The Case for A Human Rights Act

The Case for A Human Rights Act

Article by Aimee McVeigh for the Courier Mail

The new Bill will offer a lifeline to those who may fall through the cracks of society and will need it the most

Eleanor Roosevelt famously said that human rights begin in the small places/ Life can take any of us to the small places.

An accident can result in a disability. We could have a child with a disability, ageing parents, or be ageing ourselves. We could find ourselves in a public hospital. Our children or grandchildren might go to a public school.

A Human Rights Act will mean that when we're in the small places, we'll have a right to be treated with dignity and respect. For this reason, more than 40 diverse community organisations and thousands of Queenslanders have been campaigning together for many years for this welcome reform. The ACT and Victoria (where human rights laws have existed sine 2004 and 2006, respectively) have shown us that, most commonly, human rights laws are used in small places to change behaviour.

Human rights laws have been used to prevent the eviction of a single mum and her kids into homelessness, assisted a woman with a disability to access a shower curtain so she can shower in privacy, and prevented a kid with autism from being excluded from the public school he was attending.

And, at times, human rights laws have been enforced in courts and interpreted by judges - just like any other law. But these laws have never led to a flood of litigation, nor have they lined the pockets of lawyers.

These laws are usually used to help poor people with the assistance of lawyers working pro bono or in community legal centres.

Queensland's Human Rights Act will lead to a fairer and more equal state.

it won't stop any government agency from doing their work.

It will mean that whenthey're doing their job, they will do it in a way that is consistent with our human rights.

This is an historic reform that's worth celebrating.

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