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New Human Rights Bill - Minister Offers Compromise

New Human Rights Amendment Bill - Minister Proposes Compromise

Following consultation with other political parties, the Government has introduced a new Human Rights Amendment Bill which largely preserves the status quo for another two years.

This will allow further consideration to be given to the issues before final decisions are taken on the question of compliance with the principal act.

The new bill will require the Minister of Justice to report to Parliament on a six monthly basis on progress across the state sector in resolving inconsistencies between existing acts and regulations and the Human Rights Act.

As well, the Human Rights Commission will be required to consider and comment in depth on the Minister's draft report. This analysis will be included in the Minister's tabled report.

The Government and the Human Rights Commission have agreed on an allocation of additional funding to support this role.

The bill has four clauses:

· expiry date of s151 (whereby the Human Rights Act becomes superior law) is deferred from 31/12/99 to 31/12/01.

· preserving employee rights to age-linked retirement benefits.

· expiry date of exemption parts of the Social Security Act extended to match the new deferred date.

· a new Ministerial reporting process (described above).

Justice Minister Tony Ryall said the new bill would give Parliament another two years to resolve the issues arising out of the Consistency 2000 process. "This is a pragmatic response which enjoys support across the House," said Mr Ryall.


ENDS

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