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    8.0 Human rights

    When the Government is developing policy and legislation, human rights must be actively considered and taken into account.

    The purpose of integrating a human rights framework into policy development is to improve government decision-making by ensuring that policy outcomes meet the standards set out in the Act.

    Section 48 of the Human Rights Act 2019 (the Act) requires statutory provisions, to the extent possible that is consistent with their purpose, to be interpreted in a way that is compatible with human rights (or in a way that is most compatible with human rights). This applies to all Queensland statutory provisions (including those enacted prior to the commencement of the Act).

    The term ‘compatible with human rights’ is defined in section 8 of the Act. A statutory provision will be compatible with human rights if:

      • it does not limit a human right; or
      • it limits a human right only to the extent that is reasonable and demonstrably justifiable in accordance with section 13 of the Act.

    Section 13 of the Act recognises that human rights may be subject under law only to reasonable limits that can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society based on human dignity, equality and freedom.

    Once the Act commences in its entirety (1 January 2020) all Bills that are introduced into Parliament are to be accompanied by a Statement of Compatibility (as per section 38 of the Act). This applies to government Bills and to Private Members’ Bills. Similarly, subordinate legislation must be accompanied by a Human Rights Certificate (under section 41 of the Act).

    The existing Parliamentary Portfolio Committee requirements in respect of scrutiny of legislation are complemented by the Act. In its examination of a Bill, a Parliamentary Portfolio Committee must consider whether the Bill is compatible with human rights and report to Parliament as to its findings (section 39(a) of the Act). The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee also considers and reports on the statement of compatibility (section 39(b) of the Act).

    This provides a balanced and transparent mechanism for assessing the human rights impacts of proposed laws, informing parliamentary debate, and facilitating broader public debate about human rights.

    Further information on incorporating human rights in policy and legislation development, and information on the individual rights, is available at the Queensland Government Human Rights Portal:

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    Last updated:
    15 January, 2020
    Last reviewed:
    17 July, 2009