Scrutiny update

On Tuesday, 9 May 2023 the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights tabled its Report 5 of 2023 which provides an analysis of the human rights compatibility of recently introduced bills and legislative instruments.

This update provides a summary of the legislation commented on in this report. Where the committee is seeking further information, this indicates it has not yet formed a concluded view, as further information is required to assess the relevant human rights implications. This summary is not intended to be a substitute for the views of the committee as set out in the committee's scrutiny reports.  

Bills (Report 5 of 2023)

Constitution Alteration (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice) 2023

  • The committee considers this bill promotes the rights to participate in public affairs, self-determination and equality and non-discrimination. It notes that the bill is aimed at achieving the legitimate objective of realising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples' right to self-determination and would not negatively affect the ability of others to enjoy or exercise their rights or freedoms.

Crimes And Other Legislation Amendment (Omnibus) Bill 2023

  • The committee is seeking further information regarding the compatibility with the rights to life and security of the person of providing the AFP Commissioner or delegate with the discretion to suspend a participant's witness protection or assistance.

Family Law Amendment Bill 2023

  • The committee considers that a number of measures in the bill to significantly amend the family law system would promote human rights (particularly the rights of the child) and any limitation on rights would be permissible. The committee recommends a minor amendment to the statement of compatibility.

Family Law Amendment (Information Sharing) Bill 2023

  • The committee recommends the bill be amended to specify the types of agencies who may share information with the court relating to family violence, child abuse and neglect risks in parenting proceedings, and the information-sharing safeguards that apply.

National Security Legislation Amendment (Comprehensive Review and Other Measures No. 2) Bill 2023

  • The committee considers it is not possible to fully assess the compatibility with the right to privacy of permitting ASIO to use and disclose spent convictions information, as applicable safeguards are unknown, and draws this to the attention of the Parliament.

Social Security (Administration) Amendment (Income Management Reform) Bill 2023 and related instruments

  • Consistent with its previous comments regarding compulsory income management, the committee draws to the attention of Parliament its concerns that this bill, in expanding access to the enhanced income management regime, risks impermissibly limiting the rights to social security, privacy, equality and non-discrimination and the rights of the child.

Social Services Legislation Amendment (Child Support Measures) Bill 2023

  • The committee is seeking further information as to the compatibility with the right to freedom of movement of expanding the circumstances in which a child support debtor may be refused departure from Australia.

Legislative instruments (Report 5 of 2023)

Australian Immunisation Register Amendment (Japanese Encephalitis Virus) Rules 2022 [F2022L01712]

  • The committee has recommended that an existing broad ministerial power to disclose personal information from the Australian Immunisation Register be amended to better protect the right to privacy.

Family Law (Bilateral Arrangements—Intercountry Adoption) Regulations 2023 [F2023L00309]

  • The committee is seeking further information as to whether facilitating intercountry adoption between Australia and 'prescribed overseas jurisdictions' that are not a party to a Hague Convention on intercountry adoption, may limit the rights of the child and the right to protection of the family.

Social Security (Tables for the Assessment of Work-related Impairment for Disability Support Pension) Determination 2023 [F2023L00188]

  • The committee draws to the Parliament's attention its concerns that the method for assessing eligibility for the Disability Support Pension may not constitute a permissible limitation on the right to equality and non-discrimination (on the basis of disability) or the rights to social security and an adequate standard of living.