Report backs call for federal human rights act

People would be protected from harmful government schemes such as robodebt under a proposal for a federal human rights act, according to a parliamentary committee.

The committee has recommended parliament set up a human rights framework, with laws enshrining the human rights of Australians.

Should it be successful, the rights and freedoms of citizens would need to be considered by governments when setting up any future law.

The parliamentary committee on human rights chair, Labor MP Josh Burns, said people would be better protected under the proposal.

"We've seen royal commissions where, frankly, human rights have been disregarded and the human rights of vulnerable Australians have been disregarded by decision makers in this country, we need better protections for that," he told reporters in Canberra on Thursday.

"There have been huge examples, like robodebt, ... because too often governments haven't considered the rights and needs of Australian people."

Robodebt was a government scheme, later ruled as illegal, where wrongful debts were issued to people.

Mr Burns said jurisdictions such as Victoria and the ACT have already implemented human rights acts, and a federal act would complement those.

"It could not take away any of the state and territory powers, but rather sit alongside it," he said.

"(It will) help guide to federal jurisdiction and the federal parliament in the creation and the establishment and the compatibility of human rights in Australia."

However, the coalition said such laws would only lead to legal challenges.

Liberal MP Henry Pike said the proposal was unnecessary and dangerous.

"An act along these lines ... would insert abstract and vague concepts into our law to require judicial interpretation," he told parliament.

"It would represent a surrender of this parliament's responsibility to defend human rights to an unelected and unaccountable judiciary."

Independent MP Kylea Tink, who also served on the committee, said Australia was one of the only democratic nations without an enshrined bill of rights or human rights act.

"The time is right for the Australian government to back a human rights act," she said.

"This is not a time for cheap politicking, and the time to drive division."