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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2020 Week 04 Hansard (Thursday, 7 May 2020) . . Page.. 1005 ..


period of chaos, upheaval and uncertainty created by the mixed messaging and toing and froing from this government. That goes additionally to our more vulnerable children. After this period of uncertainty, the focus must now be on the safest and most sustainable route back to normal school life. That is something that we will be keeping a very close eye on.

Amendment agreed to.

Original question, as amended, resolved in the affirmative.

Human Rights (Workers Rights) Amendment Bill 2019

Debate resumed from 27 November 2019, on motion by Ms Cody:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MR RATTENBURY (Kurrajong—Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability, Minister for Corrections and Justice Health, Minister for Justice, Consumer Affairs and Road Safety and Minister for Mental Health) (4.10): With my ministerial responsibility for this portfolio, I am representing the government today. The government will be supporting this bill. However, I intend to move some minor technical amendments, which I will come to later in the debate.

The proposed Human Rights (Workers Rights) Amendment Bill 2019 will amend the Human Rights Act 2004 to provide workers with a number of work-related rights, including the right to work; to join a work-related organisation, including a trade union; to enjoy just and favourable conditions of work; and to enjoy these rights without discrimination.

When enacted as Australia’s first legislative bill of rights, the Human Rights Act 2004 contained only rights drawn from the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and did not incorporate economic, social and cultural rights. That was because the ACT government committed to a measured approach and to assessing the impact of the Human Rights Act before considering the inclusion of economic, social and cultural rights.

In 2010 an Australian Research Council linkage project between the Australian National University and the Justice and Community Safety Directorate examined the feasibility of introducing economic, social and cultural rights into the Human Rights Act. The final report of the project recommended the introduction of a range of economic, social and cultural rights into the Human Rights Act, including the right to housing; the right to health; the right to education; the right to take part in cultural life; and the right to work, including the right to enjoy just and favourable work conditions and the right to form and join work-related organisations.

The government response to the project report noted that an incremental approach to the adoption of economic, social and cultural rights was preferred, with the right to education being the initial focus but with the potential for further economic, social and cultural rights to be considered over time.


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