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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 8 Hansard (22 August) . . Page.. 2460..


MR CORBELL (continuing):

Mr Speaker, I also note that the Canberra International Airport had the same opportunity to ask planning-related questions of ACTPLA and indeed took that opportunity. ACTPLA responded to the Canberra International Airport appropriately and consistently with other potential bidders conducting similar due diligence.

Human Rights Act—review

Paper and statement by minister

MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for Police and Emergency Services and Minister for Planning) (3.38): For the information of members, I present the following paper:

Human Rights Act, pursuant to subsection 43 (1)—Twelve-month review of act, dated June 2006, prepared by the Department of Justice and Community Safety.

I ask for leave to make a statement in relation to the paper.

Leave granted.

MR CORBELL: The Human Rights Act came into force on 1 July 2004. From then, most of the civil and political rights that are guaranteed under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights were incorporated into ACT law. The aim of the act is to establish a dialogue model for the protection of human rights in the ACT. The long-term aim is to build a human rights culture of tolerance and respect for human rights, reflecting the shared values of Canberrans. The first year of the act provided an opportunity to consider how the dialogue model was working and how it was helping to develop a human rights culture in the ACT. Now, after two years, it is possible to draw some conclusions about a number of fundamental issues.

The review report is the product of a yearlong engagement with stakeholders in the local legal community and the non-government sector. It began with a framework document issued to the second community forum sponsored by the human rights office and ended with a discussion paper released on the web sites of the Chief Minister and the Department of Justice and Community Safety.

The statutory review requirement was the product of non-government amendments to the Human Rights Bill in 2004. Undoubtedly, they reflected some concerns regarding departures from the model proposed by the ACT bill of rights consultative committee. The main departure was the decision not to expressly incorporate rights guaranteed under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Another was the decision not to include a direct duty and right of action to ensure compliance.

The statutory terms of reference prescribe a cascading focus for the review that is firmly rooted in the operation of the legislation, its impact on the judiciary, the legislature and the executive, and its effect in developing a human rights dialogue and culture in the ACT. Those terms of reference recognise that a sound performance in these areas will build the case for recognising economic, social and cultural rights but that it may be premature to consider this issue, or the issue of how to protect environment-related rights, if there are lingering concerns with the operation of the dialogue model and the


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