Queensland Human Rights Bill Passed

The Human Rights Bill 2018 (Qld) (Bill) was passed on 27 February 2019 and is now awaiting assent.

The Human Rights Act 2018 (Cth) (Act) is claimed to consolidate and establish statutory protections for human rights recognised under international law, including those drawn from the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the rights to health services and education drawn from the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and property rights drawn from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. As indicated in our earlier briefing, here, only limited rights are recognised and even then in a way marked different to that established under international law.

The Act will also, according to the Government:

  • ensure that public functions are exercised in a way that is compatible with human rights
  • promote a dialogue about the nature, meaning and scope of human rights, and
  • rename and repower the Anti-Discrimination Commission Queensland as the Queensland Human Rights Commission to:
    • provide a dispute resolution process for dealing with human rights complaints, and
    • promote an understanding, acceptance and public discussion of human rights.

We remain concerned about the Bill and its potential to limit fundamental human rights.  We will be continuing to press for religious freedom rights to be recognised in a manner consistent with international law and Australia’s obligations under international instruments.