Inquiry into Australia’s Human Rights Framework

It is often said by those who oppose a federal Human Rights Act that there is no need for one. They argue that the human rights of Australians are more than adequately protected by the common law and statute. Anyone remaining of that view will be hard pressed to retain it should they read the comprehensive report on the subject prepared by the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) entitled ‘Traditional Rights and Freedoms: Encroachments by Commonwealth Law’ (December 2015). The report identifies hundreds of provisions in Commonwealth law that may constitute incursions on human rights and freedoms. The nature and extent of the legislative provisions that may be in breach of fundamental rights and freedoms will come as a shock to anyone who cares to delve into the ALRC’s first class report. No report in recent decades has come close to providing such a detailed enumeration, description, and analysis of statutory infringements of human rights.

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