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Flashcards in Protecting and Enforcing HR Deck (101)
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What is role of ICRC

  • Protecting life and dignity of victims of Intl and other armed conflicts.


What is the role of AHRC 1986

  • To deal mainly with alleged violations of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975(Cth) and the Sex Discrimination Act 1984(Cth) but also to report and deal with human rights generally
  • Investigates alleged complaints of discrimination and breaches of human rights and then try to conciliate the complaint. if not resolved matter will go to Federal Court of Australia which has power to make enforceable orders.
  • Promote public awareness and provide legal advice
  • Conduct public inquiries e.g. 1997 inquiry into the separation of indigenous children from their families – the Stolen Generation which recommended an apology by the govt to the victims; children in immigration detention; racial violence’ same-sex entitlements
  • Make submissions to parliament and government on development of HR law


How as AHRC establsihed

Human Rights Commission Act 1986 (Cth)


What was result of ABC Four Corners 'Australia's Shame' July, 2016

Resulted in ‘The Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory’ being established immediately after 


What is a charter of rights

A charter of rights is a legal document which sets out the civil and political rights of citizens in a country


Main arguments for a charter

  • Extremely high community support
  • Remedying the shortcomings of existing HR protections
  • Reflecting basic Australian values
  • Protecting marginalised and disadvantaged
  • Improve the quality and accountability of govt 'push for charter of rights amid creeping erosion of media freedoms' SMH 
  • Brings Australia in line with other democracies improving how Intl community views Australia with regard to HR NZ and US both have intl bill of rights


Main arguments against a charter

  • Current HR protections in Australia are adequate
  • Undermining the tradition of parliamentary sovereignty, including transferring legislative power to unelected judges
  • Potentially negative outcome for HR
  • Would lead to excessive and costly litigation
  • Democratic processes and institutions offer better protections of rights


Previous pushes for a charter

  • 1944 – Labor govt tried to introduce constitutional amendments to guarantee freedom of expression and freedom from want and fear
  • 2008 – Federal Attorney General Robert McClelland announced an inquiry called the National Human Rights Consultation into whether we should adopt some form of Charter of Rights: result 87.4% in favour AU Govt rejected recommendations
  • 2010 – Rudd govt failed to attempt to introduce a charter of HR.


How does Aus Constitution protect human rights

  • Lays out system of Govt s51 (seperation of powers and division of powers)
  • Establishes express and implied rights


How does seperation of powers protect HR 

  • Written into Aus constitution
  • Divides power between legislature, executive and judciary
  • Means no one arm has too much power and allows for checks and balances e.g. no member of parliament can influence a judge's decision
  • Avoids arbitrary use of power and upholds the rule of law
  • Both legislature and judiciary can make laws to protect HR LEPRA 2002 NSW and Dietrich v The Queen
  • Judiciary can challenge law if they believe it contravenes their HR e.g. Croome v Tasmania 1997
  • Ultimately ensures no one is above the law and provides fairness before the law


How does the Division of Powers protect HR 

  • Outlined in s51 of constitution
  • Outlines that federal govt has specific powers to make laws on certain things
  • Powers not listed in the Constitution are deemed residual powers for the states
  • Acts as a check on federal govt and ensures that power is not too centralised in one place.