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Lawyers spout need for new human rights laws
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Lawyers spout need for new human rights laws

The peak body presenting Australian lawyers has spoken out against what it calls inadequate human rights laws.

THE peak body presenting Australian lawyers has spoken out against what it calls inadequate human rights laws.

The Law Council today lodged its submission to the Commonwealth Government’s National Consultation on Human Rights, calling for the adoption of a Charter of Human Rights at the federal level.

The basic human rights of Australians are inadequately protected under current laws and the most effective way to cover this gap is to adopt a Charter of Human Rights, according to the Law Council of Australia.

Law Council president John Corcoran said: “Despite Australia’s sound political and legal system, basic human rights such as the right to liberty, the right to freedom from torture, the right to free speech and the right to adequate housing remain inadequately protected under Australian law.” 

Corcoran said the Charter of Rights supported by the Law Council would provide a clear list of rights that the Australian community considers worthy of protection and ensure law makers and decision makers take human rights principles into account. It would also assist people to identify and assert their human rights.

“A Charter of Rights would increase rights protection for all Australians but particularly the disadvantaged and vulnerable.  It would also foster a culture of respect for human rights in the community and form a proud part of Australia’s national and international identity,” Corcoran said.

The Law Council has encouraged members of the legal profession to participate in the national consultation, which will lead to a series of recommendations for future action to improve human rights protection.  

The Law Council's comments follow Victorian Attorney-General Rob Hull's recent call for a national framework to formalise human rights protection. He urged the federal Government to adopt a national model similar to the Victorian Charter of Human Rights. 

Deputy Premier and A-G Hulls told the National Human Rights Consultation in Melbourne in April that he welcomed the federal consultation on a human rights charter, saying the involvement of the broader community in the Victorian Charter had been crucial to its success. 

See today's news from The New Lawyer here: 'Human rights commission defends laws against judge'

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