Australian Government Takes ALHR’s Advice on Business and Human Rights

Last week, Australian Lawyers for Human Rights managed to advice the government on adopting a national policy to be used on business and human rights.

Earlier, the Australian Government officially announced that it was planning to carry out a national consultation regarding the implementation of the United Nations (UN) Guiding Principles covering Business and Human Rights throughout this year. In addition, the group of lawyers urged the government to consider being in line with other neighboring countries by creating a National Action Plan (NAP).

“It should be taken into account that NAP is one of the best resolutions that were co-sponsored by Australia back in the year 2011,” said Amy Sinclair, the chair of ALHR’s human rights and business group. They are policy commitments that show the UN Guiding Principles when it comes to Human Rights and Business. NAP has been fully initiated or launched by approximately forty nations all over the world. According to the ALHR, some of the great nations that have embraced these policy commitments include the US, Germany and the UK.

Fortunately, ALHR did a great job last month by submitting a policy paper urging the Australian government to embark on a consultation process that will be in the form of a multi-stakeholder. “We can now tell that the government’s commitment on this matter shows that it is willing and ready to seriously engage with business and human rights,” said Ms. Sinclair. In addition, “the government will surely have an easy time implementing the Guiding Principles since a NAP would provide guidance, direction and certainty regarding all these,” added Ms. Sinclair.

The ALHR’s chairperson also said that there is much hope from these consultations because they are clear intentions for developing a National Action Plan. “However, in order to achieve an effective result, it is equally important for the government to consider consulting a wide range of stakeholders,” said Ms. Sinclair.

The chairperson said that the country is in need of a public policy framework that provides adequate access to remedy by ensuring there is adequate business respect for human rights.

She concluded by saying that all types of members from the society should be included as stakeholders to ensure that all voices are well-represented. Therefore, the process for choosing stakeholders should be just and fair. The group of lawyers advised the government to avoid by all means, concentrating on one side. That may include assuming disempowered and vulnerable members of society or favoring those representing powerful business interests.

Written by Joseph Craig

Joseph Craig is a writer, blogger, legal researcher and best-selling author of dozens of technology, law, digital marketing and self-development books and courses. You can contact him at josephcraigwrites@gmail.com

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