The Charter was passed by Parliament in July 2006. It reflects the government’s commitment to uphold the civil and political rights of Victorians and take those rights into consideration in decision making. The Charter acknowledges that rights are not absolute and can be reasonably limited. The mechanisms in the Charter provide an open and transparent way for government to balance individual rights against each other as well as against other competing public interests.
A certificate that must be prepared for most proposed statutory rules certifying whether the proposed rule limits human rights and, if so, provides information about the limitation, a statement of compatibility or human rights certificate which is required to be presented to Parliament for all new Bills and most statutory rules, respectively.
Human rights impact assessment
The first step is to consider whether the policy proposal, draft regulation or Bill raises human rights. Identify each human right that the proposal might impact upon.
The second step is to consider the scope of each human right raised by the proposal. At this stage you should take into account any specific limitations or express exceptions that appear in the section providing for the right.
The third step is to consider whether the proposal limits, restricts or interferes with the scope of the right.
The fourth step is to consider whether that limitation or restriction is reasonable and demonstrably justified under s. 7 of the Charter (see Flowchart B on page 49). For example, consider whether there is another way to achieve the policy objective that impacts less on the right, whether a provision could be drafted more narrowly, or contain safeguards to better protect affected rights. You will need to identify all of the reasons why the limitation or restriction on the right is justified. These may be extensive. This information is required for the preparation of a Statement of Compatibility or Human Rights Certificate.
The fifth step is to modify the policy proposal, draft regulation or Bill if you find that the limitation or restriction on the right is not reasonable or demonstrably justified. On some occasions, which are likely to be rare, it may not be possible to modify the proposal. In these situations you will need to give reasons as to the nature and extent of the incompatibility.
The below certificate shows just how a Minister can wave your human rights away by the flick of a pen.
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