Some Australian groups are particularly vulnerable to human rights violations. They include Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, asylum seekers, migrants from non-English speaking origins, the poor, individuals with disabilities, and others. Human rights violations may harm everyone. Or they may affect only a portion of the population. For example, racial discrimination in employment can be a human rights issue but so too can economic inequality.
What is the difference between human rights and civil liberties? Human rights are principles or norms that protect individuals from being harmed physically, mentally, or socially. Civil liberties are protections provided by laws or practices that limit how law enforcement agencies can interfere with a person's freedom. These freedoms may be protected by constitutional provisions or by acts of parliament.
In Australia, human rights are found in two documents: the Constitution and various statutes. The Constitution provides that all persons be treated equally before the law and that no person shall be denied life, liberty or property without due process of law. It also includes a bill of rights which specifies certain individual rights that cannot be taken away by government.
Civil liberties are also found in the Constitution - especially in sections 18, 19 and 21 - but also in other statutes such as the National Privacy Principles (NPPs) issued by the federal government.
Australia has a solid and proud record on human rights. That record, however, is not flawless. Any individuals are denied basic rights due of their skin color, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, handicap, or some other feature of their identity. The same is true for any group of people. No single issue dominates the debate on human rights in Australia, but there are several areas where improvements could be made.
The first thing to say about Australia's record on human rights is that it is very good. There are two reasons why Australia's record is so excellent. First, its national government is committed to upholding human rights around the world, especially for those who are most vulnerable. Second, Australia has one of the best-functioning systems of independent bodies that monitor human rights issues regularly. These include the Human Rights Commission and the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights.
There are four main areas in which Australia can improve its record on human rights. First, there is a lack of diversity in the higher ranks of government. Although more than half of Australians are now minorities, our leaders remain predominantly white and male. This is unacceptable because human rights policies are only effective when they are driven by real concerns from the community; otherwise, they are just another set of voices with no impact at all.
The second area in which Australia could improve its record on human rights is related to immigration policy.
A Human Rights Act is intended to prohibit human rights violations by members of the Australian Parliament, policymakers, public officials, and public authorities. It is not about how you are treated in private by folks. The act prohibits certain actions by governments which may infringe individual rights.
The Act has been criticized for being too weak and ineffective, but it has also been praised for protecting minority groups from unfair treatment by the government.
Australia's human rights situation has improved over time, but there are still many problems with discrimination based on religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, or race. There have also been reports of violence against women and children in domestic situations, and the exploitation of foreign workers. The government has taken steps to address some of these issues, including banning torture when interrogating terror suspects, improving legal protections for LGBT individuals, and establishing a commission to examine racial discrimination.
Yes. New Zealand's Bill of Rights Act 1990 created an independent court system to enforce people's rights under the Act.