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National Human Rights Consultation: Getting involved Emily Howie Human Rights Law Resource Centre Ltd www.hrlrc.org.au + 61 3 8636 4450.

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Presentation on theme: "National Human Rights Consultation: Getting involved Emily Howie Human Rights Law Resource Centre Ltd www.hrlrc.org.au + 61 3 8636 4450."— Presentation transcript:

1 National Human Rights Consultation: Getting involved Emily Howie Human Rights Law Resource Centre Ltd

2 Outline 1. Background to the National Consultation 2. How to write a submission for your organisation 3. Encouraging and facilitating others to make submissions 4. Resources

3 The National Consultation Announced by the Commonwealth Attorney-General on 10 December 2008 – the 60th anniversary of the UDHR Appointment of an independent Consultation Committee: Father Frank Brennan (Chair) Mick Palmer Mary Kostakidis Tammy Williams Submissions to the Consultation are due by 15 June 2009 Committee to report to Government by 31 August 2009

4 Consultation Questions 1.Which human rights (including corresponding responsibilities) should be protected and promoted? 2.Are these human rights currently sufficiently protected and promoted? 3.How could Australia better protect and promote human rights?

5 A Significant Opportunity Three reasons why you should participate: 1. This is a once in a generation opportunity 2. Significant gaps in the protection of human rights 3. Human rights protection can improve public services, promote transparency and accountability and empower individuals

6 Key features of a federal Human Rights Act Model to be proposed by the HRLRC Parliament  Scrutiny of new legislation ‘Public authorities’  Obligation to give proper consideration to and act compatibility with human rights when developing policy and delivering services Courts  Statutory interpretation  Declarations of Inconsistent Interpretation

7 Values and benefits of enhanced legislative protection Experiences in countries shows that human rights laws can: lead to improved public service delivery and outcomes be used to secure positive changes not only to individual circumstances, but also to policies and procedures at a systemic level Be used by individual and organisations in front-line advocacy to achieve a positive change for their client Stories from the Victorian Charter: Health care for involuntary mental health patient

8 Making submissions It’s a numbers game… every submission counts, no matter how large or small You and your organisation can: 1. Write a submission on behalf of your organisation 2. Encourage other organisations and individuals to make a submission 3. Facilitate clients to make a submission 4. Write a submission yourself The National Consultation also presents a significant opportunity for education and awareness raising – for the community and advocates

9 Writing your own organisation’s submission Some questions to consider: What expertise and experience do we have? What value can our organisation add? What resources do we have?

10 Writing your own organisation’s submission What should we include in our submission? Focus on areas and rights that you know the most about Provide examples of experiences of your organisation:  Good news stories – where human rights protection has helped (there may be some examples of this in Vic)  ‘Unfair’ outcomes - where better human rights protection might have been useful

11 Small groups discussion 1. Have you had any situations of ‘unfair’ treatment where you think that better human rights protection might have been useful?

12 Encouraging and facilitating others You are in an ideal position to help people share their personal experiences Think about whether your organisation could: 1. Run devolved consultations 2. Attend the Consultation Committee’s forums – or encourage individuals to do so 3. Offer assistance to individuals and other organisations 4. Distribute resources, such as fact sheets, template submissions

13 2.Consultation Committee’s community forums List of venues and dates available at 3.Assist individuals and other organisations Offer a contact point within your organisation who can provide assistance Run a workshop – like this one!

14 4.Distribute Resources HRLRC’s ‘Submission Kit’ One-page overview of the Consultation Thematic fact sheets Right-specific fact sheets Template submissions More detailed resources “Engaging in the Debate” Australian Human Rights Commission’s toolkit

15 Further Resources National Human Rights Consultation website: Human Rights Law Resource Centre: “Engaging in the Debate” Human Rights Law Resource Manual Searchable Database of Case Law Articles, Materials and Commentary Monthly E-Bulletin


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