Aboriginal Legal Service of Western Australia Limited

ALSWA calls for a Human Rights Act for Australia to improve Human Rights protection.

MEDIA STATEMENT BY THE ABORIGINAL LEGAL SERVICE OF WA, 10 December 2009, (International Human Rights Day)

MEDIA STATEMENT BY THE ABORIGINAL LEGAL SERVICE OF WA, 10 December 2009, (International Human Rights Day)

The Aboriginal Legal Service of Western Australia (ALSWA) calls on the Australian Government to adopt a Human Rights Act for Australia today on International Human Rights Day. The Australian Government announced a National Human Rights Consultation one year ago which was the biggest public consultation in Australia’s political history with participation by over 40,000 people. It received over 35,000 written submissions, and hosted over 5,000 people at community roundtables.

ALSWA coordinated workshops in partnership with the Australian Human Rights Commission, Amnesty International and West Australians for Racial Equality to increase the participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the community in the Consultation. ALSWA staff members attended the Consultation roundtables in Perth and contributed to a joint submission with other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (ATSILS).

Over 87% of the submissions to the Consultation that addressed the issue supported a Human Rights Act for Australia. The Consultation Report was released on 8 October 2009 and recommended that the Australian Government adopt a Human Rights Act for Australia.

“A Human Rights Act is the best way to enshrine Australian values and to protect and promote the human rights of all people, including marginalised and disadvantaged members of our community, such as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. A Human Rights Act would create a culture of respect for human rights in Australia, improve law-making and government policy by requiring that human rights be considered in this process, improve public service delivery, and implement Australia’s obligations and promote our reputation as a good international citizen and a regional and global human rights leader” said ALSWA CEO Dennis Eggington.

ALSWA believes a Human Rights Act is needed to change the mindset of governments intent on introducing new laws without any consideration of their disproportionate impact on vulnerable members of the community such as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and in particular children and young people.

The Aboriginal Legal Service of WA calls on the Australian Government to act in support of the Human Rights Consultation through the adoption of a Human Rights Act to better protect and promote the rights of all Australians.

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7 Aberdeen Street
Perth WA 6000
(near McIver Train Station)

Phone: +61 8 9265 6666
Fax: +61 8 9221 1767
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ALSWA provides legal advice and representation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in WA in Criminal, Family, Civil and Human Rights Law with additional services in community legal education, advocacy and the protection and promotion of human rights .

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