The Australian Greens will ask Attorney General Nicola Roxon to refer the Stronger Futures legislation package to the newly established Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights.
“Stronger Futures, the legislation being used to extend the NT Intervention, was introduced before the joint committee was finalised, meaning the legislation will not be automatically scrutinised and does not need to include a human rights statement,” Senator Siewert said today.
“However, terms of reference for the committee allows it to investigate any matter relating to human rights upon referral from the Attorney-General.
“Widespread concerns have been raised about the Intervention and the consultation processes that have been undertaken as part of Stronger Futures.
“This morning in Senate Estimates, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner Mick Gooda said that submitting this legislation to the joint committee could help to reassure people in the NT and rebuild trust between the Government and Aboriginal people.
“Only yesterday Pacific representative of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Matilda Bogner, raised concerns about the Intervention, including comments that programs such as income management or SEAM could have ‘disproportionate and Discriminatory’ impacts on Aboriginal people.
“These comments are indicative of the serious questions being raised internationally about the impact of the Intervention on human rights.
“We have a committee set up to protect these rights and there is no good reason they should not have an opportunity to scrutinise this legislation,” Senator Siewert concluded.