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"Rights" in the Victorian Human Rights Act 2006 (Extract)

We have published Part 2 of the Victorian Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006 here to give some convenient access to the rights accorded there. Obviously people need to read the whole act to see how these rights are defined and how and if they may be enforced. All acts passed by the Victorian Parliament are supposed to be compatible with these rights.

Extract from Victorian Human Rights Act 2006

[You can also download a word.doc copy of the full act here.]

PART 2—HUMAN RIGHTS

7. Human rights—what they are and when they may
be limited

(1) This Part sets out the human rights that Parliament
specifically seeks to protect and promote.
(2) A human right may be subject under law only to
such reasonable limits as can be demonstrably
justified in a free and democratic society based on
human dignity, equality and freedom, and taking
into account all relevant factors including—
(a) the nature of the right; and
(b) the importance of the purpose of the
limitation; and
(c) the nature and extent of the limitation; and
(d) the relationship between the limitation and
its purpose; and
(e) any less restrictive means reasonably
available to achieve the purpose that the
limitation seeks to achieve.
(3) Nothing in this Charter gives a person, entity or
public authority a right to limit (to a greater extent
than is provided for in this Charter) or destroy the
human rights of any person.

8. Recognition and equality before the law
(1) Every person has the right to recognition as a
person before the law.
(2) Every person has the right to enjoy his or her
human rights without discrimination.
(3) Every person is equal before the law and is
entitled to the equal protection of the law without
discrimination and has the right to equal and
effective protection against discrimination.
(4) Measures taken for the purpose of assisting or
advancing persons or groups of persons
disadvantaged because of discrimination do not
constitute discrimination.

9. Right to life
Every person has the right to life and has the right
not to be arbitrarily deprived of life.

10. Protection from torture and cruel, inhuman or
degrading treatment

A person must not be—
(a) subjected to torture; or
(b) treated or punished in a cruel, inhuman or
degrading way; or
(c) subjected to medical or scientific
experimentation or treatment without his or
her full, free and informed consent.

11. Freedom from forced work

(1) A person must not be held in slavery or servitude.
(2) A person must not be made to perform forced or
compulsory labour.
(3) For the purposes of sub-section (2) "forced or
compulsory labour"
does not include—
(a) work or service normally required of a
person who is under detention because of a
lawful court order or who, under a lawful
court order, has been conditionally released
from detention or ordered to perform work in
the community; or
(b) work or service required because of an
emergency threatening the Victorian
community or a part of the Victorian
community; or

(c) work or service that forms part of normal
civil obligations.
(4) In this section "court order" includes an order
made by a court of another jurisdiction.

12. Freedom of movement

Every person lawfully within Victoria has the
right to move freely within Victoria and to enter
and leave it and has the freedom to choose where
to live.

13. Privacy and reputation

A person has the right—
(a) not to have his or her privacy, family, home
or correspondence unlawfully or arbitrarily
interfered with; and
(b) not to have his or her reputation unlawfully
attacked.

14. Freedom of thought, conscience, religion and belief

(1) Every person has the right to freedom of thought,
conscience, religion and belief, including—
(a) the freedom to have or to adopt a religion or
belief of his or her choice; and
(b) the freedom to demonstrate his or her
religion or belief in worship, observance,
practice and teaching, either individually or
as part of a community, in public or in
private.
(2) A person must not be coerced or restrained in a
way that limits his or her freedom to have or adopt
a religion or belief in worship, observance,
practice or teaching.

15. Freedom of expression

(1) Every person has the right to hold an opinion
without interference.
(2) Every person has the right to freedom of
expression which includes the freedom to seek,
receive and impart information and ideas of all
kinds, whether within or outside Victoria and
whether—
(a) orally; or
(b) in writing; or
(c) in print; or
(d) by way of art; or
(e) in another medium chosen by him or her.
(3) Special duties and responsibilities are attached to
the right of freedom of expression and the right
may be subject to lawful restrictions reasonably
necessary—
(a) to respect the rights and reputation of other
persons; or
(b) for the protection of national security, public
order, public health or public morality.

16. Peaceful assembly and freedom of association

(1) Every person has the right of peaceful assembly.
(2) Every person has the right to freedom of
association with others, including the right to form
and join trade unions.

17. Protection of families and children

(1) Families are the fundamental group unit of society
and are entitled to be protected by society and the
State.
(2) Every child has the right, without discrimination,
to such protection as is in his or her best interests
and is needed by him or her by reason of being a
child.

18. Taking part in public life

(1) Every person in Victoria has the right, and is to
have the opportunity, without discrimination, to
participate in the conduct of public affairs,
directly or through freely chosen representatives.
(2) Every eligible person has the right, and is to have
the opportunity, without discrimination—
(a) to vote and be elected at periodic State and
municipal elections that guarantee the free
expression of the will of the electors; and
(b) to have access, on general terms of equality,
to the Victorian public service and public
office.

19. Cultural rights

(1) All persons with a particular cultural, religious,
racial or linguistic background must not be denied
the right, in community with other persons of that
background, to enjoy his or her culture, to declare
and practise his or her religion and to use his or
her language.
(2) Aboriginal persons hold distinct cultural rights
and must not be denied the right, with other
members of their community—
(a) to enjoy their identity and culture; and
(b) to maintain and use their language; and
(c) to maintain their kinship ties; and
(d) to maintain their distinctive spiritual,
material and economic relationship with the
land and waters and other resources with
which they have a connection under
traditional laws and customs.

20. Property rights

A person must not be deprived of his or her
property other than in accordance with law.

21. Right to liberty and security of person

(1) Every person has the right to liberty and security.
(2) A person must not be subjected to arbitrary arrest
or detention.
(3) A person must not be deprived of his or her liberty
except on grounds, and in accordance with
procedures, established by law.
(4) A person who is arrested or detained must be
informed at the time of arrest or detention of the
reason for the arrest or detention and must be
promptly informed about any proceedings to be
brought against him or her.
(5) A person who is arrested or detained on a criminal
charge—
(a) must be promptly brought before a court; and
(b) has the right to be brought to trial without
unreasonable delay; and
(c) must be released if paragraph (a) or (b) is not
complied with.

(6) A person awaiting trial must not be automatically
detained in custody, but his or her release may be
subject to guarantees to appear—
(a) for trial; and
(b) at any other stage of the judicial proceeding;
and
(c) if appropriate, for execution of judgment.
(7) Any person deprived of liberty by arrest or
detention is entitled to apply to a court for a
declaration or order regarding the lawfulness of
his or her detention, and the court must—
(a) make a decision without delay; and
(b) order the release of the person if it finds that
the detention is unlawful.
(8) A person must not be imprisoned only because of
his or her inability to perform a contractual
obligation.

22. Humane treatment when deprived of liberty

(1) All persons deprived of liberty must be treated
with humanity and with respect for the inherent
dignity of the human person.
(2) An accused person who is detained or a person
detained without charge must be segregated from
persons who have been convicted of offences,
except where reasonably necessary.
(3) An accused person who is detained or a person
detained without charge must be treated in a way
that is appropriate for a person who has not been
convicted.

23. Children in the criminal process

(1) An accused child who is detained or a child
detained without charge must be segregated from
all detained adults.
(2) An accused child must be brought to trial as
quickly as possible.
(3) A child who has been convicted of an offence
must be treated in a way that is appropriate for his
or her age.

24. Fair hearing

(1) A person charged with a criminal offence or a
party to a civil proceeding has the right to have
the charge or proceeding decided by a competent,
independent and impartial court or tribunal after a
fair and public hearing.
(2) Despite sub-section (1), a court or tribunal may
exclude members of media organisations or other
persons or the general public from all or part of a
hearing if permitted to do so by a law other than
this Charter.

Note: For example, section 19 of the Supreme Court
Act 1986
sets out the circumstances in which the
Supreme Court may close all or part of a proceeding
to the public. See also section 80AA of the County
Court Act 1958
and section 126 of the Magistrates'
Court Act 1989.

(3) All judgments or decisions made by a court or
tribunal in a criminal or civil proceeding must be
made public unless the best interests of a child
otherwise requires or a law other than this Charter
otherwise permits.

25. Rights in criminal proceedings

(1) A person charged with a criminal offence has the
right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty
according to law.
(2) A person charged with a criminal offence is
entitled without discrimination to the following
minimum guarantees—
(a) to be informed promptly and in detail of the
nature and reason for the charge in a
language or, if necessary, a type of
communication that he or she speaks or
understands; and
(b) to have adequate time and facilities to
prepare his or her defence and to
communicate with a lawyer or advisor
chosen by him or her; and
(c) to be tried without unreasonable delay; and
(d) to be tried in person, and to defend himself
or herself personally or through legal
assistance chosen by him or her or, if
eligible, through legal aid provided by
Victoria Legal Aid under the Legal Aid
Act 1978;
and
(e) to be told, if he or she does not have legal
assistance, about the right, if eligible, to legal
aid under the Legal Aid Act 1978; and
(f) to have legal aid provided if the interests of
justice require it, without any costs payable
by him or her if he or she meets the
eligibility criteria set out in the Legal Aid
Act 1978;
and
(g) to examine, or have examined, witnesses
against him or her, unless otherwise provided
for by law; and
(h) to obtain the attendance and examination of
witnesses on his or her behalf under the same
conditions as witnesses for the prosecution;
and
(i) to have the free assistance of an interpreter if
he or she cannot understand or speak
English; and
(j) to have the free assistance of assistants and
specialised communication tools and
technology if he or she has communication
or speech difficulties that require such
assistance; and
(k) not to be compelled to testify against himself
or herself or to confess guilt.
(3) A child charged with a criminal offence has the
right to a procedure that takes account of his or
her age and the desirability of promoting the
child's rehabilitation.
(4) Any person convicted of a criminal offence has
the right to have the conviction and any sentence
imposed in respect of it reviewed by a higher
court in accordance with law.

26. Right not to be tried or punished more than once

A person must not be tried or punished more than
once for an offence in respect of which he or she
has already been finally convicted or acquitted in
accordance with law.

27. Retrospective criminal laws

(1) A person must not be found guilty of a criminal
offence because of conduct that was not a criminal
offence when it was engaged in.
(2) A penalty must not be imposed on any person for
a criminal offence that is greater than the penalty
that applied to the offence when it was committed.
(3) If a penalty for an offence is reduced after a
person committed the offence but before the
person is sentenced for that offence, that person is
eligible for the reduced penalty.
(4) Nothing in this section affects the trial or
punishment of any person for any act or omission
which was a criminal offence under international
law at the time it was done or omitted to be done.