In 2015–16, the Queensland Parliament Legal Affairs and Safety Committee held a Human Rights Inquiry into whether Queensland should have a Human Rights Act.
As part of its inquiry, the Parliamentary Committee held public hearings in June 2016. The transcript of proceedings includes statements by the Queensland Mental Health Commissioner who attended the hearings.
The Parliamentary Committee tabled its report Inquiry into a possible Human Rights Act for Queensland on 30 June 2016.
Our submission on human rights
The Commission’s submission to the Parliamentary Committee, A Human Rights Act for Queensland focused on the need to better protect the human rights of all Queenslanders, and particularly people living with mental illness and problematic alcohol and other drug use.
The Commission’s submission supported a Human Rights Act for Queensland that:
- better enables people to enforce their human rights
- includes economic, social and cultural rights, such as adequate healthcare, education and housing
- applies to not only government agencies, but also organisations funded by Government to deliver services.
The submission recognised that legislation sets the ground work for protecting human rights, but more is needed to change cultures and entrenched views which result in discrimination, unconscious bias and stigma.
This requires investment in educational resources to support understanding of rights amongst individuals, parliamentarians, the legal sector and government agencies and to promote a human rights culture in Queensland.
The Commission further recommended that people with lived experience are involved in the design of any human rights legislation. We advised that safe language guidelines and patient care protocols be applied in the drafting of the legislation and associated policy documentation to ensure appropriate terminology and safe, non-stigmatising wording is used.
The Commission initially developed a Background Paper on A Human Rights Act for Queensland canvassing the views of people who experience mental illness, and the implications and opportunities of a Human Rights Act.
As part of our research, we invited two people with lived experience of mental illness to share their views and experiences of human rights and healing.