At the dissolution of the Senate and the House of Representatives on 9 May 2016 for a general election on 2 July 2016, the parliamentary committees of the 44th Parliament ceased to exist. However, information about the committee is still available on this website. In the election period responses to human rights issues previously raised by the committee should be addressed to the Committee Secretary.
Information on this committee in the 45th Parliament will be presented here as soon as it is available.
Role of the committee
The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights (the committee) is established by the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011 (the Act). The committee's main function is to examine all bills and legislative instruments for compatibility with human rights, and to report to both Houses of Parliament on its findings.
The resolution of appointment governing the committee’s operation is available here.
Human rights considered by the committee
Human rights are defined in the Act as the rights and freedoms contained in seven core human rights treaties to which Australia is a party. These treaties are:
The committee usually publishes its reports in each joint sitting week. The reports provide the committee's view on the compatibility of bills introduced into Parliament, and legislative instruments received, since its last report. The beginning of Chapter 1 of each report specifies the relevant period for legislation considered in that report.
Each report specifies all of the bills examined by the committee in the relevant period.
However, given the large number of legislative instruments examined, the reports do not list each of the legislative instruments examined in the relevant period, but only those which raise human rights concerns. The comprehensive record of all instruments examined by the committee in a relevant period is contained in the Journals of the Senate.
The committee undertakes its review of legislation as a technical inquiry relating to Australia's international human rights obligations. The committee does not consider the broader policy merits of legislation. The committee emphasises the importance of establishing and maintaining an effective dialogue between the committee and legislation proponents that contributes to the broader respect for and recognition of human rights in Australia.
The committee's reports primarily focus on legislation which raises human rights concerns, having regard to the information provided by the legislation proponent in the explanatory memorandum and statement of compatibility.
The committee’s reports can be accessed on the Committee Reports page.
PJCHR mailing list
To subscribe to the committee's mailing list, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with 'Subscribe PJCHR Mailing List' as the subject line.