Queensland Human Rights Act

On 31 October 2018 the state government introduced a Human Rights Bill into the Queensland Parliament.

If passed, it would protect 23 rights through law, including the right to privacy, freedom of association, freedom of religion, and more.

The Anti-Discrimination Commission Queensland would be renamed the Queensland Human Rights Commission. We will continue our complaints handling, education, and training functions under the Anti-Discrimination Act , and expand these areas of work to include human rights.

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About the Bill

The Bill, if passed, will protect 23 rights through Queensland law. They are:

  • recognition and equality before the law
  • right to life
  • protection from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment
  • freedom from forced work
  • freedom of movement
  • freedom of thought, conscience, religion and belief
  • freedom of expression
  • peaceful assembly and freedom of association
  • taking part in public life
  • property rights
  • privacy and reputation
  • protection of families and children
  • cultural rights – generally
  • cultural rights – Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islander peoples
  • right to liberty and security of person
  • humane treatment when deprived of liberty
  • fair hearing
  • rights in criminal proceedings
  • children in the criminal process
  • right not to be tried or punished more than once
  • retrospective criminal laws
  • right to education
  • right to health services.

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The Bill requires public entities — government departments, local councils, or other organisations providing functions of a public nature — to act compatibly with human rights, and for parliament to consider human rights when passing new legislation or amending current laws.

If passed, the new Queensland Human Rights Commission will provide a dispute resolution process for handling human rights complaints.

You can read the Human Rights Bill on the Queensland Parliament website Link to external website, along with the explanatory notes which explain the objectives of the Bill in more detail.

The Bill was referred to the parliamentary Legal Affairs and Community Safety Committee, which held a public hearing, received written submissions from the public and various organisations, and was briefed by government departments.

On 4 February 2019, the Committee tabled its report on the Human Rights Bill, and recommended that the Bill be passed.

Access the parliamentary committee's report on the Human Rights Bill.

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What happens now?

The parliament will consider the report, and debate the Bill.  The Bill will be passed if a majority of the members of parliament vote in favour of it. A date for this debate is not yet set.

If the Bill is passed, it goes to the Governor to sign.  This is called the royal assent.

The Bill then becomes an Act, but it won’t be law until a date is fixed for it to start.

The Human Rights Act will start in two stages.  If the Bill is passed as drafted, the first stage is expected to begin on 1 July 2019, and will initiate the functions of the Commission to provide information about human rights. The second stage, which will include the complaints process, will start on 1 January 2020.

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