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Charter responsibilities and the public sector

The Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006 (the Charter) sets out the basic rights, freedoms and responsibilities of all people in Victoria. As such, it helps guide the relationship between the government and the people it serves.


The Charter requires public authorities, such as Victorian state and local government departments and agencies, and people delivering services on behalf of government, to act consistently with the human rights in the Charter.

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Charter obligations

The Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006 (the Charter) forms part of a broader human rights framework, including international human rights law and laws that also protect people’s rights in Victoria, such as the Equal Opportunity Act 2010 and the Racial and Religious Tolerance Act 2001.

The Charter places responsibilities on the three areas of government: Parliament, courts and tribunals and public authorities.

Charter obligations on Parliament

  • When introducing new laws into Victoria’s Parliament, a Statement of Compatibility must be tabled in Parliament, indicating how the proposed law is compatible or incompatible with the rights set out in the Charter.
  • The Scrutiny of Acts and Regulations Committee reviews Bills and statutory rules and reports to Parliament as to whether they are compatible with human rights.
  • In exceptional circumstances, Parliament may declare a law as being incompatible with one or more of the rights in the Charter but still pass the law.

Charter obligations on courts and tribunals

  • Courts and tribunals must interpret all Victorian laws in a way that upholds the human rights outlined in the Charter, as far as this is possible.
  • The Supreme Court has the power to declare that a law or provision is inconsistent with human rights but does not have the power to strike it down.

Charter obligations on public authorities

  • Public authorities must act compatibly with human rights and give proper consideration to human rights when making decisions.

You can also find out more about the benefits of building a human rights culture and how to go about it.

Human rights culture indicator framework – Oct 2021

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The Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission acknowledges that we work on the traditional lands of the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We also work remotely and serve communities on the lands of other Traditional Custodians.

We pay our respects to their Elders past and present.