Human rights in focus

This page contains information about recent developments and issues in human rights.


Reflecting on 25 years of the Queensland Anti-Discrimination Act 1991

To mark 25 years of the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991, State Library of Queensland and the Anti-Discrimination Commission Queensland asked activists, politicians, community advocates, social justice professionals, and everyday Queenslanders to share their thoughts about the impact of the Act, and personal and community stories of challenge and triumph against discrimination. This compilation is a selection of those responses.  Each of the individual stories follow.

View Reflecting on 25 years of the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 - compilation. Link to external websiteRun time is 4:34 minutes.

Cocks v State of Qld

Kevin Cocks, Queensland’s Anti-Discrimination Commissioner, shares a poignant personal story of his fight to enter with ease, dignity and respect one of Queensland's most iconic buildings, the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre. Cocks’ resilience and tenacity to advocate for and protect the rights of people with impairments and mobility issues led to a significant change in the Building Code of Australia.

View Cocks v State of Qld. Link to external website Run time is 7:07 minutes

A woman's right

Women in Queensland have every right to live and work free from discrimination. Change in community attitudes influenced by anti-discrimination legislation has brought about significant cultural change. Yet, the struggle for women’s rights continues. Neroli Holmes, Queensland''s Deputy Anti-Discrimination Commissioner, and Kerriann Dear from Working Women Queensland, share their thoughts on how far Queensland has come in fostering a society free of sex discrimination and how important it is for all Queenslanders to keep up the momentum.

View A woman's right.Link to external website Run time is 6:44 minutes.

A clear message

When the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 was amended in 2002 to include gender identity and sexuality as attributes, it sent a clear message that discrimination against and vilification of LGBTI (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Intersex) Queenslanders would not be tolerated. Today, members of the LGBTI community celebrate such recognition while continuing the struggle for equality. Evie Ryder from Open Doors and Matilda Alexander from the LGBTI Legal Service give an insight into the challenges faced by the LGBTI community and the journey towards a more tolerant Queensland.

View A clear message.Link to external website Run time is 4:23 minutes.

The Chai Community

The Chai Community is more than a gathering of like-minded women from the Gold Coast – it is an inspiring community story of individual responsibility and belonging. Formed in response to negative reactions to the building of a mosque in Currumbin, The Chai Community meets regularly to learn, share ideas, and drink Chai. Ishrat Abdool, Ree Ali, and Lesley Bryant, three members of The Chai Community, share their journey of understanding and how with the help of the Anti-Discrimination Commission Queensland they are bringing about change in their local community.

View The Chai Community. Link to external website Run time is 5:44 minutes

Building a case to Act

The Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 was one of Queensland’s most important laws to be passed as part of major legal reform undertaken by the Goss Labour Government in the early 1990s. The Act was a game-changer that would influence the way Queenslanders lived, worked, and interacted. 25 years later, what was the impact of the Act and is anti-discrimination legislation enough to protect human rights in Queensland? Dean Wells, Barrister and former Queensland Attorney-General (1989-1995), The Honourable Yvette D’Ath, Queensland Attorney-General (2015-current), and Aimee McVeigh, Campaign Coordinator for A Human Rights Act in Queensland, reflect on 25 years of the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 and its relevance to all Queenslanders.

View Building a case to Act.Link to external website Run time is 8:37 minutes.


Human Rights Month 2016

Everyone has the right to work in a safe environment, free from discrimination and harassment, where everyone is treated with dignity and respect and is valued for their unique skills and contributions.  Human Rights Month 2016 provides the opportunity to focus on how these human rights principles are reflected in your organisation’s culture, goals and practices, every day. 

Human Rights Month 2016 aims to:

  1. Raise awareness of the benefits of diverse and inclusive workplaces. 
  2. Provide information, resources and support to create fair and inclusive workplaces.
  3. Get workplaces involved in learning, talking, sharing, planning and action around diversity and inclusion.

This year ADCQ is partnering with Mental Illness Fellowship Queensland (MIFQ) and focusing on two key topics of mentally healthy workplaces and flexibility at work, under the theme of Fair and Inclusive Workplaces. The campaign asks organisations in Queensland to pledge their commitment to creating fair and inclusive workplaces by nominating workplace champions and identifying specific activities they will undertake to create fair and inclusive workplaces.

Inclusion and diversity is everyone’s responsibility. So no matter how far you are along the journey to a fair and inclusive workplace, there are ways for everyone to be involved in Human Rights Month. Many workplaces across the state are already implementing simple and effective strategies to ensure they provide an environment that is free from discrimination and harassment and where everyone is treated with dignity and respect.  Human Rights Month is an opportunity to showcase this great work and learn from what is already working.

Why get involved?

Human Rights Month is a great opportunity to highlight your organisation’s commitment to safe, fair, inclusive and diverse workplaces.  If your organisation is already actively pursuing an inclusion and diversity agenda, Human Rights Month presents a great opportunity to share your successes and what you’ve learned, as well as looking for new ideas and inspiration. If the concepts of inclusion and diversity are new to your organisation, this is the best time to become involved and get the support you need to head in the right direction.

It’s free! We’re not fundraising or asking you to make any kind of financial commitment.  All we need from you is a commitment to help spread the message about inclusion and diversity.

It’s easy! We’ve created a range of resources and ideas about how to get involved in Human Rights Month.

It makes sense. There is an ever-growing body of evidence that shows workplaces that are diverse, flexible, mentally healthy and inclusive reap the benefits (we’ll tell you how throughout the campaign).  Human Rights Month is the perfect opportunity to get involved so your organisation does not get left behind.

What is a Human Rights Month Champion?

We are asking organisations that want to actively participate in Human Rights Month 2016 to nominate at least one person from their workplace to be their workplace Champion. The role of the Champion is critical to your organisation obtaining the greatest value out of the resources and support provided throughout Human Rights Month.  It is best if the nominated Champion is a senior or well-regarded person within the organisation, with a passion for creating a fair and inclusive workplace. If your workplace is large or located over multiple sites you might want to nominate more than one Champion, including someone from your Human Resources team.

Champions will lead the promotion of Human Rights Month within their organisation.  Supported by ADCQ, Champions will promote the purpose of Human Right Month, disseminate key messages, distribute resources and drive workplace activities.

What do you need to do?

All we ask you to do is:

  • share Human Rights Month messages with staff and stakeholders through your website, intranet and other channels during Human Rights Month 2016,
  • promote your commitment to the principles of equity, inclusion and diversity,
  • let us know what you are doing throughout the month so we can give you a virtual pat on the back, share your stories and tips and promote your commitment to fair and inclusive workplaces.

Workplaces can choose how involved to become based on their size, resources and priorities. Examples of what you could do range from:

  • displaying Human Rights Month or other anti-discrimination posters in the workplace
  • putting the HRM logo on your website and/or email signature blocks
  • hosting workplace conversations about inclusion, diversity, mental health or flexibility at work
  • making personal pledges about how your organisation is or will create a fair and inclusive workplace
  • running training in your workplace
  • holding a morning tea and sharing positive stories of inclusion, diversity, flexibility and mental health initiatives, or
  • all of the above, as well as your own ideas.

Champion benefits:

Official champions and their organisations will receive discounts on ADCQ online and face-to-face training if they sign up during Human Rights Month.

Champions will receive direct communications about Human Rights Month activities through an official supporter newsletter and ongoing support from the ADCQ team.

Champions will be invited to attend a special events throughout the Human Rights Month campaign.

That all sounds great. So what now?

If you would like to become a Human Rights Month Champion for your organisation, get in touch with our team via email: HRM@adcq.qld.gov.au.  We will help you work out how to best promote Human Rights Month within your organisation and keep you up-to-date with information, stories and activities throughout the campaign.

Back to top


Human Rights Act for Queensland

Queenslanders are being given the opportunity to have a say on the possible implementation of a Human Rights Act in Queensland thanks to an inquiry launched by the Queensland Government. In December 2015, Queensland Attorney-General, Yvette D’ath announced that the Legal Affairs and Community Safety Committee of State Parliament would hold an inquiry to determine whether a Human Rights Act is the best way to protect human rights into the future. The committee is due to report back to the Legislative Assembly by 30 June 2016.

The ADCQ has been assisting Queenslanders to understand what a Human Rights Act would mean in practice by holding free public information sessions across the state in February and March. The information sessions have now concluded.

The Legal Affairs and Community Safety Committee invite written submissions to the inquiry. All submissions must address the terms of reference and be received by 4pm on Monday 18 April 2016. Information about the terms of reference and how to make a submission is available on the committee’s webpage.

You can also make a submission online via the A Human Rights Act for Queensland campaign page.

Back to top


Transgender Day of Remembrance

Remembrance candles 

20 November is set aside as Transgender Day of Remembrance for those people who have died because of transgender hatred or prejudice.

The day raises public awareness of hate crimes against transgender, or gender variant people, and the persistence of prejudice against the transgender community.

It is a day to mourn and honour the lives lost in anti-transgender violence, and raise the visibility of transgender and gender diverse members of the community.

Back to top