Leading voices on human rights protection

UNSW legal experts have welcomed a landmark report's recommendation that Australia introduce a human rights act.

Humanrights inside

The National Human Rights Consultation report, commissioned by the federal government, has recommended the introduction of a national human rights act.

The consultation committee, chaired by Father Frank Brennan, says a human rights charter would prevent discrimination and enshrine individual freedoms.

With more than 40,000 people writing submissions or attending public hearings for the review, it is the largest community reaction to any consultation in the country's history.

Attorney-General Robert McClelland released the report in Canberra yesterday, promising a government response to the report's 31 recommendations by year's end.

UNSW experts from the Faculty of Law, including Ed Santow, Andrew Byrne, Andrea Durbach and George Williams, have been leading the debate, arguing for greater statutory protection of human rights in Australia.

In an opinion piece in the Sydney Morning Herald, Williams, Anthony Mason Professor of Law, argues the report should be implemented in full.

"Despite the many good things about our democracy, Australian law still routinely permits the treatment of people in ways that are unjust and infringe the dignity, respect and freedom to which we all should be entitled. Fortunately, the Brennan report shows a better way forward," he writes.

Media contact: Steve Offner, UNSW Media | 02 9385 8107 | 0424 580 208