Friday 14 December 2018

On 14 December 2018, the Australian Human Rights Commission announced a major project: ‘Free and Equal: An Australian conversation on human rights’ (the Conversation).

Throughout this year, we will be talking with people nationally to identify what makes an effective system of human rights protection for 21st century Australia?

The purpose of the Conversation is to:

  • Promote awareness of the importance of human rights to 21st century Australia
  • Identify current limitations and barriers to better human rights protections
  • Identify what key principles should underpin the reform of human rights in Australia
  • Build agreement across the Parliament, government and the community about what we can do collectively to better promote, protect and fulfil human rights

To start the conversation, we have written an Issues Paper. The Issues Paper provides the context of where we are at with human rights in Australia. It asks questions about what the best Australian human rights framework could look like.

You can read the Issues Paper Here.

You can read more about the purpose of our national conversation in the Terms of Reference.

What will the National Conversation look like?

To explore what an effective human rights framework looks like, the Commission will:

  • run a public submission process
  • undertake consultations nationally
  • convene technical workshops on areas relevant to the project

These processes will lead up to a national summit on human rights in October 2019. At the summit, the Commission will release a draft reform agenda for human rights in Australia based on the submissions, consultations and workshops. This document will be available for public consideration and comment.

We will release a finalised roadmap on Human Rights Day, 10 December 2019.


How can you be involved?

We want to hear your vision for the future. We want to hear about what human rights matter to you and how respect for human rights can make our lives better and our communities stronger. Everyone is invited to take part.

There are two main ways that you can take part in our conversation. You can send us your ideas in writing, or you can take part in an in-person consultation.

Written submissions

We are asking for written submissions that answer any or all of the questions outlined in the Issues Paper.

The deadline for receiving submissions is 5pm on 12 July 2019.

To send a submission or find out more information about this part of the process, please go to our submissions page.


The submissions process will be supported by consultations nationally which will take place between May and July. The details of these will be available shortly.

Check back here or sign up for updates through our mailing list at the bottom of this page if you want to hear more about taking part in a consultation.


Please join us in this conversation about the Australia you want to live in.


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