The Society recently delivered the below open letter to the State Parliamentary Labor Party. We look forward to working with our members and supporters to deliver a Human Rights Act in the next NSW parliamentary term.
There are a great many important legal reforms that were ignored by the previous government. We look forward to working with you and your office to achieve meaningful changes to the justice system that are within the purview of a progressive and forward-thinking Labor government.
We note the following commitments made by NSW Labor prior to the NSW State Election. The NSW Labor Platform endorsed by Conference provides at paragraphs 2.75 to 2.77:
- 2.75 NSW Labor in government will update and reform the anti-discrimination framework and legislation to ensure protection for groups that are not adequately protected and will remove exemptions which privilege religion over other protected attributes, while failing to extend similar protections on other grounds.
- 2.76 NSW Labor supports a community consultation into the introduction of further legislation to better protect the human rights of NSW residents when law is interpreted and applied.
- 2.77 NSW Labor supports improvements to the processes for parliamentary scrutiny of legislation in line with human rights principles so that the human rights of NSW residents are properly protected when law is developed.
Together these commitments bind the State Parliamentary Labor Party to reviewing the anti-discrimination and human rights framework in New South Wales.
We are on the record as supporting the introduction of a Human Rights Act in this state, to bring our human rights framework into line with other eastern states and territories including Victoria, Queensland, and the Australian Capital Territory. In those states and territories, the introduction of human rights legislation has not taken power away from the sovereignty of parliament as many against the reforms predicted. Rather, it has substantially improved the conversation about human rights and the identification of problematic human rights practices. New South Wales could significantly benefit from similar legislation.
More information about the campaign for a Human Rights Act in New South Wales is available via the Human Rights for NSW Alliance website, of which the Society is a member (www.humanrightsfornsw.org).
In the coming months our Society will be hosting an event about a Human Rights Act in combination with other like-minded organisations. We look forward to welcoming you to the event and commencing the discussion about how these commitments by NSW Labor can be put into practice in the coming term.