Australian human rights protections are fragile and flawed, says ALA

12th Sep 2019

Recent events across Australia have highlighted how fragile and flawed our human rights protections currently are, says the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA).

“Raids on journalists and the attacks on press freedoms, the prosecution of Bernard Collaery and the potential repeal of Medevac are just some of the concerning developments that point to an inadequate national human rights framework,” said ALA National President, Mr Andrew Christopoulos.

“The current legal system does not do enough to protect human rights, and the events of recent time underscore the need for reform.”

In a response to the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) issues paper, the ALA has argued that additional human rights legislative protections are urgently required in Australia.

“We strongly support the development of a federal legislative human rights charter which would provide additional protection to human rights in Australia,” said Mr Christopoulos. “Such a charter would not only deliver protection but mandate accountability for institutions in the exercise of their statutory powers.” 

Australia is the only western democracy without a national Human Rights Act, Bill of Rights or Charter of Rights.

“We need to catch up with accepted and developing international standards when it comes to protecting the human rights of our citizens,” said Mr Christopoulos.

“A federal charter of rights would also lead to significant, positive, life-changing outcomes for some of the most disadvantaged people in our community, resulting in improved quality of services for people with disabilities, older people, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, veterans and other vulnerable persons.

“A public conversation is overdue. We welcome the AHRC’s decision to seek submissions and input into this issue.”

Read the ALA’s full submission here:

Tags: Human rights