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Inquiry Details

NSW Bill of Rights

The Committee was first established on 24 May 1995. The Committee was re-appointed on 25 May 1999 for the previous Parliament. It is anticipated that the Committee will be reappointed during the first session of the current Parliament. The functions of the Committee are to inquire into, consider and report on matters concerned with legal and constitutional issues including law reform, parliamentary matters, criminal law and administrative law; issues arising in connection with the New South Wales criminal justice system, including matters concerned with Attorney General, police and corrective services and juvenile justice; industrial relations; emergency services and fair trading.

Making a Submission New Zealand - Bill of Rights Act 1990: http://rangi.knowledge-basket.co.nz/gpacts/public/text/1990/an/109.html United Kingdom - Human Rights Act 1998: http://www.hmso.gov.uk/acts/acts1998/80042--a.htm Canada - Canadian Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms: http://www.pch.gc.ca/ddp-hrd/ENGLISH/charter/contents.htm South Africa - Constitution of the Republic of South Africa 1996: http://www.polity.org.za/govdocs/constitution/saconst.html The United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights: http://www.hrweb.org/legal/cpr.html A Summary of United Nations Agreements on Human Rights: http://www.hrweb.org/legal/undocs.html Department of Foreign Affairs: Human Rights Manual: http://www.dfat.gov.au/hr/hr_manual/index.html The Australian Treaties Library: http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/other/dfat

Reference from Attorney General received on 19 November 1999 reported to House 23 November 1999, 2nd Session, Minutes No. 25, Item 6. That the Standing Committee on Law and Justice undertake an Inquiry into and report on whether it is appropriate and in the public interest to enact a statutory New South Wales Bill of Rights and/or whether amendments should be made to the Interpretation Act 1987 to require courts to take into account rights contained in International Conventions, with particular reference to: whether the rights declared in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights should be incorporated into domestic law by such a Bill of Rights; whether economic, social and cultural rights, group rights and the rights of indigenous people should be included in a Bill of Rights; whether individual responsibilities as distinct from rights should be included in a Bill of Rights; the consequences for Australian common law of Bill of Rights in the United Kingdom, Canada and New Zealand; in what circumstances Parliament might exercise its ultimate authority to override basic rights declared in a Bill of Rights and what procedures need to be put in place to ensure that any such overriding legislation complies with the Bill of Rights; the circumstances, if any, in which a Bill of Rights should be binding on individuals as distinct from the Legislative, Executive and Judicial arms of Government and persons or bodies performing a public function or exercising a public power under legislation; the extent and manner in which the rights declared in a Bill of Rights should be enforceable; whether a Bill of Rights should be subject to any reasonable limits prescribed by law that are demonstrably justifiable in a free and democratic society; whether there should be a legislative requirement on courts to construe legislation in a manner which is compatible with international human rights instruments; and any other matter arising out of or incidental to these terms of reference.

That the Standing Committee on Law and Justice undertake an Inquiry into and report on whether it is appropriate and in the public interest to enact a statutory New South Wales Bill of Rights and/or whether amendments should be made to the Interpretation Act 1987 to require courts to take into account rights contained in International Conventions, with particular reference to: whether the rights declared in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights should be incorporated into domestic law by such a Bill of Rights; whether economic, social and cultural rights, group rights and the rights of indigenous people should be included in a Bill of Rights; whether individual responsibilities as distinct from rights should be included in a Bill of Rights; the consequences for Australian common law of Bill of Rights in the United Kingdom, Canada and New Zealand; in what circumstances Parliament might exercise its ultimate authority to override basic rights declared in a Bill of Rights and what procedures need to be put in place to ensure that any such overriding legislation complies with the Bill of Rights; the circumstances, if any, in which a Bill of Rights should be binding on individuals as distinct from the Legislative, Executive and Judicial arms of Government and persons or bodies performing a public function or exercising a public power under legislation; the extent and manner in which the rights declared in a Bill of Rights should be enforceable; whether a Bill of Rights should be subject to any reasonable limits prescribed by law that are demonstrably justifiable in a free and democratic society; whether there should be a legislative requirement on courts to construe legislation in a manner which is compatible with international human rights instruments; and any other matter arising out of or incidental to these terms of reference.


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