• Consultation receives over 34,000 submissions

    Fr Frank Brennan     |      June 26, 2009

    The National Human Rights Consultation Committee announced that they had received over 34,000 submissions as part of a nation-wide consultation on human rights in Australia.

    I would like to thank all those who have participated in our blog these past weeks.  There has been some very informed discussion. 

    I and my committee members now look forward to the public hearings in the Great Hall of Parliament House next week.

    There will be plenty of opportunity for public involvement at the hearings from 1-3 July.

    You can register for the public hearings at the National Human Rights Consultation website.

    The program is available here.

    After the hearings, I and the committee will be able to settle down to the task of writing a report drawing on the 35,000 submissions received and the 70 community consultations attended by 4,300 persons.

    The National Human Rights Online Consultation was closed at 5:00pm AEST (Australian Eastern Standard Time) on Friday, 26 June 2009. 
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  • Which human rights and responsibilities should be protected and promoted?

    Fr Frank Brennan     |      May 19, 2009

    When you are trying to describe human rights, think of the core values which you believe should underpin our society.

    In 2005, an inquiry was conducted into the Government’s handling of Australian citizen Cornelia Rau. This inquiry brought up a number of issues relating to human rights in Australia. Namely, rights relating to immigration, detention and the rights of the mentally ill.

    The inquiry and accompanying public debate raised a number of questions about our responsibilities to protect those rights. What is the responsibility of Government? Of the community? Of the individual?

    Not everyone knows which human rights we have in Australia. Not everyone agrees about which rights we should have. Questions exist about what those rights should be and whose responsibility it should be to protect them.

    When becoming an Australian citizen a person says:

  • Are human rights and responsibilities sufficiently protected and promoted?

    Fr Frank Brennan     |      May 19, 2009

    Would you be able to explain to a new Australian citizen how our rights and liberties are protected and promoted?

  • How could Australia better protect and promote human rights and responsibilities?

    Fr Frank Brennan     |      May 19, 2009

    When it comes to human rights, there is always room for improvement.

  • Should Australia Have a Statutory Bill or Charter of Rights?

    Fr Frank Brennan     |      May 19, 2009

    The question of a bill or charter of rights is integral to our national conversation about how human rights might be better protected and promoted in Australia.

    As a lawyer with a keen interest in human rights and youth issues, it has always struck me as strange that many Australians, whilst familiar with America’s Bill of Rights, understand little about how human rights are protected and promoted in our own backyard. Many seem to be under the impression that Australia has our own Bill of Rights. We don’t.

    The question of an Australian bill or charter of rights has certainly been a hot topic during the National Human Rights Consultation. It is consistently raised both at our consultations and in people’s submissions. It has also inspired great debate in the political arena as well as in the media.