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Policy and Systemic Work by the Human Rights & Discrimination Commissioner

Below are submissions made by the Human Rights and Discrimination Commissioner regarding her view on the application of ACT human rights and discrimination law on proposals for law reform both locally and nationally. Please contact us to obtain documents not available electronically here. 

Human Rights Act Changes

Discrimination Law Reform

Disability Discrimination

Vilification Law

Race Equality and Discrimination

Sex, Gender, and Family Discrimination

Gender Identity

Health and Mental Health

Criminal Law and Police Powers Reform

Other General Law Reform 

 

 Human Rights Act Changes

  • Submission by the Commission to the ACT Government Consultation, entitled "Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Submission" on 25 August 2011
     
  • Submission to the ACT Government's Five Year Review of the ACT Human Rights Act 2004.   
     
  • ACT Human Rights Commission submission to the Commonwealth Government's human rights act consultation on 15 June 2009.
     
  • Submission by Dr Helen Watchirs entitled 'Submission to the review of the Human Rights Act 2004 (ACT)' - 24 May 2006. Attachment 1 by human rights legal advisor, Dr Rowena Daw, on the question of possible direct application of the HR Act to public authorities. Includes at Attachment 2 - Review of Annual Reporting.

Discrimination Law Reform

  • The Commissioner's Submission to Law Reform Advisory Council Review of ACT Discrimination Act 1991 is available on the LRAC website at http://www.justice.act.gov.au/review/view/29/title/lrac-inquiry-into-the-scope (12 June 2014)
     
  • Submission by Dr Helen Watchirs to Commonwealth Attorney-General's  consultation on draft amendments to Federal Race Vilification laws, 7 May 2014 (doc format)
     

  • Submission by Dr Helen Watchirs to Attorney-General's Office consultation of "Consolidation of Commonwealth Anti-Discrimination Laws" discussion paper, on 14 February 2012 

  • A copy of the submission of the Australian Council of Human Rights Agencies is available on the Attorney-General's website here.
     
  • Mainstreaming Equality in the ACT - An equality duty for the ACT Discrimination Act'. Report prepared for the ACT Human Rights and  Discrimination Commissioner, Dr. Helen Watchirs by Gabrielle Szabo, an intern with the Australian National Internships Program, October 2008.
     
  • At the Human Rights Community Forum 2007, the Commissioner released a research paper prepared by ANU Law student Anisa Naraqi, 'Snakes and Ladders: the impact of exceptions in the Discrimination Act 1991 on human rights in the ACT'

Disability Discrimination

  • The Discrimination Commissioner provided advice to the Standing Committee on Planning and Environment about the ways in which current bus services need to improve to meet the needs of many people, including those with disabilities, women with caring and other responsibilities, children and aged people -7 August 2007. 
     

Vilification Law

  • Advice regarding flyer distributed in Gungahlin in mid-2012 regarding a proposed Mosque (.doc version or pdf version).
     
  • Advice regarding offensive cartoons circulated in the Canberra region is here
     
  • Advice regarding whether radio broadcast, 'Smithy's Mystery', constituted racial vilification under the ACT Discrimination Act.

Race Equality and Discrimination

  • 'Challenging Racism: the anti-racism research project'. The Commission allocated $5000 to this national project to conduct surveys of local experiences of , and attitudes towards, racism. The findings of the ACT component revealed experiences of, and attitudes towards racism in the ACT.
     
  • Submission by Commission to the Expert Panel on the Constitutional Recognition of Indigenous Australians, entitled "Constitutional Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples" on 5 October 2011.
     
  • Issues paper of the former ACT Human Rights Office: 'Racial and Religious Vilification in the ACT' - Investigating the effectiveness of Part 6 of the ACT Discrimination Act 1991'
     
  • Advice by Dr Helen Watchirs to  Mr Jon Stanhope MLA entitled, 'Request for advice on discrimination & human rights implications of Commonwealth emergency measures in NT Indigenous communities announced on 21 June 2007'

Sex, Gender, Gender Identity and Family Discrimination

  • Submission by Dr Helen Watchirs to the standing committee, entitled "Joint Submission into Operation of the Prostitution Act 1992" on 22 March 2011.   
  • Paid work and family responsibilities submission entitled: 'A Territory and State human rights agencies response to HREOC Discussion Paper Striking the Balance: Women, Men, Work and Family' - 17 October 2005

Gender Identity

 

Health and Mental Health

  • Submission to the 2013 Draft Model of Care for the new ACT Secure Mental Health Unit (.doc version) ReadSpeaker Listen
     
  • 'Legal Issues in Australian Public Health: A series of 7 papers on the impacts of discrimination and criminalisation on public health approaches to blood borne viruses and sexually transmissible infections', September 2013. (.doc version
     
  • Submission to ACT Health by the Commission on the Implementation of an Needle and Syringe Programme at the AMC on 9 September 2011.
     
  • Submission to the ACT Health Review of the Mental Health (Treatment and Care) Act 1994. (rtf version).
     
  • The HRC's World AIDS Day Survey 2009, shows discrimination is still an issue for those living with blood borne viruses (including HIV/AIDS). The theme for 2009 World AIDS Day was 'Take Action. No Discrimination.  More information is in the media release

Criminal Law and Police Powers Reform

  • Submission by Dr Helen Watchirs to Shane Rattenbury MLA regarding criminal law amendments in relation to drug offences. (.doc version)

  • Submission by Dr Helen Watchirs on DPP Discussion Paper on Double Jeopardy Reform, 27 May 2011. (.rtf version
  • Submission to JACS Directorate consultation on reforms to the Supreme Court listing procedures, September 2011.
  • Submission by Dr Helen Watchirs to Mr Simon Corbell MLA, Attorney-General, entitled 'Human rights compliance of legislative responses to bikie gangs' (.rtf version), tabled by the Attorney-General on 23 February 2010.
     
  • Submission by Dr Helen Watchirs to Roadside Drug Testing Discussion Paper released by ACT TAMS, May 2010.
     
  • Submission to ACT Government Review of Police Powers, July 2010 
     
  • Advice to Chief Minister, regarding Roadside Drug Testing legislation, provided 29 June 2010. 
      
  • Submission from the ACT Human Rights Commission entitled 'Comment on the Sexual and Violent Offences Legislation Amendment Bill 2008' - 21 July 2008
     
  • Submission from the ACT Human Rights Commission entitled, 'Review of the Road Transport (Alcohol and Drugs) Act 1977' - 25 July 2008
  • Submission from the ACT Human Rights Commission entitled,  'Comment on the Sexual and Violent Offences Legislation Amendment Bill 2008' - 21 July 2008
     
  • Submission by Dr Helen Watchirs to Mr Bill Stefaniak MLA entitled 'Submission on Exposure Draft: Terrorism (Extraordinary Temporary Powers) Bill 2005' - 25 January 2006 
     
  • Submission by Dr Helen Watchirs to Senator Marise Payne entitled 'Commonwealth Anti-Terrorism Bill (No. 2) 2005' - 25 November 2005
     
  • Submission by Dr Helen Watchirs to Committee Secretary, Senate Legal and Constitutional Committee, entitled 'Submission on the Commonwealth Anti-Terrorism Bill (No. 2) 2005' - 11 November 2005
     
  • Submission by Dr Helen Watchirs to Mr Jon Stanhope MLA entitled 'Commonwealth Anti-Terrorism Bill 2005' - 19 October 2005
     
  • Submission by Dr Helen Watchirs to Mr Jon Stanhope MLA entitled 'Council of Australian Government's meeting - potential human rights implications of proposed measures to strengthen counter terrorism laws' - 19 September 2005
     
  • Submission by Dr Helen Watchirs to Mr Jon Stanhope MLA entitled 'Anti-Terrorism Bill (No. 2) 2004 (Commonwealth) - amendment to Criminal Code 1995 (Commonwealth)' - 30 August 2004 
     

Other General Law Reform 

  • Submission by Dr Helen Watchirs to the Consumer Advocacy & Quality Service, Community Service Directorate entitled, "HRC Submission on Working with Vulnerable People Check draft Regulations and Application form" on 12 July 2011.
     
  • Advice to Chief Minister, regarding the Litter (Shopping Trolleys) Amendment Bill 2010 
     
  • Advice to the Attorney-General on Motor Vechicle Insurance Act .
     

  

Last updated 18 Dec 2014
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