Ombudsman makes submission to Human Rights Charter review

The Victorian Ombudsman has made a formal submission to the government's review of the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities. The review is being led by Michael Brett Young and will be delivered to the government by September, before being tabled in Parliament before 1 October 2015.
The submission makes clear the Victorian Ombudsman's ongoing commitment to human rights, as set out in the Ombudsman Act. Key recommendations in the submission include:
  • amending the Charter to create an independent cause of action and to allow for a full range of remedies when it is breached, including damages
  • giving the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission the function to provide conciliation services to help resolve individual human rights disputes
  • amending the Charter to expressly refer to the Ombudsman's function of enquiring into or investigating whether an administrative action is incompatible with a human right set out in the Charter.
Victorian Ombudsman Deborah Glass said the submission reflected the importance of human rights in an Ombudsman's work.
"The recommendations I have made in this submission aim to strengthen the protection of human rights in Victoria," Ms Glass said.
"The success of the Ombudsman model has seen it become an integral element of a modern government. In Victoria, the independence of the Ombudsman is constitutionally entrenched, enabling the promotion of excellence and respect for human rights. Having a specific human rights complaint-handling function utilises my office's independence, its royal commission style investigation powers and its ability to make and follow up on recommendations for administrative improvement."
Click here to read the full submission.