be done to tackle the systemic discrimination and disadvantage experienced by LGBTIQ people.

Download the HRLC submission here

Submission: Protecting fundamental rights and freedoms in Australia

Despite recent reforms to the Marriage Act 1961 (Cth) (Marriage Act), lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people continue to face significant discrimination and disadvantage in Australia. Discrimination entrenched in laws and policies or experienced at work, school or home, contributes to alarmingly high rates of suicide, self-harm and depression among LGBTI populations. Any proposals considered to advance religious freedom must not come at the expense of the health, well-being and safety of LGBTI people.

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Submission: Electoral Legislation Amendment (Electoral Funding and Disclosure Reform) Bill 2017

The HRLC is concerned that the Bill runs the risk of regulating participation in public debate on political matters at large, without sufficient connection to elections. Rather than incur the costs or run the compliance risks built into the proposed regime, civil society organisations are likely to choose to refrain from the public expression of their views to avoid the requirement to register and all that flows from it. The pressure to refrain from engaging in activities that create compliance risks will be especially strong on smaller organisations. This would harm public debate in Australia by discouraging voices that pose no risk of undue or improper influence on Australia’s system of elections.

Download the HRLC submission here.

Following the submission, the HRLC addressed concerns raised by the Bill, download letter here

Submission: Secrecy offences: the wrong approach to necessary reform

The Australian government has introduced legislation to federal Parliament overhauling Commonwealth secrecy offences. The Human Rights Law Centre has told a parliamentary committee about the serious concerns raised by the new criminal offences for handling government information, concluding that the proposed regime has no place in a healthy democracy, in which open government and the freedom to scrutinise government must be maintained.

Download the HRLC submission here.

Submission: Putting an end to the over-criminalisation of public drinking in the Northern Territory

The Northern Territory police’s excessive lock up powers are being used unfairly and disproportionately against Aboriginal people, which in turn increases the risk of deaths in custody, the Human Rights Law Centre has told an expert panel undertaking a review of the Northern Territory’s alcohol laws.

Download the HRLC submission here.

Read the media release accompanying the submission here

Submission: Review of the Australian National Contact Point

Ideally, the ANCP’s role should be to promote corporate good behaviour in accordance with the Guidelines and to try to help resolve disputes between complainants and companies in an objective and constructive manner. Unfortunately, as this submission sets out, the ANCP has a poor record in performing these functions. It conducts little outreach, its processes are opaque and slow-moving, it frequently fails to follow important aspects of the Guidelines and it evidences a concerning lack of objectivity and due process in the way it handles complaints, with few meaningful outcomes.

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Submission: A fair and community-led approach to remote community and economic development

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in remote communities are being denied basic rights, equal treatment and fair payment for work as a result of Federal Government policy, the North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency and the Human Rights Law Centre told a Senate inquiry. In separate submissions to a Senate Committee examining the appropriateness and effectiveness of the Government’s Community Development Programme, both organisations have highlighted the inherent discrimination of the social security program.

Download the HRLC submission here.

Read the media release accompanying the submission here

Submission: Striking the right balance

The right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion or belief (hereafter referred to the right to freedom of religion or belief) is a fundamental, non-derogable right under international law. However, sadly, violations and abuses of the right to freedom of religion or belief continue around the world. Conversely, many human rights violations are perpetrated in the name of religion, including persecution of religious minorities, the subjugation of women, and attacks on gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people. This submission focuses on the status of the freedom of religion or belief in Australia and the gaps and issues relating to legal protection.

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Submission: Modern slavery in global supply chains

The HRLC seeks to ensure that Australian businesses are held accountable for the human rights impacts of their operations and that the Australian Government protects against corporate human rights abuses in accordance with its obligations under international and domestic law. Forced labour continues to affect millions of workers worldwide, including many in the supply chains of Australian companies. This Inquiry is a critical opportunity for the Australian Government to consider legislative action to help address an urgent global problem and show leadership on this issue within our region.

Download the HRLC submission here