The Commonwealth Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Bill Exposure Draft is the result of many years of consultations and reviews of anti-discrimination laws. The Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs was tasked with consulting and reporting on the exposure draft in November 2012. That process has been completed, with public consultation only taking place in Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne, notwithstanding that over 3000 submissions were received. The Committee tabled its Report on 21 February 2013.
Developments around the country
DownUnderAllOver is a round-up of legal news from both State and federal jurisdictions, and contains topical articles and short pieces from Alternative Law Journal committees around the country.
The Commonwealth government’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples Recognition Bill 2012 was introduced into the Parliament in November 2012. A Joint Parliamentary Committee considered the Bill and reported on 31 January 2013, recommending the Bill pass.
On 12 February 2013, the Commonwealth government responded to the November 2012 House of Representatives Standing Committee on Education and Employment report: Workplace Bullying ‘We just want it to stop’. That report inquired into what Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten described as the ‘scourge’ of workplace bullying, and which the Productivity Commission estimated costs the Australian economy between $6 billion and $36 billion annually.
Sentencing councils have been established, mooted or abolished across several Australian jurisdictions since 2003. In the lead-up to the 2008 ACT election, the then government committed to spending $633,000 to create a sentencing council to gather evidence on sentencing and make recommendations to the government.
The International Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (‘ICESCR’) was ratified by Australia on 10 December 1975 and entered into force on 10 March 1976. To date however, such protection has not been effected nationally. Over 30 years after entry into force, the Australian Human Rights Commission was still recommending that ‘The Australian Government pass a federal Human Rights Act that includes recognition and protection of economic, social and cultural (‘ESC’) rights.’