Gay rights activists have applauded the Tasmanian Government’s move to follow in Victoria’s footsteps and introduce a state Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities.

Tasmanian Attorney-General Lara Giddings said the Government would act on recommendations made by the Tasmanian Law Reform Institute in 2007 that a human rights charter was widely supported.

“A Charter of Rights will help ensure all Tasmanians are treated fairly, equally and have the same opportunities in life,” Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group spokesman Rodney Croome said.

“We believe the comprehensive charter model put forward by the Tasmanian Law Reform Institute is better for Tasmania than the weaker ACT or Victorian models, because the former ensures politicians are held to account and protects a wider range of rights.”

The charter will be based broadly on the Victorian and ACT models and is likely to include additional economic, social and cultural rights protections.

The Government said a discussion paper will be produced and a further consultation process will be undertaken before deciding on a charter model.

Croome said the landmark Toonen case — brought before the United Nations Human Rights Committee in 1994, which led to the decriminalisation of homosexuality in Tasmania — would not have been necessary if Tasmania had a human rights charter in place.

“Our case against the state’s former anti-gay laws could have been heard by local judges under standards set locally, rather than on the other side of the world,” he said.

“A state Charter of Rights will bring human rights home.”

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