Human Rights Act Campaign Update


Greetings Human Rights Act Subscribers,

It has been an action packed fourteen months for the Human Rights Act for Australia campaign. The Human Rights Bill was launched at a major public meeting in Sydney in October last year, and it has since been discussed at public forums in all capital cities, several regional centres and with a diverse range of bodies representing the whole spectrum of public opinion, from corporate interests to community concerns. The ‘final’ draft of the Bill was presented to a capacity crowd at Melbourne’s Malthouse Theatre in August 2006.

Thank you to everyone who participated in the nationwide launches and forums, from your material support to your written submissions. This campaign runs on your energy just as much as ours.

As you may know, the Bill has been converted into proper parliamentary form by the Senate procedure office, we have our sponsors and we are rearing to go. Our aim is to get the Bill introduced into the Senate and sent to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee, possibly as a part of a broader inquiry into human rights protections in Australia.

The Government will need to agree to this reference. At this stage we have no Government member agreeing to support this approach.

We believe that a thoughtful, in depth consideration of human rights with respect to our Bill needs to take place. We also note that human rights are in the spotlight, with  Kevin Rudd observing that we must œbegin to look at ways in which we can bedrock basic protections of civil liberties." What better way to start than with legislative protection of those rights?

As it stands, we are looking at an March 2007 introduction of the Bill. If we don’t receive Government agreement for the reference, we will seek to have the Bill introduced as a Private Member’s Bill straight into the Senate.

We still need your assistance in:

– promoting our campaign to your members (for organisations) and friends (for individuals). We would be happy to provide material to be used in an email to all members, friends, or to be included in your newsletter or on your website. Please contact for more information.

– writing on behalf of your organisation to Members of Parliament and Senators to support the introduction of a Human Rights Act for Australia. Make your voice heard!

– urging your members or friends to individually support our campaign by writing to Members of Parliament and Senators. A form letter can be downloaded from our website:

– Support the campaign with some great wines and champagne! Enjoy an affordable range of quality Australian and New Zealand wines, while supporting New Matilda’s Human Rights Act for Australia campaign. Order now at BackVintage Wines.

– Or you can support the campaign by donating  online here. Alternatively, you can write a cheque made out to New Matilda’s Human Rights Act Association (see address details below).

In any event we will not cease until we have achieved our objective: getting the Bill introduced into the Australian Parliament. We hope to see you there at the end, and thanks again for all your help since the beginning.

Have a great festive season and see you in 2007.

Helen Reynolds
Executive Director
New Matilda Human Rights Act Campaign

Locked Bag 2000/152
Surry Hills NSW 2010

P: 61+ 2 9211 1635

Launched in 2004, New Matilda is one of Australia's oldest online independent publications. It's focus is on investigative journalism and analysis, with occasional smart arsery thrown in for reasons of sanity. New Matilda is owned and edited by Walkley Award and Human Rights Award winning journalist Chris Graham.