Queensland’s Human Rights Act commences 1 January 2020 – Get to know your rights

The Ethnic Communities Council of Queensland’s vision that all people from all backgrounds can participate in all aspects of Australian life can only be possible in a society that respects and protects human rights.
From 1 January 2020, Queensland’s Human Rights Act 2019 will commence in its entirety.

The Act protects the rights of everyone, regardless of citizenship or visa status. The Act requires public entities (government departments, agencies and organisations delivering services on behalf of the Queensland government) to consider human rights in all decision-making and action when delivering services and interacting with the community.

The Act protects 23 fundamental rights drawn from international human rights law:

· 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.

The main objects of the Act are to promote and protect human rights, build a culture in the Queensland public sector that respects and promotes human rights and promote discussions about the meaning and scope of human rights.

From 1 January 2020 the administrative law obligations and oversight processes that hold government to account will commence. Public entities and public service employees will have the responsibility to respect, promote and protect the human rights of individuals.

Any individual who believes a public entity has breached their human rights can now make a complaint directly to them first. All public entities will have a complaint process in place to hear human rights concerns.

From 1 January 2020, the Queensland Human Rights Commission (QHRC) will be able to receive and conciliate human rights complaints. If an individual is not happy with the response from the public entity, a complaint can then be taken to the QHRC.

The QHRC website has accessible resources and training programs on human rights and relevant Queensland law. to help everyone understand human rights and responsibilities.

ECCQ is dedicated to promoting the Act, human rights and responsibilities in Queensland.


Kind Regards

Peter Last

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