Arts Law supports a federal Charter of Human Rights for Australia enshrining a right to freedom of expression, both artistic and cultural, and giving positive legal recognition to the cultural heritage rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander people. Arts Law advocates for artists’ rights in alignment with Australia’s international human rights obligations including commitment to economic, social and cultural rights and, in particular, Indigenous cultural and intellectual property rights. Arts Law’s advocacy work in the area of human rights gives particular emphasis to freedom of artistic expression generally and to the rights of artists who are of a minority or disadvantaged background. The Centre actively campaigns against laws and policies which are discriminatory, including those which are inconsistent with the Racial Discrimination Act.
Arts Law welcomed the opportunity to submit a response to the Law Council of Australia's Justice Project consultation paper.
Last Thursday 22 February 2013, the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee released its report to the Federal Government on the exposure draft of the Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Bill 2012.
Arts Law made a submission to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee on the Exposure Draft of the Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Bill 2012. The Arts Law submission was focused on the interests of artists, such as stand-up comedians, whose work may be challenging and cause offence to some members of the community.
On 10 December 2012, International Human Rights Day, the National Human Rights Action Plan was released by the Federal Government.
On 29 November 2012, the Social Justice Report was tabled in Federal Parliament.
On 20 November 2012, the Federal Government released an Exposure Draft of the Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Bill 2012 which consolidates the five existing Commonwealth anti-discrimination statutes.
The Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011(Cth) (the Act) commenced on 4 January 2012. The Act requires all new bills and disallowable legislative instruments to be accompanied by a‘Statement of Compatibility with human rights’. Statements must assess compatibility against the seven main United Nations human rights treaties to which Australia is a party; however failure to do so will not render the law invalid.