LAWYERS HAVE a responsibility to help create a human rights culture in the ACT, according to Chief Minister and Attorney-General Jon Stanhope.
Speaking last week at ‘Breakfast with the Stars’, hosted by the ACT Women Lawyers Association, Stanhope explained the long term aim of the Human Rights Act 2004 was to “build a culture where respect for fundamental rights becomes an integral part of how the ACT public service goes about its work”
“Real and lasting cultural change requires human rights to be mainstreamed into core administrative processes — with time it will filter through all parts of the system,” he said.
Stanhope urged the local legal profession to take the initiative to promote awareness and understanding of the Human Rights Act amongst colleagues. He said they should call upon the resources at the Australian National University (ANU) and organise CLE sessions to educate other lawyers about the Act.
“I call on all lawyers in the ACT [to take] an active interest in the Human Rights Act. Lawyers have the ability to make a considerable difference by getting involved in the new dialogue about human rights that the ACT is to embark on.”
The Human Rights Act depended on the quality of debate it inspired in all levels of society for its success as a tool for human rights protection and cultural change, Stanhope said.