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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 14 Hansard (Thursday, 9 December 2010) . . Page.. 6124 ..

Economic, social and cultural rights research project—report


MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for the Environment, Climate Change and Water, Minister for Energy and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (3.50): For the information of members, I present the following paper:

Australian Capital Territory Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Research Project—Australian Research Council Linkage Project LP0989167—Report, dated September 2010.

I move:

That the Assembly take note of the paper.

It gives me great pleasure today to table a report on options for recognition of economic, social and cultural rights in the ACT human rights framework. It is significant that the report is being tabled today, as tomorrow, 10 December, is United Nations Human Rights Day, which marks the anniversary of the UN General Assembly’s adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. The ACT has a proud history in the protection and promotion of human rights, being the first jurisdiction in Australia to enact a legislative bill of rights in the form of a Human Rights Act, which commenced in 2004.

Last year I was pleased to be able to table in this place a report on five years of operation of our Human Rights Act. The government is continuing to examine the recommendations made in that report, which was prepared as the result of research undertaken by the Australian National University in conjunction with my department as an industry partner under a grant funded by the Australian Research Council.

The report I table today continues in the tradition of what has now become a productive and collaborative relationship for the ACT with the Australian National University. On this occasion this well-presented, thoroughly researched and comprehensive report has been prepared by a research team led by two internationally recognised human rights lawyers, Professor Hilary Charlesworth from the Australian National University and Professor Andrew Byrnes from the University of New South Wales.

The project was funded by the Australian Research Council, and the ACT Department of Justice and Community Safety was again proud to be involved as an industry partner. The project examined whether the Human Rights Act should be amended to explicitly incorporate those rights included in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and, if so, the likely impact of such incorporation on governance in the ACT.

The report is the first step in honouring the government’s commitment to consider the question of whether rights covered under the Human Rights Act should be expanded to include economic, social and cultural rights. The report provides a rigorous account

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