Australian Bureau of Statistics

Rate the ABS website
ABS Home > Statistics > By Catalogue Number
ABS @ Facebook ABS @ Twitter ABS RSS ABS Email notification service
1370.0 - Measures of Australia's Progress, 2013  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 14/11/2013   
   Page tools: RSS Feed RSS Bookmark and Share
Measures of Australia's Progress

People's rights and responsibilities

Australians aspire to a society where everyone's rights are upheld and their responsibilities fulfilled

Image: Question mark - Data gap

A data gap currently exists for people's rights and responsibilities

    Why is this theme important?

    Australians told us that their rights and responsibilities, as defined and protected by national laws, were important. Australians also thought that international human rights conventions were important and relevant. Many people in the consultation aspired to have their rights upheld by Australian governance systems, and wanted justice systems and processes to be fair and accessible to all Australians. They saw this as a reciprocal relationship, with everyone having the responsibility to abide by Australia's laws. People in the consultation also valued Australia's democratic system of representational government as a means of ensuring rights and responsibilities are upheld and enable participation.

    In MAP there are several types of data gaps where:
    1. the concept is not yet developed enough to measure;
    2. the concept is important for progress but may not lend itself to meaningful measurement;
    3. there is no data of sufficient quality to inform on progress; or
    4. there is only one data point, so a progress assessment cannot be made.

    We consider this theme to be the second type of data gap listed above, i.e. although the concept is important for progress, it may not lend itself to meaningful measurement. This being the case, while we will continue to consider this area of progress, there is no guarantee that we will have a progress indicator for it in the future.

    But that is not the whole story...

    Look through the other tabs on this page to see where we have been able to track progress for the aspiration of people's rights and responsibilities.

    Check out our further info page for useful links, a glossary and references relating to this chapter.
A data gap currently exists for rights and responsibilities being upheld

In MAP there are several types of data gaps where:
1. the concept is not yet developed enough to measure;
2. the concept is important for progress but may not lend itself to meaningful measurement;
3. there is no data of sufficient quality to inform on progress; or
4. there is only one data point, so a progress assessment cannot be made.

We consider this element to be the second type of data gap listed above, i.e. although the concept is important for progress, it may not lend itself to meaningful measurement. We will continue to consider this area of progress, to explore possible ways to effectively measure progress against these concepts.

But that is not the whole story...

There is more to people's rights and responsibilities than rights and responsibilities being upheld. Look through the other tabs on this page to see if the other elements of people's rights and responsibilities have progressed.

Check out our further info page for useful links, a glossary and references relating to this chapter.
A data gap currently exists for national laws and standards


In MAP there are several types of data gaps where:
1. the concept is not yet developed enough to measure;
2. the concept is important for progress but may not lend itself to meaningful measurement;
3. there is no data of sufficient quality to inform on progress; or
4. there is only one data point, so a progress assessment cannot be made.

We consider this element to be the second type of data gap listed above, i.e. although the concept is important for progress, it may not lend itself to meaningful measurement. We will continue to consider this area of progress, to explore possible ways to effectively measure progress against these concepts.

But that is not the whole story...

There is more to people's rights and responsibilities than national laws and standards. Look through the other tabs on this page to see if the other elements of people's rights and responsibilities have progressed.

Check out our further info page for useful links, a glossary and references relating to this chapter.

Graph Image for Median months on remand for unsentenced prisoners
Access to justice in Australia has not changed greatly since 2004


Indicator: Time on remand for unsentenced prisoners

Why is this element important?

Access to justice was seen by Australians as an important aspect of progress because there is a strong desire in the community for justice systems and processes to be fair and accessible to all Australians. Desire for fair and accessible justice not only refers to aspects of Australia's criminal justice system, but also extends to other areas of law that people encounter including civil law and family law. Moreover, justice can be thought of more broadly within the community (natural justice for example). Access to justice is therefore important due to the significant impact it has in governing many aspects of people's lives.

Go to the overall progress tab and further info page for more information about people's rights and responsibilities.

How have we decided things haven't changed greatly?

We have decided that there has been little change in access to justice in Australia since 2004 because time on remand for unsentenced prisoners (our progress indicator for access to justice) hasn't moved much.

For progress, we would expect to see a decrease in the length of time unsentenced prisoners remain on remand.

At 30 June 2012, the median number of months on remand for unsentenced prisoners was 2.7 months. This was close to the median 8 years earlier in 2004 (of 2.8 months).

Why this progress indicator?

Time spent on remand is an important part of the aspiration for people's rights and responsibilities.

Time on remand for unsentenced prisoners is considered a good measure of progress for access to justice because it provides an annual snapshot, as at the National Prisoner Census date, of the length of time that suspects of crime have been held in custody awaiting the outcome of their court hearing. The length of time spent on remand is an important aspect of this element because a delay in a case being finalised before a court, delays both defendants and victims of crime from reaching a just outcome; whether this be through a conviction, acquittal, or some other legal outcome. Minimising time spent on remand is also an important aspect of a fair justice system for suspects who are subsequently acquitted, or who receive a non-custodial sentence.

A notable limitation of this indicator is that it only covers those offenders who are remanded in custody whilst awaiting trial. Those released on bail into the community are excluded from this indicator. It also only covers a relatively small area of procedural justice, that is as it relates to criminal proceedings. Procedures in other areas of law, for example, family law, civil law and commercial law, are not captured in this indicator. Moreover, other areas of life where justice is significant (such as a sense of natural justice in the workplace, or broader areas of distributive justice) are also not captured by this or other similar indicators.

Quality assessment (see key)

Image: Icon for 'Partial measure' This indicator is a partial measure of access to justice.

Image: Icon for 'High quality' The data source is of high quality.

But that is not the whole story...

There is more to people's rights and responsibilities than access to justice. Look through the other tabs on this page to see if the other elements of people's rights and responsibilities have progressed.

Check out our further info page for useful links, a glossary and references relating to this chapter.

Graph Image for People that feel they are able to have a say within community on important issues
Freedom of expression in Australia has not changed greatly in recent years

Indicator: Proportion of people that feel they are able to have a say within the community on important issues

Why is this element important?

Australians told us that freedom to express their views was an important right which supports good governance and a healthy society. This meant that all members of society should be free to share and discuss ideas and issues without fear of unfair treatment. Australians also recognised the inherent responsibility this right entailed. In particular, the right to express ideas freely, needs to be balanced with the need to treat others fairly and respect the sensibilities of others.

Go to the overall progress tab and further info page for more information about people's rights and responsibilities.

How have we decided things haven't changed greatly?

We have decided that there has been little change in freedom of expression in Australia in recent years because the proportion of people that feel they are able to have a say within the community on important issues (our progress indicator for freedom of expression) hasn't moved much.

For there to be progress in freedom of expression we would expect to see an increase in this indicator.

In 2006 and 2010, the proportion of people aged 18 years and over that felt they were able to have a say within community on important issues all or most of the time remained the same at 29%.

Why this progress indicator?

Being able to express one's views is an important part of the aspiration for people's rights and responsibilities.

The proportion of people that feel they are able to have a say within the community on important issues all or most of the time is considered a good measure of progress for freedom of expression because it captures whether people feel empowered and able to share their views with others in the community. An increase in the proportion would indicate an increased feeling of freedom of expression in the community.

Quality assessment (see key)

Image: Icon for 'Partial measure' This indicator is a partial measure of freedom of expression.

Image: Icon for 'High quality' The data source is of high quality.

But that is not the whole story...

There is more to people's rights and responsibilities than freedom of expression. Look through the other tabs on this page to see if the other elements of people's rights and responsibilities have progressed.

Check out our further info page for useful links, a glossary and references relating to this chapter.
A data gap currently exists for international conventions and laws

In MAP there are several types of data gaps where:
1. the concept is not yet developed enough to measure;
2. the concept is important for progress but may not lend itself to meaningful measurement;
3. there is no data of sufficient quality to inform on progress; or
4. there is only one data point, so a progress assessment cannot be made.

We consider this element to be the second type of data gap listed above, i.e. although the concept is important for progress, it may not lend itself to meaningful measurement. We will continue to consider this area of progress, to explore possible ways to effectively measure progress against this concept.

But that is not the whole story...

There is more to people's rights and responsibilities than international conventions and laws. Look through the other tabs on this page to see if the other elements of people's rights and responsibilities have progressed.

Check out our further info page for useful links, a glossary and references relating to this chapter.


Bookmark and Share. Opens in a new window

Commonwealth of Australia 2014

Unless otherwise noted, content on this website is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Australia Licence together with any terms, conditions and exclusions as set out in the website Copyright notice. For permission to do anything beyond the scope of this licence and copyright terms contact us.