I will advocate and vote for a Human Rights Act to protect all Tasmanians from abuse and exploitation.
A Human Rights Act would provide better protections to vulnerable people and communities facing structural and individual discrimination, than is currently provided under anti-discrimination law.
I will always advocate (and vote where possible!) for a Human Rights Act to protect all Tasmanians from abuse and exploitation. This Act would provide far better legal protections for vulnerable people and communities than we currently have under anti-discrimination law.
This is in line with advice from legal experts and community advocates from all sectors- such as Equal Opportunity, TasCOSS, COTA, Equality Tasmania, Women's Legal Service, Anglicare, Tenants' Union of Tasmania, PFLAG, Tasmanian Aboriginal Community Legal Service, Amnesty International, CPSU, Environmental Defenders Office, to name just a few.
This might seem airy-fairy to some folks, but establishing a Human Rights Act will have immediate and far-reaching implications for us in our everyday lives. For example, Parliament would be bound to make decisions that are consistent with the Act: so we wouldn't have to have this argument about anti-protest laws again. The Act also contains clauses about protecting our environment from degradation, so we wouldn't be able to open up new mines or destroy world-heritage forests any more. There would be a Human Rights Commissioner who would attend court proceedings to interpret the Act, ensuring it is properly interpreted. If we have a "right to adequate food, clothing and housing", it then becomes the responsibility of government to align its policies and strategies to actually deliver those things for people. If we have a "right to self-determination", "freedom from discrimination" and "the highest standard of physical and mental health" we're going to have to open more sexual and reproductive health clinics, actually have that abortion clinic the Liberal government promised and failed to deliver 3 years ago (FFS), free and equal access to quality mental healthcare, and have enough beds and staff in our public hospitals that people aren't literally dying on waitlists and in the ED.
Rights in a Tasmanian Human Rights Act, according to the Tasmanian Law Reform Institute:
- The right to life;
- The protection of the family and children;
- The right to liberty and security of the person;
- The right to humane treatment when detained;
- The right to a fair hearing;
- The right of children to special treatment in the criminal justice process;
- The right to compensation for wrongful conviction;
- The right not to be tried or punished for conduct that was not a criminal offence when it was engaged in (freedom from retrospective punishment);
- The right not to be imprisoned for a contractual debt;
- The right to privacy and reputation;
- Freedom of movement;
- Freedom of conscience, thought, religion and belief;
- Freedom of expression;
- Freedom of association and peaceful assembly and the right to form and join trade unions;
- The right to vote and to participate in public life;
- The right to self-determination;
- The right to recognition as a person before the law;
- The right to equality before the law and to equal protection of the law;
- Freedom from discrimination;
- The right of ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities to enjoy their own culture;
- The right of Indigenous Tasmanians to maintain their distinctive identity, culture, kinship ties and spiritual, material and economic relationship with the land;
- The right not to be subject to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment;
- Freedom from slavery and forced work;
- The right to work and just conditions of work;
- The right of children not to be exploited economically or socially;
- The right to adequate food, clothing and housing;
- The right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health;
- The right to education;
- The right not to be deprived of property except on just terms;
- The right to a safe environment and to the protection of the environment from pollution and ecological degradation; and
- Freedom from genocide.
More info is available on the Tasmanian Human Rights Act Campaign website