NCOSS Deputy CEO Melanie Fernandez appeared before the Inquiry on Monday 22 May, arguing that the Act needs to be amended to extend the powers of the Legislative Review Committee to scrutinise Bills against an agreed set of human rights.
NCOSS believes a Charter of Rights is the best method for providing objective human rights standards. Victoria’s Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act has been in place since 2006. The Charter requires public authorities to act consistently with human rights set out in it, or be subject to legal challenge. The Charter ensures laws are consistently in alignment with human rights, fostering dialogue within Government and acting as an educative tool for the public.
A separate Act would make a clear statement to everyone in society that human rights matter, and should be taken seriously. This would make a real difference to people and communities experiencing disadvantage.