Position paper

Australia has strong sense of human rights and freedoms, but the basic human rights of Australian people are not very well protected in Australian law. Australia is the only liberal democracy in the world that does not have a national act or charter of rights that explains what people’s basic rights are and how they can be protected. 

Some states and territories in Australia have their own Human Rights Act, but Australia needs a national Human Rights Act to ensure that the rights of all Australian are protected, all of the time.

The Australian Human Rights Commission has developed a model for what a national Human Rights Act might look like, how it could function, and what it would do.

Key messages

  • The Commission’s model would create legal protections for the human rights of all Australians, and ways to seek justice if people’s rights are breached in some way.
  • It would also provide options for people to challenge decisions that breach their human rights, and opportunities to go to court if their issues can’t be resolved through conciliation.
  • This model would also increase the responsibility that governments have, to consider how their laws, policies, and actions might affect people’s human rights.
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