(Sydney) – Australia’s 2022 federal election on May 21 is an opportunity for voters to make their vote count for human rights, Human Rights Watch said today. Voters must heed candidates’ positions on key human rights issues and support those who will push for policies that protect fundamental rights in Australia and defend human rights abroad.
On April 18, 2022, Human Rights Watch sent a questionnaire to the three largest political parties – the Coalition, the Australian Labor Party, and the Greens – in the Australian federal election. All three parties responded.
“Australia’s election campaign has raised many issues that involve fundamental human rights, including the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment, the right to seek asylum and the right to be free from discrimination,” said Sophie McNeill, Australian researcher at Human Rights. Watch. “We will hold parties and candidates to their promises to respect human rights, and we will advocate strongly where human rights obligations are not being met.
The parties shared their positions on a range of national human rights issues, including climate change, the disproportionate incarceration of First Nations people, transgender Australians and refugee admission.
Foreign policy issues included overseas treatment of asylum seekers, targeted sanctions against rights abusers, human rights abuses in the Asia-Pacific region, import of goods manufactured by forced labor and the responsibility of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
“As the world grapples with the growing consequences of the climate crisis, abusive armed conflict and the threats of rising illiberalism and authoritarianism, this election comes at a critical time,” McNeill said. “The impact that Australian voters can have if they stand up for human rights when casting their vote is more important than ever.”
The compilation of questionnaire responses can be viewed on the Human Rights Watch website.