The Law Library of Victoria Home Menu

The Australian experiment with human rights charters

Introducing an Australian bill of rights has been politically fraught, but both the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) and Victoria have proceeded to adopt legislative bills of rights - the ACT Human Rights Act 2004 and the Victorian Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities 2006. Queensland is currently considering such a path.

A decade on, what can we learn from the operation of the ACT and the Victorian legislation? How successful have these experiments proved in protecting human rights?

Hilary Charlesworth is a Melbourne Laureate Professor at Melbourne Law School and Distinguished Professor at the Australian National University. She was Chair of the ACT Government's consultative committee on the introduction of human rights legislation.

Professor Charlesworth presented a public lecture at the Law Library of Victoria in September 2016 to commemorate the decade of the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act in Victoria. Click here to read a copy of the lecture from Professor Charlesworth.