Attorney-General Robert McClelland has called for the development of a human rights culture.
At the opening of this week's International Human Rights Education Conference, Educating for Human Rights, Peace and Intercultural Dialogue, McClelland discussed the need for human rights education and the development of a human rights culture.
"Today, the Universal Declaration on Human Rights remains a living, breathing document that affirms our shared human dignity and is the foundation for the standards of human rights and fundamental freedoms," McClelland said.
"I would agree with Eleanor Roosevelt that 'documents expressing ideals carry no weight unless people know them, unless the people understand them, unless the people demand that they be lived'."
McClelland continued by noting that human rights education provides the bridge between the shared ideals contained in international instruments, including the Declaration, and the realisation of human rights in practice.
"Human rights education must be something that the whole community participates in, not just politicians, lawyers and academics," he said.
Michael Kirby AC, president of the Australian Human Rights Commission Catherine Branson QC, and barrister Julian Burnside were all in attendance for McClelland's speech.
The focus on human rights education lies at the centre of the Government's recently launched Human Rights Framework, following feedback from the National Consultation on Human Rights that there was a general lack of understanding in the Australian community about human rights.
According to McClelland, under the Framework the Australian Human Rights Commission will receive $6.6 million in additional funding to expand its role in community education and funding of $2 million will also be provided to non-government organisations for community education and engagement programs.