Human Rights and Equal Opportunity

2016/17 Annual Report

The Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Committee met jointly with the Administrative, Constitutional and Migration Law Committee during the past year.

The Committee monitored the work of the Law Council of Australia in developing policy positions on:

  • the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse and the National Redress Principles for Survivors of Sexual Abuse;
    the National Model Gender Equitable Briefing Policy;
  • migration bills relating to regional processing, visa revalidation and procedure harmonisation;
  • disability discrimination; and
  • a Modern Slavery Act.

The Convenor and Emma Cavanagh represent the Law Society on the Law Council of Australia’s National Human Rights Committee. The Law Society contributed to the Law Council’s submission to the Inquiry into Freedom of Speech in Australia, and the Convenor appeared on behalf of the Law Council at the Senate Community Affairs References Committee on Indefinite Detention of People with Cognitive and Psychiatric Impairment in Australia.

The Convenor and committee member Emma Cavanagh represented the Committee on the Law Society’s Aboriginal Incarceration and Justice Reinvestment Working Group which developed policy papers for the Law Society on legal issues contributing to the incarceration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Western Australia.

The Committee assisted the President of the Law Society in preparing a position on the Misuse of Drugs Amendment (Search Powers) Bill 2016.

The Committee reviewed the Law Society’s policy position papers on the death penalty, mandatory sentencing and the presumption of bail and the adoption of the Law Society’s Reconciliation Action Plan.

The Committee is preparing a position paper for the Law Society on the Exposure Draft of the Marriage Amendment (Same-Sex Marriage) Bill.

Committee member Elizabeth Heenan is the Law Society representative on the following Law Council’s committees and working groups:

  • National Elder Law and Succession Committee;
  • Equal Opportunity Committee; and
  • Elder Abuse Inquiry Working Group.

For more information about this committee please email General Manager, Advocacy – Mary Woodford,