The Victorian Scrutiny of Acts and Regulations Committee (SARC) yesterday handed down its long-awaited review report
into the operation of the Victorian charter of rights, with a majority of the committee recommending major modifications.
At the very least, the options presented in the report provide for the removal of the more contentious aspects of the charter, including the threat of judicial activism and the potential diluting of parliamentary authority through ‘declarations of incompatibility’.
Ensuring that people are treated fairly and that fundamental rights are not trampled on by public officials is important. Strengthening the role of the Ombudsman and providing other remedies form a vital part of any reform in this area.
Whilst ACL welcomes the changes proposed, we believe the best way to remedy the pitfalls of the charter is to repeal it. With the review report now public, the Parliament will consider the SARC recommendations over coming months.
Last year the former Rudd government rejected a federal charter of rights following strong community opposition that it would hand power to unelected judges. ACL has previously written about its concerns regarding the Victorian charter here