Gay rights groups have welcomed calls to establish a human rights act in Australia, applauding recommendations made in the recently released National Human Rights Consultation report.
Federal Attorney-General Robert McClelland accepted the Consultation Committee’s findings last week after the committee’s 10-month process collecting views from across the country.
Australian Coalition for Equality spokesman Corey Irlam hailed the report, containing 31 recommendations, as a “strong” starting point for discussion with the Federal Government on ways to strengthen the rights of GLBTI people.
“It’s important to recognise this consultation was more than just about a human rights act,” Irlam said.
“It was about how to strengthen human rights in Australia, and that includes a range of options, starting out with initial conversations, introducing strong and harmonised discrimination laws, as well as a human rights charter or human rights act.”
McClelland said the Government would consider the report as a whole before responding.
More than 80 percent of the 35,000 submissions received supported a human rights act.
The report also found not enough attention is paid to human rights in federal legislation and recommended the Government conduct an audit of all legislation, past and present, to comply with Australia’s international human rights obligations.
Including sexuality and gender identity in national anti-discrimination laws was also marked as a priority and people in same-sex relationships were described as “struggling under the weight of discrimination”.
Australian Marriage Equality convenor Peter Furness was disappointed the report wasn’t clearer on same-sex marriage.
“Although the report recommends that the right to marry and form a family be included in a human rights act, it fails to say whether that right should be interpreted in the light of international law, which is sometimes construed as excluding same-sex couples,” he said.

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