Guest Blog

  • Anna Brown
    18 December 2012
    On 10 December 2012, the Australian Government released the final version of its National Human Rights Action Plan (NHRAP). The NHRAP represents a key plank of Australia’s Human Rights Framework and is intended to ‘outline future action for the promotion and protection of rights in Australia’. However, some concerns remain about the NHRAP's effectiveness.
  • Chris Hartley
    February 2012
    In December 2011, the Australian Government released its exposure draft for the development of a new National Human Rights Action Plan (the Action Plan). In releasing the exposure draft, the Government claimed the development of a human rights action plan:

    “,,, will demonstrate Australia’s on-going commitment to our international human rights obligations. It will allow us to systematically consider our strengths and address our shortcomings in human rights observance. In doing so, it will improve both the promotion and protection of human rights in Australia.”
  • Melanie Allard and Edwina MacDonald
    November 2011
    Women account for more than half the population in Australia and, unfortunately, the human rights of these women are breached every day, primarily through gender discrimination and inequality. To address these human rights breaches, it is essential that the Action Plan and Baseline Study are comprehensive and examine the most urgent human rights issues in Australia through a gender based perspective.
  • Liz Snell
    October 2011
    When was the last time you needed to call an essential service such as utilities like water, gas or electricity to get connected, report a fault, clarify a bill or because you were in financial hardship? How about a call to organise a baby bonus or some other payment from Centrelink or to notify Centrelink of a change in circumstance?
  • Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
    September 2011
    The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has developed guidelines and provides assistance on the development of NHRAPs. While the experiences of countries in preparing and implementing NHRAPs is not yet exhaustively documented, this blog aims to outline some key features and as preliminary lessons from practice to date.
  • Ken Wade
    September 2011
    In a conversation with Moses, God forbade people with disability to approach his altars and make offerings there. To permit them this honour would be profane. At least God did not advocate their murder. Plato and Aristotle did. They found imperfect children so disturbing they urged their parents to kill them. For much of its history the Christian Church was little better. It equated disability with sin...
  • Jennifer Lord
    August 2011
    Anti-discrimination legislation is designed to deal with acts, or failures to act, but it’s harder to use the law to tackle the values and attitudes that underpin actions. And this is particularly true of ageism, because the attitudes that shape our treatment of older people are widespread, entrenched and often unquestioned, both at the personal level, and within the systems that service and support older people.
  • Stephanie Mendis
    August 2011
    The other day someone told me that he wished I didn’t exit. I clarified whether he meant “me” or my client group. He said “both”. He said that my existence as a social worker suggested that there were people out there who needed social workers. Apparently this was not a pleasant or common thought. He did not know anyone who “worked in welfare” nor did he ever see “asylum seekers” and thus, apparently, he simply “forgot it all existed”.
  • Lee Carnie
    August 2011
    With the release of the draft Baseline Study, I was hoping the federal government would finally recognise the unequal enjoyment of human rights in Australia. I was wrong.
  • Leanne Miller
    July 2011
    Generations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women continue to raise serious concerns and voice their ongoing disappointment with ministers and governments’ lack of commitment to engage directly with them at a local level – the present government included. The same message needs to be echoed – the standard engagement model of one size fits all, does not work.
  • Senthorun Raj
    July 2011
    When it comes to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) human rights in Australia, a haphazard approach to protection has stifled the recognition of these diverse communities. Despite ratifying numerous international human rights treaties, sexual and gender minorities continue to have limited legal recognition and little access to policy infrastructure to challenge ongoing discrimination.
  • Kate Marsh
    June 2011
    Sexual and reproductive health rights encompass many areas of basic human rights. The right to health and healthcare, the right to information, the right to life, the right to live free from discrimination and the right to privacy are all inherent in comprehensive access to sexual and reproductive health rights...
  • James Farrell
    June 2011
    The Australian government recently recognised the urgent need to address the extent of homelessness in Australia and has developed two key initiatives in response: the National Affordable Housing Agreement and the White Paper. It is disappointing that neither of these documents recognise that homelessness is a human rights issue, but the Human Rights National Action Plan provides an opportunity to respond to homelessness within a human rights framework.
  • Debbie Kilroy
    May 2011
    Don’t be deceived by glossy new facilities and misleading descriptors (such as the ACT’s 'human rights' prison). Women’s prisons throughout Australia largely function as defacto poor houses and mental asylums … of the 19th century kind!
  • Bill Barker
    May 2011
    Governments are often defensive about human rights and unwilling to expose themselves to scrutiny. To encourage governments to take a more structured and pragmatic approach to implementing...
  • Susan Ryan
    May 2011
    The question of Australia’s deficit in human rights protection is live and urgent. Progress is happening but we need more soon. When the Rudd government, finally responding to the Brennan Report on the...