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Hundreds of advocates support push for Australian Human Rights Act

Commission – General
Content type: Media Release

More than 700 human rights advocates from across Australia, including more than 60 eminent experts, have called on the Federal Government to introduce a Human Rights Act at a major national conference in Sydney today. 

Buoyed by last week’s Parliamentary Joint Committee On Human Rights recommendations, delegates at the two-day Free + Equal Human Rights Conference pledged their support for the proposed reform. The conference was presented by the Australian Human Rights Commission. 

Conference delegates supported the following statement: 

I call on the Australian Government to introduce a Human Rights Act to ensure all people and communities across Australia are treated fairly and have their rights protected.   

I support the introduction of an Australian Human Rights Act because it would:  

  • Increase protection for a range of rights which are not sufficiently protected under existing laws.  
  • Require politicians and public officials to consider all relevant rights when making laws and implementing policies and programs.  
  • Ensure people have a process to resolve breaches of rights through pathways to the Australian Human Rights Commission and, if necessary, the courts.  
  • Empower every person in Australia with access to a common tool for justice.  
  • Express our rights in one document, significantly improving awareness and understanding of our rights. 

International barrister Jennifer Robinson and former High Court judge Michael Kirby co-delivered a powerful keynote address in which they urged the government to follow through with the parliamentary committee’s recommendations, including for a Human Rights Act, and for all political representatives to unite to support human rights protections in Australia.  

Delegates heard from a wide range of speakers from across civil society, legal, education and business sectors. They drew on their expertise and lived experience to strengthen the case for further human rights protections in Australia. They talked about giving voice to the voiceless and making the invisible visible by enshrining all our human rights in a common tool for justice. 

Sessions covered key human rights-related issues such as preventing racism, improving children’s rights and youth justice, exploring the intersection of business, technology and human rights, and 40 years of the Sex Discrimination Act. 

Wrapping up the conference, Commission President Emeritus Professor Rosalind Croucher said: “Human rights are at the forefront of many issues which feature in today’s headlines. We can and must improve how people in Australia experience justice, equity, compassion and respect.” 

The full list of speakers and agenda can be found at 

ENDS | Media contact: or +61 457 281 897