Page 1565 - Week 04 - Thursday, 29 March 2012

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The government response to this report is the latest step in the ACT’s human rights journey. I say “journey” deliberately, as this is the first step in the future of economic, social and cultural rights in our territory. The government strongly support the continuing development of the territory’s commitment to human rights. To ensure the journey continues, we are committed to reviewing, after two years, the operation of the right to education with the view to considering whether additional economic, social and cultural rights should be included in the Human Rights Act.

The government’s responses to these reports again demonstrate our commitment to human rights, and, as members would know, I introduced a bill this morning to make these necessary legislative arrangements.

The ACT will be the first jurisdiction in Australia to legislate for any economic, social or cultural rights. I am proud to be part of a jurisdiction—and part of a Labor government—that is prepared to stand up and declare that our inherent rights should be enjoyed equally and that all people are entitled to have their rights protected.

Finally, I again extend my thanks to the members of the research teams for the quality work that they have done in preparing the two reports. In particular, I acknowledge the leadership of professors Hilary Charlesworth and Andrew Byrnes in both projects. I also acknowledge the considerable efforts of Ms Kate Harkins and Ms Pam Jenkins from the Justice and Community Safety Directorate in progressing this important initiative, particularly through the public consultation process.

I commend the government response to the Assembly.


Dr Bourke presented the following papers:

Education Act, pursuant to section 118A—Non-Government Schools Education Council—Advice on ACT Budget Considerations for 2012-2013, dated 22 February 2012.

Annual Reports (Government Agencies) Act, pursuant to subsection 14(7)—Extension of time for presenting annual report 2011—Statement of reasons—Canberra Institute of Technology.

ACT Corrective Services and Alexander Maconochie Centre reviews—progress report

Paper and statement by minister

DR BOURKE (Ginninderra—Minister for Education and Training, Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, Minister for Industrial Relations and Minister for Corrections) (3.13): For the information of members I present the following paper:

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