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Monday, 18 August 2003
Page: 18669

To the Honourable Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives assembled in parliament;

The petition of certain citizens of Australia draws to the attention of the House:

That under proposed changes the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission Amendment Bill 2003, pro-poses a number of significant changes t the operation of the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Com-mission (HREOC).

That the Bill abolishes the positions of the current specialist commissioners (human rights, sex, race, disability and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander social justice) and replaces them with three generalist commissioners.

That the Bill requires the Commission to obtain the Attorney-General's consent before exercising its power to seek leave to intervene in court proceedings (unless the President was a federal Judge im-med-iately before appointment, in which case the Attorney-General must be notified).

That the Bill removes HREOC's power to recommend the payment of damages or compensation following inquiries into certain types of complaints.

We therefore pray that the House takes urgent steps: to reject the proposal to create three Human Rights Commissioners and dismantle the offices of Sex, Race and Disability Commissioner; to reject the proposal that the Commission must seek approval from the Federal Attorney-General before intervening in a court case with human rights implications; and to reject the proposal to remove HREOC's power to recommend the payment of damages or compensation following inquiries into certain types of complaints.

by Ms Hoare (from 12 citizens)