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TasCOSS comments on A single tribunal for Tasmania: Discussion paper, September 2015

In Victoria for example, the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) is subject to the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006 (Vic) under two separate provisions. Firstly, under section 32(1), when interpreting and applying the provisions of the Victorian Act, the Tribunal is required to keep Charter Rights in mind and consider whether the legislative provisions can be construed both consistently with their purposes and compatibility with human rights. Secondly, as a public authority when acting in an administrative capacity (under section 4), the tribunal must not fail to give proper consideration to a relevant human right under section 38 (1) of the Charter. TasCOSS believes that a Tasmanian Charter of Human Rights would complement and strengthen the work of a Civil and Administrative Tribunal in the State. A Charter of Human Rights has been considered for Tasmania and has been the subject of several public consultations. The Tasmanian Law Reform Institute found through its public consultations held in 2006-07, that ‘Of the submissions received [407 submissions] the vast majority (94.1%) supported the enactment of a Charter of Human Rights’.4 This was reflected in the final recommendation made by the Institute in 2007. Further consultation was held in 2010 by the Department of Justice to which TasCOSS submitted, in part: TasCOSS strongly supports the introduction of legislation to protect human rights in Tasmania and recognises the potential this has both to increase community awareness of human rights and to promote a strong culture of respect for the rights of all Tasmanians. It is our view that a Tasmanian Human Rights Act will also contribute significantly to promoting social inclusion and equity and will demonstrate a positive commitment by the government of Tasmania to valuing and respecting the rights of all.5

TasCOSS considers that a Tasmanian Civil and Administrative Tribunal has extraordinary potential to realise and protect human rights if coupled with the introduction of a Tasmanian Human Rights Charter which is now, in our view well overdue. Importance of a ‘Protective Division’ TasCOSS supports the recommendation made in the Discussion paper for the establishment of ‘Protective Division’ as one of two separate divisions within a new Tasmanian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

University of Tasmania 2007, Media release: Charter of Rights recommended for Tasmania, 12 Oct 2007 http://www.utas.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0005/283730/Human_rightsfinalversion_media.pdf, accessed 29 Sept 2015. 5 TasCOSS Response to Human Rights Charter Legislative Project Directions Paper January 2011 http://www.tascoss.org.au/Portals/0/Documents/Social%20Policy/TasCOSS%20Human%20Rights%20Ch arter%20submission%20Jan%202011.pdf accessed 27 Sept 2015 4

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A single tribunal for Tasmania: Discussion Paper TasCOSS comments  

TasCOSS supports the two stage consultation process which includes an initial discussion paper followed by an options paper. Given this appr...

A single tribunal for Tasmania: Discussion Paper TasCOSS comments  

TasCOSS supports the two stage consultation process which includes an initial discussion paper followed by an options paper. Given this appr...