The Charter was implemented because some basic human rights – such as freedom of expression, freedom of religion and protection from cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment – previously had no clear legal protection.

The Charter complements other laws – such as equal opportunity legislation – by setting out a familiar list of 20 rights that assist all people to live with freedom, respect, equality and dignity.

The Charter rights can be grouped under four key principles of Freedom, Respect, Equality and Dignity.


  • Freedom from forced work
  • Freedom of movement
  • Freedom of thought, conscience, religion and belief
  • Freedom of expression
  • Right to peaceful assembly and freedom of association
  • Property rights
  • Right to liberty and security of person
  • Fair hearing
  • Rights in criminal proceedings
  • Right not to be tried and punished more than once
  • Protection from retrospective criminal laws


  • Right to life
  • Protection of families and children
  • Cultural rights, including recognition of the distinct cultural rights of the Aboriginal people of Victoria


  • Recognition and equality before the law
  • Entitlement to participate in public life (including voting)


  • Protection from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment
  • Protection of privacy and reputation
  • Humane treatment when deprived of liberty
  • Appropriate treatment of children in the criminal process