Legislative responsibility needed to protect our most vulnerable
Australia's Human Rights Commissioner will today argue there is a deficit in our democratic process that leaves disadvantaged members of society vulnerable to human rights violations.
Justice Branson QC, who will deliver the 2010 University of Newcastle Human Rights and Social Justice Lecture, said policy and law makers were not required to consider human rights as part of their work.
In her speech, What Does it Mean to Believe in Human Rights in Australia, Justice Branson will suggest that a shake-up of the democratic process is needed to obligate all spheres of government to consider how policies affect basic human rights.
"Unfortunately, Australia is a long way from having a well-developed human rights culture," Justice Branson said.
"Many people in this country are not familiar with their own human rights or their obligation to respect the human rights of others."
Justice Branson said the continued detention of refugee children and the Federal Government's emergency intervention in Northern Territory Indigenous communities, were examples of how the democratic process had failed to adequately protect human rights.
Results from a national consultation undertaken by the Human Rights Commission found the majority of participants believed human rights were inadequately protected in Australia, Justice Branson said.
"The Commission strongly supports a broad-based community human rights education program, as well as enhanced parliamentary scrutiny processes to consider the human rights implications of new laws and policies."
The 2010 University of Newcastle Human Rights and Social Justice Lecture will be delivered by Justice Catherine Branson, QC at 1pm Thursday 2 September in the Nursing Lecture Theatre, Callaghan Campus.
Media are welcome.
Justice Catherine Branson is available for interviews on Thursday 2 September.
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