On 15 March 2023, pursuant to section 7(c) of the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011, the Attorney-General referred to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights the following matters for inquiry and report by 31 March 2024:
- to review the scope and effectiveness of Australia's 2010 Human Rights Framework and the National Human Rights Action Plan;
- to consider whether the Framework should be re-established, as well as the components of the Framework, and any improvements that should be made;
- to consider developments since 2010 in Australian human rights laws (both at the Commonwealth and State and Territory levels) and relevant case law; and
- to consider any other relevant matters.
The committee accepted submissions in relation to these matters, and in particular:
- whether the Australian Parliament should enact a federal Human Rights Act, and if so, what elements it should include (including by reference to the Australian Human Rights Commission's recent Position Paper);
- whether existing mechanisms to protect human rights in the federal context are adequate and if improvements should be made, including:
- to the remit of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights;
- the role of the Australian Human Rights Commission;
- the process of how federal institutions engage with human rights, including requirements for statements of compatibility; and
- the effectiveness of existing human rights Acts/Charters in protecting human rights in the Australian Capital Territory, Victoria and Queensland, including relevant caselaw, and relevant work done in other states and territories.
Upcoming public hearings
- Wednesday 27 September: Sydney
- Thursday 28 September: Sydney
- Friday 20 October: Canberra