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Your Charter rights

Victoria’s Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities 2006codifies in legislation various rights. Part 2 of the Charterguarantees certain rights to all Victorians (section 8- 27).

Most relevant of these protected rights to activism are:

  • Right to life
  • Protection from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment
  • Freedom of movement
  • Privacy and reputation
  • Freedom of thought, conscience, religion and belief
  • Freedom of expression
  • Peaceful assembly and freedom of association
  • Taking part in public life
  • Property rights
  • Right to liberty and security of person
  • Humane treatment when deprived of liberty

Your Charterrights may be invoked and come into play in two situations. First, if the party you believe is infringing your rights is a public authority. Police are a public authority for the purposes of the Charter. Under the Charter, it is unlawful for a public authority to act in a way that is incompatible with a human right or, in making a decision, to fail to give proper consideration to a relevant human right. Secondly, in the interpretation of legislation, where possible, legislation should be interpreted consistently with human rights. Some police powers are derived from the common law. As a piece of legislation, the Charterwill override inconsistent common law.

The Charterrecognises and anticipates the limitation of these rights under s 7(2). Such limitation is only allowable where demonstrably justifiable in a free and democratic society and must be strictly proportionate to the end sought to be achieved by the limitation.