Attorney General to be applauded for rights approach

The Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) has today applauded the NSW Attorney General, Bob Debus, for declaring his support for a charter of rights for NSW and to pursue this support through Cabinet.

Ms Robin Banks, Chief Executive Officer of PIAC said today:

We applaud the Attorney General, Bob Debus, for his leadership in NSW on this issue. He rightly acknowledges that a charter would provide an important protection for human rights at a time when a range of extraordinary laws have been introduced by both the NSW and Federal government in response to the threat of terrorism. Many of those laws cut across the fundamental human rights recognised across the globe.

Mr Debus, through his actions, is providing the NSW Government with opportunity to send a positive signal to the electorate that the NSW Government recognises and supports fundamental human rights for all residents of NSW.

PIAC calls on the Cabinet to support this important development and to provide as broad an opportunity as possible for the people of NSW to contribute their views and ideas on the scope and content of a Charter of Rights for NSW.

The move in NSW follows the enactment of a legislative Charter in the ACT by the Labor Government under Chief Minister Jon Stanhope, the recent announcement by Victorian Attorney-General Rob Hulls that Victoria will proceed with a Charter of Rights, and the reference by the former Tasmanian Labor Attorney General, Judy Jackson, of the issue of a charter of rights to the Tasmanian Law Reform Institute.

Ms Banks noted:

PIAC has been undertaking training across Australia to encourage Australians from all walks of life to develop an understanding of human rights, to engage in discussion about how human rights are protected in Australia, and to consider whether that protection is sufficient. Participants in the training have often been surprised by how hard it is to find what protections exist and are also surprised to find that rights that they thought were protected are not. The enactment of a Charter of Rights provides the community with a much clearer statement of their fundamental human rights. It is important that the Charter is enacted in a way that truly recognises the fundamental nature of human rights.

MEDIA CONTACT: Dominic O’Grady, Media and Communications Officer,

Public Interest Advocacy Centre. Ph: 02 8898 6532 or 0400 110 169

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