Australian govt. announces natl. consultation on business & human rights

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Article
15 January 2018

Australia: UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights writes to Australian govt. expressing disappoinment about decision not to proceed with a National Action Plan

Author: UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights

18 December 2017

I am writing to you on behalf of the United Nations Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises (Working Group) regarding the Australian Government’s decision not to proceed in developing a national action plan (NAP) on business and human rights at this time...

...we were disappointed by the Government’s decision not to proceed with a NAP at this time. As Australia is set to begin its term in the Human Rights Council in 2018, we had hoped to count Australia among the governments that are showing leadership in advancing implementation of the UNGPs
through concrete steps...

Download the full document here

Report
25 October 2017

Advice on the prioritisation of issues and actions to implement the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights

Author: Multi-Stakeholder Advisory Group on the Implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights

August 2017

Report providing advice on the prioritisation of issues and actions to implement the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights in Australia.

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Article
25 October 2017

Government ignores advice of expert group on business and human rights

Author: Human Rights Law Centre

18 October 2017

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has come under strong criticism from members of an advisory group that the Minister established just this year. Members of the Multi-Stakeholder Advisory Group on the Implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights were disappointed that their recommendations have been dismissed outright by the Foreign Minister... 

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Article
1 April 2017

Stocktake on Business and Human Rights in Australia

Author: Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

In early 2016, in response to Australia’s November 2015 Universal Periodic Review, the Government committed to progress national consultations on further implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights... Initial consultations took place in mid-2016... [and] a Multi-Stakeholder Advisory Group on Implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights met for the first time on 2 May 2017. 

To inform these consultations, the Government commissioned the Stocktake on Business and Human Rights in Australia, which maps existing laws, policies and practice on business and human rights...but does not provide a gap analysis or other judgment on the effectiveness of existing measures. Rather, it is a precursor to further multi-stakeholder consultation on implementation of the UNGPs in Australia and is intended to inform future discussions, including regarding the question of the potential development of a NAP.

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Article
3 August 2016

Australia: Companies support proposed National Action Plan on business & human rights, at events hosted by UN Global Compact, govt.

Author: UN Global Compact Network Australia

"Towards a National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights: Business Roundtables", 2 Aug 2016

In late May and early June, the Global Compact Network Australia and Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade convened business roundtables to consider the development of an Australian National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights... 

The Australian Government has made a voluntary commitment to undertake a national consultation on the implementation of the UNGPs during 2016. The development of a NAP is one way to further implementation of the UNGPs...

There was general support from business representatives for the development of an Australian NAP...

A number of potential opportunities for a NAP were identified, including:

  • Australian domestic context: contributing to greater enforcement of existing Australian legislation relating to human rights...
  • High-risk jurisdictions: Australian Government support to build the capacity of other governments in conflict-affected and weak governance jurisdictions to put the right frameworks in place...
  • Supply chains: contributing to greater enforcement of existing Australian legislation relating to human rights including around labour hire...
  • Small to medium sized enterprises...
  • Remedy...

Read the full summary report from the business roundtables here.

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Article
1 August 2016

Implementing the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights in Australia: Joint Civil Society statement

Author: Amy Sinclair, Australian Human Rights Commission

[In May 2016] the Australian Human Rights Commission hosted a roundtable meeting for civil society representatives, including nongovernmental organisations and academia. This Joint Civil Society Statement reflects the key outcomes of the CSO Roundtable. The key question underpinning this Statement is: how are the UNGPs to be operationalised in Australia? This Statement sets out civil society’s initial recommendations to the Australian Government on the implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) in Australia. [Recommendations include:]

  • establish a multi-stakeholder advisory group
  • conduct a thorough, consultative and efficient national baseline assessment
  • develop a national action plan on business and human rights
  • meet criteria for the NAP development process and content
  • lead by example, particularly in public procurement and the operation of state-owned, controlled and supported business enterprises
  • develop clear guidance for business on how to respect human rights in accordance with the UNGPs, including on human rights due diligence and reporting
  • develop options for safeguarding, supporting and developing mechanisms that provide access to remedy for the victims of business-related human rights abuses
  • strengthen the Australian OECD National Contact Point
  • commit adequate resources to implementing the UNGPs

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Article
16 March 2016

Australian Government confirms national consultations on business and human rights

Author: Global Compact Network Australia

In the Australian Government’s official response to its Universal Periodic Review on human rights, now made available publicly, the Government has stated that it “will undertake a national consultation on the implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights during 2016.”

The [Global Compact Network Australia] is organising business roundtables in late May to feed into this process, in collaboration with DFAT. Details will be announced shortly...The Australian Government’s consultations will discuss the potential of an Australian NAP or similar...

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Article
14 March 2016

Lawyers welcome natl. consultation on implementation of UN Guiding Principles

Author: Australian Lawyers for Human Rights

"ALHR congratulates the Australian Government on its commitment to a national consultation on Business and Human Rights in 2016", 12 Mar 2016

The Australian Government…indicated that it will undertake a national consultation on the implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights…Australian Lawyers for Human Rights (ALHR) welcomes the Government’s announcement and acknowledges that this represents a significant step towards implementing internationally-accepted business and human rights standards in Australia. The announcement comes as part of the Australian Government’s response…to its Universal Periodic Review which was held at the UN Human Rights Council…Chair of ALHR’s Business and Human Rights Group, Amy Sinclair…noted that, “to achieve an effective result, these consultations must be properly constituted. The voices of all stakeholders must be included – not just those representing powerful business interests, but also vulnerable and disempowered members of society.”…“It is hoped that a clear intention to develop a National Action Plan for Australia will emerge from these consultations” concluded Ms Sinclair.

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Article
16 February 2016

Policy Paper on an Australian NAP to implement the UN Guiding Principles

Author: Australian Lawyers for Human Rights

Australian companies potentially impact nearly all internationally-recognised human rights either directly, or through their operations, products or services, both in Australia and abroad. The responsibility of business to respect human rights extends to all internationally-recognised human rights and to all companies...This policy paper examines the international human rights principles and obligations relevant to the development of a National Action Plan (NAP) to implement the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) in Australia. It provides a review of NAP processes conducted in other jurisdictions and presents recommendations for best practice... ALHR calls on the Australian Government to make a formal commitment to develop a NAP to implement the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs)... [and this paper] sets out LHR’s expectations regarding the process and content... [The paper also] provides an overview of other [countries'] experiences in developing NAPs and identifies the areas of strength and weakness in those processes that can be applied in Australia.

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