The Australian Human Rights Commission investigates and conciliates complaints about discrimination and breaches of human rights.
The Commission is concerned at the lack of transparency in explaining the continued justification for some emergency measures, and even for identifying which level of government is responsible for some measures.
Some of the decisions were put into legislation, others were introduced in other ways – which means they cannot be easily reviewed, and they don’t automatically require independent human rights scrutiny at the time of the decision. This means any human rights scrutiny happens after the measure is already put in place and affecting people.
The checks and balances that ordinarily exist are important to our democracy. Without appropriate transparency and accountability, there is a real risk of Australians being exposed to unnecessary restrictions of their rights and freedoms.
International Human Rights Laws
International human rights law allows governments to restrict many rights and freedoms during a public health emergency, such as a pandemic, for the safety of everyone in the community. However, limitations on human rights should meet the following criteria:
- They must be prescribed by law.
- They must be necessary and proportionate to the evaluated risk.
- Governments must be transparent about the reasons why they consider restricting human rights is necessary.
- Any limitations on human rights should be the minimum necessary to address the emergency and in place for the shortest time needed to deal with the emergency.
- The measures must be consistent with international law and must not discriminate against people on the grounds of race, sex, age, disability or sexual preference.
The need for the restrictions must be regularly assessed and the moment they are no longer necessary, they must cease.
The complaint form can be submitted by:
Post to Director, Investigation and Conciliation Service, Australian Human Rights Commission, GPO Box 5218, Sydney NSW 2001
Fax to 02 9284 9611
Email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Download complaint form here – https://docs.google.com/document/d/1inTrtwWss0uoSbLk3JchIQQWKUcC7SmZ/edit?usp=sharing&ouid=111250848552147713019&rtpof=true&sd=true
or complete online –
NB June Oscar is the Indigenous Commissioner, be sure to forward a copy of the complaint to her if your from a First Nations community
If you have any questions about this or need help to complete this form, please contact our National Information Service on 1300 656 419 or 02 9284 9600.