On 31 October, State and Territory ACHRA members met to discuss human rights issues relevant to their jurisdictions. The ACHRA members listed at the end of this document endorse the following statements.
Inquiry into Australia’s human rights framework
ACHRA members discussed the Parliamentary Joint Committee for Human Rights inquiry into Australia’s human rights framework. The Council reiterates support for establishing a national Human Rights Framework and a Human Rights Act.
Human rights in youth justice custodial settings
ACHRA is concerned by human rights violations against children in custodial settings and urges governments to consider a national approach to protect human rights in youth detention settings. ACHRA supports establishing a national Taskforce to reform the youth justice system.
First Nations human rights
The Council was joined by Justin Mohamed, Ambassador for First Nations People, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, to discuss the Ambassador’s role in leading Commonwealth Government efforts to undertake consultation with First Nations communities, embed indigenous experiences and interests and develop a First Nations Foreign Policy Strategy. ACHRA also discussed the impact of the recent Voice to Parliament referendum on First Nations peoples across Australia and the Council committed to continue its work to improve First Nations human rights.
National disability standards and access to public transport
Addressing disability human rights issues around access to public transport, remains one of ACHRA’s focus areas. ACHRA notes the continued discrimination experienced by disability communities when accessing public transport and discussed this issue in the context of recent complaints data and the Australian Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport. ACHRA will continue advocating for improved access to transport for people with disability.
Australian database of online hate
State and Territory members appreciated guests from NSW Premier’s Department and Deakin University presenting on the Australian Database of Online Hate pilot, multi-jurisdictional initiative with broad national application, coordinated by the Department of Home Affairs. ACHRA hopes the pilot will address data gaps in hate and violent extremism and improve responses to these issues.
Human rights and climate change
Dr Ian Fry, United Nations Special Rapporteur of Climate Change presented to State and Territory members on his mandate to protect human rights in the context of climate change. The Special Rapporteur’s many functions include undertaking country visits, highlighting issues via the media, diplomatic consultations and annual reporting to the United Nations.
LGBTIQA+ human rights
Progressing LGBTIQA+ human rights remains a key area of interest for ACHRA. Anna Brown, Chief Executive Officer of Equality Australia met with State and Territory ACHRA members to discuss current opportunities to improve LGBTIQA+ human rights, including law reform.
2023 ACHRA conference
ACHRA staff participated in the online two-day ACHRA Conference 'Surviving and Supporting Change' across 19 and 20 October 2023. The biannual conference covers human rights, dispute resolution, policy and legal, and education and training. ACHRA First Nations staff came together prior to the conference to discuss interjurisdictional issues and presented to the conference.
For further information, contact the following ACHRA members:
Dr Penelope Mathew, ACT President and Human Rights Commissioner
Karen Toohey, Discrimination, Health Services, Disability & Community Services Commissioner
02 6205 2222
Helen McKenzie, President
Mia Zahra, Executive Manager, Anti-Discrimination NSW
02 9268 5514
Jeswynn Yogaratnam, Commissioner, Northern Territory Anti-Discrimination Commission
08 8999 1444
Scott McDougall, Queensland Human Rights Commissioner
07 3021 9123
Jodeen Carney, South Australian Equal Opportunity Commissioner
08 7322 7070
Sarah Bolt, Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Commissioner
03 6165 7515
Ro Allen (ACHRA Chair), Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commissioner
0437 084 175
Dr John Byrne, Western Australian Commissioner for Equal Opportunity
08 9216 3900
Leanne Smith, Chief Executive
02 9284 9740