The Attorney-General, Robert McClelland, is planning to outline the government's response to the report, by a human rights consultation committee headed by the Jesuit lawyer Father Frank Brennan, in a National Press Club speech on Wednesday.
Sources say he is likely to promise improved parliamentary scrutiny of new laws for human rights issues, the addition of human rights to the national schools curriculum, and increased funding and functions for the Australian Human Rights Commission.
But, as predicted, the government appears set to sidestep the key reform - a bill or charter of rights - because cabinet is divided on its political implications.
It is unclear whether a bill of rights has been ruled out or simply shelved for further debate if the government wins a second term. Mr McClelland's office would not comment yesterday.
The expected response would be a victory for the federal opposition and Labor figures such as former premier Bob Carr and the NSW Attorney-General, John Hatzistergos, who have campaigned against a bill of rights. Mr Hatzistergos was heard to quip to former Labor MP and rights advocate Susan Ryan at a recent constitutional law conference at the Art Gallery of NSW that he was ''sorry for her loss''.
Although most developed nations have one, resistance to a bill or charter of rights has centred around fears of a power shift from parliaments to judges, who would be asked to assess whether laws are compatible with human rights, although without the power of veto. There have also been fears it could prevent religious institutions such as schools from hiring religious staff.
Cabinet has considered the issue several times, and is reported to remain divided.
Some ministers are said to feel the political battle for a bill of rights is not worth the pain, especially before an election.
But others are said to be concerned about the effect of squibbing the charter issue in marginal inner-city seats where the Greens - who support a bill - are posing a threat to sitting members.
Ms Ryan, the chairwoman of the Australian Human Rights Group, said any government response that fell short of a human rights act ''would be a huge disappointment among all those organisations that work for vulnerable people and are hoping for a better deal from the government''.
If not this week, she said she expected it would happen in the future.
The Brennan report's recommendations were based on public consultations across the country and 35,014 written responses, of which 27,888 supported a charter or human rights act, while 4203 were against it.