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Tuesday, 26 June 2001
Page: 25088

Motion (by Senator Murray, at the request of Senator Ridgeway) agreed to:

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) the fourth annual Human Rights Register was launched on 7 June 2001 by the Catholic Commission for Justice Development and Peace; former High Court Judge Sir Ronald Wilson; Reverend Tim Costello, President of the Baptist Union of Australia; and Chris Maxwell, QC of Liberty Victoria,

(ii) the register was compiled for the period May 2000 to May 2001, and contains over 265 entries, of which 75 per cent are negative, and

(iii) the most prominent issues on the register are:

(a) mandatory detention of asylum seekers and refugees (26 negative entries),

(b) the ongoing and high levels of inequality and disadvantage experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as a result of mandatory sentencing legislation, disproportionately high rates of incarceration and deaths in custody (25 negative entries), and

(c) Australia's partial withdrawal from the United Nation's Human Rights Treaty Committee system;

(b) condemns the Government on its alarming responsibility for 40 per cent of all negative entries on the Human Rights Register; and

(c) calls on the Government to:

(i) make a strong commitment to improve its record in subsequent Human Rights Registers, and

(ii) respect and fully implement its international human rights treaty obligations, and to work in co-operation with the United Nations treaty committee system to this end.