Debating the need for an accessible human rights complaints remedy

Did you know that if your human rights are breached by a public authority in the ACT, there’s no easy way for you to enforce your rights under our ACT Human Rights Act 2004? You’d have to take legal action in the ACT Supreme Court. This is expensive, time-consuming and out of reach for most.

On 10 December, International Human Rights Day, the Commission hosted an online forum examining  the need to for an accessible and affordable mechanism to deal with human rights complaints in the ACT. You can watch a recording of the event here.

The panel discussed how complaints are being handled in other Australian jurisdictions; and talked to those leading the charge to amend the ACT Human Rights Act, with a petition recently tabled in the ACT Legislative Assembly.

Ngambri (Kamberri) custodian Paul House conducted a welcome to country, and the event was opened by ACT Minister for Human Rights, Tara Cheyne MLA. Panellists included:

  • Dr Helen Watchirs OAM, ACT Human Rights Commission President (facilitator)
  • Deborah Glass, Victorian Ombudsman
  • Andrew Adason, Assistant Ombudsman, Victorian Ombudsman
  • Karen Toohey, Discrimination, Health Services, and Disability and Community Services Commissioner, ACT Human Rights Commission
  • Naomi Gould, Senior Solicitor, Canberra Community Law
  • Sean Costello, Principal Lawyer, Qld Human Rights Commission
  • With closing remarks by Sophie Trevitt, ACT Co-Chair of Australian Lawyers for Human Rights and principal petitioner for the No rights without remedy petition.