Human Rights Commission 'neglected holding government to account' on 'cold, overcrowded' houses

Tova O'Brien spoke to Chief Human Rights Commissioner Paul Hunt on Tuesday night.

O'Brien asked Hunt if the Human Rights Commission has failed on this fundamental human right of housing.

"In my view. The Human Rights Commission has neglected holding government to account. Over the last 40, 50 years in relation to the right to a decent home. Unquestionably, yes," Hunt said.

As the Human Rights Commission outlines adequate housing as a "fundamental human right," O'Brien asked Hunt if he thinks that emergency motels count as adequate housing.

"No, I don't think that they do. In fact, I'm sure that they don't," Hunt said.

O'Brien asked if the more than 10,000 people, 4,700 of which are children, living in emergency housing, is indicative of the government breaching their fundamental human rights.

"Well, that's the point," said Hunt. "As I referred to earlier, Tova. 50 years of neglect, they (the government) have had 18 months to sort it. I'm not yet willing to say that they have not done all that they reasonably could have done."

O'Brien noted that the current government have been in power for four and a half years, suggesting Hunt sounded "a little bit sycophantic to the current government".

"What I want to do is I want to see the implementation of the policies that the government published at the end of last year," said Hunt. 

"Then we'll be able to make a calculation as to whether or not the government is in breach or not."

Listen to the full interview between Chief Human Rights Commissioner Paul Hunt and Tova above.

You can also download the full interview on the Tova podcast, and listen on the go. Check it out on the rova app or wherever you get your podcasts.