Tuesday, 4 December 2018
Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights; Report
On behalf of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights, I present the committee's report entitled Human rights scrutiny report: Report 13 of 2018.
Report made a parliamentary paper in accordance with standing order 39(e).
by leave—Of the new bills examined in chapter 1 of this report, six have been assessed as not raising human rights concerns as they promote, permissibly limit or do not engage human rights. The committee has also requested further information in relation to two instruments.
Chapter 2 of the report contains the committee's concluded examination of a number of pieces of legislation.
The committee's scrutiny reports inform the deliberations of parliament by providing a technical examination of the compatibility of legislation of Australia's obligations under international human rights law. As I have noted on previous occasions, committee members performing this technical scrutiny function are not bound by the contents or conclusions of scrutiny committee reports and may have different views in relation to the policy merits of the legislation.
The reports also play an important function by engaging in dialogue with legislation proponents and questions of human rights compatibility. To that end, the statements of compatibility accompanying legislation and the minister's responses to the committee's inquiries are essential for the committee in undertaking its scrutiny function.
Whilst many legislation proponents engage diligently in scrutiny dialogue process, as outlined in the committee's report, there is scope for improvement in some cases. In the committee's consideration of recent legislation, there have been some cases where a lack of sufficient information from the legislative proponent has meant that the committee is unable to conclude that a particular measure or measures are compatible with human rights. I encourage legislation proponents to consider the committee's previous reports when preparing statements of compatibility and responses to the committee's inquiries.
Over the past year, the committee has examined a considerable volume of legislation—over 230 bills and over 1,700 instruments—for compatibility with human rights. I would like to take this opportunity to thank my fellow committee members for their engagement throughout the year. A number of bills scheduled for debate this week have been considered by this committee in the current report or in our recent reports, including in relation to:
I encourage my fellow members and others to examine the committee's latest scrutiny report—its last of 2018—to better inform their consideration of proposed legislation.
With these comments, I commend the committee's Report 13 of 2018 to the chamber.