A human rights charter for Australia?

George Williams & Ron Dyer

The Australian Attorney-General announced a national consultation process on the protection and promotion of human rights in his Annual Evatt Lecture in 2008. The national consultation is about asking you to share your views on human rights. Please join us in the gracious Jubilee Room of Australia's oldest parliament for this special Evatt Foundation seminar to discuss the issues.

Our speakers

The Hon. Penny Sharpe, a Vice President of the Evatt Foundation and a NSW MLC, who is also the Parliamentary Secretary for Transport and the Attorney-General's representative on the NSW Privacy Advisory Committee (chairperson).

Professor George Williams, Anthony Mason Professor of Law and Foundation Director of the Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law at the Faculty of Law, UNSW. His 22 books include A Charter of Rights for Australia and The Oxford Companion to the High Court of Australia.

The Hon. Ron Dyer, a Vice President of the Evatt Foundation and a former NSW MLC, Minister for Community Services and Juvenile Justice, and chair of the NSW Standing Committee on Law and Justice, which included chairing the inquiry into the New South Wales Bill of Rights that recommended a scrutiny of bills function in the parliament.

Thursday 7 May, 6 p.m. until 7.30 p.m., Jubilee Room, NSW Parliament House

Light refreshments.

"The Committee is to set out the advantages and disadvantages, including social and economic costs and benefits, and an assessment of the level of community support for each option it identifies."

About the national consultation on human rights

The Commonwealth Government of Australia has given the Consultation Committee the following terms of reference:

1. The Committee will ask the Australian community:

• which human rights (including corresponding responsibilities) should be protected and promoted?
• are these human rights currently sufficiently protected and promoted?
• how could Australia better protect and promote human rights?

2. In conducting the consultation the Committee will:

• consult broadly with the community, particularly those who live in rural and regional areas;
• undertake a range of awareness raising activities to enhance participation in the consultation by a wide cross section of Australia's diverse community;
• seek out the diverse range of views held by the community about the protection and promotion of human rights;
• identify key issues raised by the community in relation to the protection and promotion of human rights.

3. The Committee will report to the Australian Government by 31 July 2009 on the issues raised and the options identified for the Government to consider. The Committee is to set out the advantages and disadvantages, including social and economic costs and benefits, and an assessment of the level of community support for each option it identifies.

The National Consultation Committee

The Consultation Committee consists of Father Frank Brennan (Chairperson), Mary Kostakidis, Mick Palmer and Tammy Williams, and it is supported by a Secretariat in the Attorney-General's Department.


Annual Evatt Lecture: 2008