(Human Rights Law Centre, 21 October 2014)
Just over a decade ago, Victoria started its journey towards formal rights recognition. Through a widespread consultation process – not unlike that subsequently conducted at a Federal level – Victorians expressed a firm belief that our entitlements and obligations at international law were worth articulating; that they should shape the way in which the population interacted, both with each other and with the state.
A careful process of legislative development followed, with the ultimate decision being that, as civil and political rights were the least contentious and best understood in the public domain, these should be the initial priority. A review was scheduled to follow at a later date. Accordingly, in 2006, Victoria followed the ACT’s example and became the first Australian state to enact a legislative Charter of Rights and Responsibilities, with a range of mechanisms, including the Human Rights Law Centre, in place to support it.
Despite gloomy forecasts from various quarters, including some pockets of the legal profession, the sky did not fall in.
Rob Hulls is director, Centre for Innovative Justice, RMIT University.
Note: This is an extract only, not the full article.