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.