Tasmanian Greens Party response
The leader of the Tasmanian GreensParty, the Hon Cassy O'Connor MLA, provided the following response on behalf of all Tasmanian Greens Party candidates in the Tasmanian Election 2018:
"... As you would be aware, a Tasmanian Charter of Human Rights is one of our key policy initiatives...
Governments and corporations regularly trample on the human rights of citizens, and there is rarely legal recourse.
In Tasmania the Liberals have sought to strip away the right to peaceful protest through the Workplace (Protection from Protestors) Act 2015, which was found to be un-Constitutional in a landmark High Court decision last year.
They also sought to undermine protections in the Anti-Discrimination Act 1998, through an amendment Bill which was voted down by the Legislative Council.
A Charter for Human Rights would provide clear direction to governments of their obligations to Tasmanians. It would ensure a human rights lens is applied to all legislation.
It’s time to reset the scales of justice, to ensure human rights are both respected and protected in Tasmania.
A Charter of Human Rights for Tasmania has been explored in 2007, and 2010, and the momentum for progress is gathering strength.
The Greens have long advocated for a Charter of Human Rights.
In 2005 Greens’ Leader, Peg Putt, tabled a Bill of Rights in Tasmania, following similar legislation being passed in the ACT.
As part of the government in 2010 we supported moves to establish a Charter of Rights, on which progress was, unfortunately, stalled.
In 2014 we renewed calls for a Charter, and strongly supported the 2017 Civil Liberties (TAS) campaign.
REASONS FOR A CHARTER
Basic human rights that are commonly considered to be protected in fact have minimal or no legally enforceable protections.
A Charter sets out what our rights are, and ensures that government is accountable for the human rights of citizens and institutional human rights obligations are upheld by a legal framework.
Establishment of a Charter will require all new legislation introduced into parliament to be accompanied by a compatibility statement against the Human Rights Charter.
A Charter will also ensure laws can be challenged in the Supreme Court of Tasmania rather than in Federal Court.
The concept of a Charter is not a unique one. The United Kingdom, New Zealand, Canada, South Africa, and the United States all have a Charter of Human Rights. In Australia, the ACT and Victoria each have a Charter.
It is time for Tasmanians to have their human rights enshrined and protected in an overarching legal framework. Every Tasmanian citizen deserves to have their rights defined and upheld by law.
HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION
The Greens’ will establish a Human Rights Commission as well as a unit in the Department of Justice.
The Human Rights Commission will have a range of functions, including providing education, research and advice about human rights, and monitoring human rights protection.
The unit in Justice will provide advice to governments on policy and legislative compliance with the charter, and provide training to the public service.