Human rights – what do I need to know?



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Human rights – what do I need to know?





Human rights – what do I need to know? 1

1 What are my human rights? 2

1.1 Where do human rights come from? 2

1.2 Where are my human rights written down? 2

1.3 How do countries agree to protect human rights? 3

1.4 Which human rights treaties has Australia agreed to? 3

1.5 Who is responsible for making sure that my rights are respected? 4

1.6 Who can I complain to if I think my human rights have been breached? 5

1.7 What is the International Bill of Rights? 8

2 How are human rights protected in Australia? 12

2.1 The Australian Constitution 12

2.2 National legislation 13

2.3 State legislation 13

2.4 Common law 13

2.5 How does the Australian Human Rights Commission protect and promote human rights? 14

3 What are some of the human rights problems in Australia? 16

3.1 The rights of Indigenous Australians 17

3.2 The right not to be arbitrarily detained 18

4 How can we improve human rights protections in Australia? 20

4.1 Australia should adopt a national human rights law 20

4.2 Australians should have a say about how they want their rights to be protected 21

5 Should Australia have a Human Rights Act? 22

5.1 What other countries have legislation protecting human rights? 23

5.2 Is there any legislation protecting human rights in Australia already? 24

5.3 What difference would a federal Human Rights Act make? 26

5.4 What rights should a federal Human Rights Act include? 28

5.5 Responses to the common arguments against a Human Rights Act 30

6 Where can I find more information about a Human Rights Act for Australia? 33

6.1 Resources on a federal Human Rights Act 33

6.2 Australian Human Rights Commission submissions 33

6.3 Resources on state and territory legislation protecting human rights 33



  1. Directory: sites -> default -> files -> content -> letstalkaboutrights
    content -> Anti-Discrimination’ Law; Defining what ought be regarded as ‘Discrimination’ and the legal processes in adjudication
    content -> The Australian Federation of Islamic Councils Submission Freedom of Religion and Belief in the 21st Century Australian Human Rights Commission (hreoc) Introduction
    content -> Australian Federation of Deaf Societies Inc. Secretariat address: 37 Pearl Street
    content -> Chapter 5 Indigenous peoples and climate change
    content -> Religion in a Secular Society Nicholas Tonti-Filippini PhD (Melb) Associate Dean John Paul II institute for Marriage and Family
    letstalkaboutrights -> Human rights and counter-terrorism laws
    letstalkaboutrights -> Human rights and faith-based communities
    letstalkaboutrights -> Human rights and older people

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