Page 725 - Week 02 - Thursday, 10 March 2011

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Bill agreed to in principle.

Leave granted to dispense with the detail stage.

Bill agreed to.

Human Rights Act 2004


Debate resumed from 18 August 2009, on motion by Mr Corbell:

That the Assembly take note of the paper.

Mr Rattenbury: I will not be taking my option to speak, Madam Assistant Speaker; I believe Ms Hunter will.

MS HUNTER (Ginninderra—Parliamentary Convenor, ACT Greens) (11.41): The Greens are very pleased to have the opportunity to reflect upon the issues raised in the review and put our views on the process towards being a more human rights compliant jurisdiction. The report highlights the range of improvements that can be made to the Human Rights Act and the process we go through as a legislature to ensure that we are protecting human rights.

If we do truly want to be a jurisdiction that not only respects basic human rights but consistently strives to be a leader in human rights protection for the full range of human rights that we should all enjoy, we must not only take note of the findings but move to implement them.

The Greens remain very strong supporters of the value of a Human Rights Act and maintain our ongoing commitment to ensuring that all legislative, executive and judicial action in the territory respects and does not unreasonably limit human rights. To this end, we included measures in the parliamentary agreement to further the human rights cause in the Assembly and the territory. These measures are considered favourably by the report and the Greens hope that we can work constructively with all members of the Assembly to implement effective measures that improve Assembly process and human rights outcomes.

It is through the Human Rights Act that we show our real commitment to human rights. What this report shows is, firstly, that in the first five years the Human Rights Act has been a practical and effective means of promoting human rights and, secondly, that its potential has not been fully explored. Indeed there is much that still can be improved and achieved in our effort to remain a leading human rights jurisdiction.

One consistent theme throughout the report is the need for improved education on human rights responsibilities. The report strongly advocates for greater education on the operation and application of the Human Rights Act at all levels and throughout all arms of government. Particular attention is given in the report to government agencies and those entrusted with exercising discretionary functions. Emphasis is placed on the need to educate officials in these roles as well as those responsible for developing

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