The effects of COVID-19 have seen a rise in support for a Charter of Human Rights, new data has shown.
There has been a dramatic increase in the number of Australians in support of a Charter of Human Rights compared to before the pandemic, a new poll has revealed.
An opinion poll of over 1,000 people across Australia found that 83 per cent of people believe there should be a document that clearly sets out the rights and responsibilities that everyone has in Australia, an increase from 66 per cent in 2019. 74 per cent of respondents agreed that a Charter of Human Rights would help people and communities to make sure the government does the right thing, compared to 56 per cent two years earlier.
Similarly, there has been a surge in support for the idea of a Charter of Human Rights with 46 per cent supporting a Charter and only 10 per cent opposed, compared with 33 per cent support and 10 per cent opposition in 2019.
Human Rights Law Centre executive director Hugh de Kretser said that the increasing support for the idea could be the result of a growing awareness of the vulnerability of peoples’ human rights.
“These survey results show strong and increasing support for a Charter in Australia. We’ve seen a big rise in support, particularly from younger people as well as increased recognition of the benefits that a Charter would bring,” he said.
“These results may reflect a growing awareness of the vulnerability of peoples’ human rights in Australia given the lack of comprehensive legal protection through a Charter. The COVID-19 pandemic and government responses have made people think about their rights, and the rights of others in new ways.
“A Charter of Human Rights will ensure that shared values like freedom, equality, dignity and respect are at the heart of laws, policies and government services. It will ensure that if someone’s rights are violated, they can take action to seek justice. It will help to realise a fair go for all,” Mr de Kretser added.
The biggest increases in support were from younger people. The Human Rights Law Centre, which is among 65 organisations calling for an Australian Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms, commissioned the opinion poll, conducted by QDos.
“A Charter will help to ensure that everyone can access quality health care, regardless of where they live; that every child can get a good education; that people in aged care homes is treated with dignity, and so much more. A Charter will be an essential pillar of our democracy,” Mr de Kretser said.
“It is time that Australia joined every other western liberal democracy in the world by introducing a national Charter of Human Rights. We urge people to get behind the campaign for an Australian Charter of Human Rights.”