Australia's first Bill of Rights

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Project leader(s)

The aim of the ACT Human Rights Act research project was to document the impact of Australia’s first Bill of Rights – the ACT Human Rights Act 2004 – over its first five years of operation. It was supported by an ARC Linkage Grant. The complete ACT Human Rights Act project findings can be accessed on the ACT Human Rights Act (ACTHRA) Portal based at the ANU College of Law.

Ten Year Celebrations

On 1 July 2014, CIGJ celebrated the tenth anniversary of the ACT Human Rights Act by co-hosting a conference with the ACT Human Rights and Discrimination Commissioner.

Speakers at the conference included the ACT’s Chief Minister at the time, Jon Stanhope, as well as the current Attorney-General, Simon Corbell. The program also featured contributions from the ACT Chief Justice Helen Murrell, Professor Andrew Byrnes (University of New South Wales), CIGJ Director Professor Hilary Charlesworth, Dr Helen Watchirs (Human Rights and Discrimination Commissioner), Heidi Yates of the Women’s Legal Centre, Professor Jeremy Gans (Melbourne University), Professor Simon Rice (The Australian National University), and Noor Blumer (former President of the ACT Law Society). Violet Sheridan gave the Welcome to Country.

Presentation papers from the speakers at the event, as well as the conference program and media coverage, can be accessed at the CIGJ page on the conference.

Final report

The ACT Human Rights Act research project was completed in July 2009. Its findings are detailed in a final report – The Human Rights Act 2004 (ACT): The First Five Years of Operation (PDF 1.58MB).

The final report was tabled in the ACT Legislative Assembly by the Attorney General, Mr Simon Corbell.

The ACT government responded to the report on 29 March 2012. The response can be consulted through the transcript of the relevant debate of the ACT Legislative Assembly (PDF 290KB).

Progress reports

The final report was preceded by two progress reports which were presented as conference papers: * The ACT Human Rights Act 2004 – The Second Year (2006) (PDF 1.13MB) – a paper presented by Ms Gabrielle McKinnon at the ‘Australian Bills of Rights: the ACT and Beyond’ conference, 21 June 2006, Canberra *The ACT Human Rights Act 2004 – The First Year (2005) (PDF 1.6MB) – a paper presented by Ms Gabrielle McKinnon at the ‘Assessing the First Year of the ACT Human Rights Act’ conference, 29 June 2005, Canberra.

Case database

Ongoing work on this project is being done by the ANU Law College. Access the case database on the College of Law website.

Publications

Byrnes, A., Charlesworth, H. & McKinnon, G. 2009, Australian Bills of Rights: History, Politics, Law, UNSW Press, Sydney.

The complete ACT Human Rights Act project findings can be accessed on the ACT Human Rights Act (ACTHRA) Portal based at the ANU College of Law.

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Professor Hilary Charlesworth

Hilary Charlesworth was educated at the University of Melbourne and Harvard Law School. She is Professor and Director of the Centre for International Governance and Justice in the School of...

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Human rights

This cluster comprises a number of projects that examine the regulatory dimensions of international and national human rights standards.

Updated:  10 August 2017/Responsible Officer:  Director, RegNet/Page Contact:  Director, RegNet