The meaning of human rights in a Victorian context and the most appropriate way to protect and enhance those rights are matters of significant public interest and debate.
The four year review and inquiry is pursuant to section 44 of the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006. That provision requires the Attorney‐General to cause a review to be made of the first 4 years of the Charter’s operation for tabling in Parliament before 1 October 2011. The Scrutiny of Acts and Regulations Committee (SARC) was requested to undertake the review and inquiry by the Governor‐in‐Council Order dated 19th April 2011. In addition, three other terms of reference were provided to SARC which form part of this report.
In this report, SARC notes that the Charter is an ordinary statute capable of repeal or amendment. In addition, the Charter has built within it mandatory four year and eight year reviews, which of their very nature, contemplate change. The Charter has been in operation for over four years which presents an opportunity for a deeper and more evidence‐based analysis of the question of how best to protect human rights in Victoria than was possible under the initial consultation that led to the Charter.