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 Your rights

Australia's diversity and inclusiveness are among our strengths. In a democratic society, we are all entitled to equal rights and equal respect.

Human rights are universally agreed standards for how people should be treated by each other and by governments.

Human rights are the basic rights and freedoms that allow us to live with dignity and participate fully in civil, political, economic, social and cultural life.

Human rights are set down in international agreements called treaties or conventions.

Human rights are the basis of a fair, safe and productive society. They are fundamental to Australian society and reflect many of the values that drive the work of the Australian Government. These values include ensuring that relationships are respectful, communities are safe, all people have a fair go, services are focused on the people who need and use them, and government is transparent and accountable in its work.

The Australian Government has an obligation to respect, protect and fulfil human rights. This means the government is obliged to take action to ensure people can enjoy their human rights, and must also refrain from action that would breach people's human rights. Individuals also have a responsibility to respect the human rights of others.

The Australian Human Rights Commission is an independent statutory organisation that works to protect and promote the human rights of all people in Australia.

For more information on these rights and others visit the Australian Human Rights Commission website .

Australia has a proud human rights record. A number of laws, including the Racial Discrimination Act, protect the rights and freedoms that are part of Australia's heritage.

The Racial Discrimination Act 1975 prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, colour, descent or national or ethnic origin in many areas of public life. These include in employment, renting or buying property, the provision of goods and services, accessing public places and in advertising. The Act also prohibits offensive behaviour based on racial hatred (racial vilification).

There is a Race Discrimination Commissioner within the Australian Human Rights Commission. The role of the Race Discrimination Commissioner is to promote an inclusive Australia and work to increase community awareness of and compliance with the federal anti-discrimination laws.

If you feel that you or anyone in your community has been subjected to discrimination or vilification, you can lodge a complaint. The Australian Human Rights Commission can investigate complaints of discrimination and human rights breaches. Their complaint handling service is free, informal and impartial. If you would like to learn more or would like to make a complaint, please refer to the Australian Human Rights Commission website.