ACT Legislative Assembly

7. Inquiry into Human Rights (Workers Rights) Amendment Bill 2019

Invitation to make a submission to an Inquiry

Human Rights (Workers Rights) Amendment Bill 2019

The Chair of the Standing Committee on Justice and Community Safety, Giulia Jones MLA, has announced that the Committee is seeking submissions on matters raised by the reference to the Committee of the Human Rights (Workers Rights) Amendment Bill 2019.

The Bill was referred to the Committee on 27 November 2019 for inquiry and report by the end of February 2020.

The Bill and Explanatory Statement are at:

The Committee has identified a number of matters which it considers are relevant to the Bill.  A schedule of these matters is attached.

In making a submission the Committee asks that any submission address the Bill and any or all of the matters of interest to the Committee you may wish to comment on.

Written submissions are to be lodged by COB Friday 13 March 2020 (Please note: Date extended from 31 January 2020).  Current guidelines to assist individuals and organisations to prepare submissions to Assembly Committees are at -

The Committee notes that submissions are to be typed and submitted electronically.  Submissions, including those sent electronically, are to include a postal address and telephone contact number.  All submissions are to be forwarded to:

Committee Secretary, JACS Committee, ACT Legislative Assembly

Email –

Postal – GPO Box 1020, CANBERRA ACT 2601

Please contact the committee secretary, Andrew Snedden, (02 62050199) if this invitation raises any queries or requires further advice and/or information.  The Committee will announce its program of hearings early in 2020.

Giulia Jones MLA


13 December 2019

Human Rights (Workers Rights) Amendment Bill 2019

Issues for Consideration by the Committee on this Inquiry

On 27 November 2019, the Legislative Assembly referred the following Bill to the Standing Committee for inquiry and report: That the Human Rights (Workers Rights) Amendment Bill 2019 be referred to the Standing Committee on Justice and Community Safety for report back to the Assembly by the end of February 2020.

Matters for consideration by the Committee on this Bill

The Committee has identified the following issues related to the proposed amendment Bill for inquiry and consideration by reference to the provisions of the ACT Human Rights Act 2004.

  • Current provisions in ACT law providing protection for Workers’ Rights (WR) in the Human Rights Act (HR Act).
  • The scope of the Bill to amend the HR Act so as to extend WR to include economic, social and cultural rights (ESC rights).
  • Protection of WR provided by the International Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESR) under the ICESCR, including matters such as:
    • the right to work in article 6(1),
    • the combination of interrelated rights, including, in particular, article 7 (right to just and favourable conditions of work); article 8 (right to form and join trade unions, including the right to strike); article 9 (right to social security); article 10(2) (right to maternity leave); and article 10(3) (prohibition against child labour).
  • The possible inclusion of workers’ rights in the HR Act, and the extent of Commonwealth responsibility for industrial relations under the Fair Work Act 2009’ may affect a ‘limited application’ of such rights in the ACT.
  • Possible overlap between core labour standards contained in ILO conventions and rights guaranteed under the ICESCR., including:
    • HR Act – protection (both directly and indirectly) to many of the rights articulated in the eight fundamental ILO Conventions, including:
      • freedom of association and assembly (s 15, HR Act),
      • the right to equality and non-discrimination (s 8, HR Act), children’s rights (s 11(2), HR Act),
      • freedom from forced labour (s 26, HR Act).
    • (NB - In accordance with s 31 of the HR Act, the laws of the ILO are directly relevant to interpreting these HR Act rights in the context of workers (and right to freedom of association in s 15 of the HR Act is drawn from article 22 of the ICCPR, which specifically references ILO standards).
  • Will the Bill ensure consistency of approach for implementing ESC rights in existing provisions of the HR Act?
  • Findings and recommendations of other parliamentary inquiries  (including the Commonwealth’s Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights and other forms of inquiry and reports over the last five years on WR and ESC rights.

The Bill and Explanatory Statement are at:

01. ACT Human rights Commission PDF (4.3 MB)
02. Dr B. Baer, J. Diedricks and Dr W. Bonython PDF (3.4 MB)
03. Australian Lawyers for Human Rights (ACT Branch) PDF (1.2 MB)
04. ACT Council of Social Services Inc. PDF (1.9 MB)
05. CPSU (PSU Group) PDF (2.1 MB)
06. Unions ACT PDF (295.7 KB)
07. ACT Government PDF (892.2 KB)

View committee hearings transcripts

Go to current public hearings schedule

Public hearings:

6 February 2020

27 February 2020

Report 7 - Inquiry Into The Human Rights (Workers Rights) Amendment Bill 2019 PDF (742.8 KB) Word (81.6 KB)
Report 7 - Appendix D - Human Rights (Workers Rights) Amendment Bill 2019 and Explanatory Statement PDF (339.8 KB)


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Page last updated on 16 December 2019
2015 Legislative Assembly for the ACT