- Earlier this year, Queensland passed a new law to protect human rights. The ACT and Victoria also have human rights legislation.
- Human rights protections available in NSW are piecemeal and remedies are complex to access. It raises the question of whether the time has come for NSW to adopt a human rights act.
- An advantage of NSW being a late adopter of human rights legislation is that we can learn from the experience of other jurisdictions.
Earlier this year, Queensland passed the Human Rights Bill 2018, an event several decades in the making.
The new law provides protections for 23 human rights and, in the words of Queensland’s Attorney-General Yvette D’ath, aims to ‘facilitate a discussion … about human rights within and between the three arms of government’.
Queensland’s human rights act follows the passage of the ACT’s Human Rights Act 2004 and Victoria’s Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006.
Prior to the 2019 state election, the Law Society’s State Election Policy Platform called on all parties in NSW to commit to enacting human rights legislation. The platform identified ‘a clear need for better safeguards of individual rights and freedoms in NSW’, and referred to the experience of neighbouring states.
Against this backdrop, this article considers the question: is it time for NSW to adopt a human rights act – and what might such a law look like?