Bill of Rights

In a profoundly disturbing opinion piece in this mornings SMH, John Von Doussa, who is the president of the Australian Human Rights Commission, details why he thinks that we need a formal Bill of Rights in Australia.

I will leave you to read the full article, but when a judge says things like:

As a judge, I felt the decision at which I arrived was both legally correct and morally reprehensible


We frequently scrutinised the human rights compatibility of new bills. I saw major legislation – including counter-terrorism bills and the package of bills to enable the Northern Territory intervention – rushed through Parliament with grossly inadequate consideration of the impact of these laws on basic rights.

I get very disturbed, and get even more convinced of the need for an Australian Bill of Rights.



7 Responses

  1. This is a touchy one for me . I am all for peoples rights. However I also see the rights of vicitms destroyed by the rights of criminals. the rights of workers destroyed by the rights of CEOs. the rights of borrowers destroyed by the rights of financiers. the rights of a parent destroyed by the rights of a child. Some rights are correct and some are blatantly wrong and are abused.

  2. Shane – I understand. That is something I’d like people here to comment on. Only through discussion can we learn why and if we need a Bill of Rights in Australia.

  3. joni

    I also see judges apply such lenient sentences to breaches of peoples rights, especially the right to protection in their own home after invasion, that there is no deterent to ensure people respects others rights. Until judges face reality and maybe a home invasion of their own they never seem to comprehend the life long change the victim endures.

  4. But if we do not have a Bill of Rights yet, how does the introduction of one change the current situation? Are we not able to have a Bill of Rights and ensure that victims rights are protected/improved at the same time?

  5. And Shane, I am just trying to understand why people have an objection to a Bill of Rights, escpecially considering (I think) that we are the only western country to not have one.

  6. The reason people have an objection to a bill of rights and I am one of them joni is the interpretation of the bill of rights. Whose right has overiding authority?. And why does everyone have to have rights about everything. As far as I am concerned if you invade a persons home you have no rights, not some rights, you have no rights. We have laws and if you break them then you have lost your rights in the society. If you steal, kill, attack, injure or destroy then you have lost your rights.

    We now witness a society where it is unsafe to leave your home at night, it is unsafe to walk down main streets at night, it is unsafe to walk through a park or reserve. One of the main reasons is the offenders have so many rights. The police arrest the offenders and they are back on the streets before the police can get their paddy wagon back to the office. Judges now rule it is acceptable to say F@CK off to police or ambos or nurses or any other servant of the people. Well I say it is not right, they have no right. It is offensive, intimidating, disrespectful and threatening and until people are made answerable for their actions I will never agree to a bill of rights.
    Maybe if the bill of rights gives rights back to the police I would give it consideration.

  7. A good indication that a Bill of Rights is essential is the rabid denunciation of any such idea by the petrified likes of Janet Albrechtsen.
    Shane, I see your point re home invasion but I think that a B.O.R. is more concerned with much broader issues. Much fleshing out would be needed to ensure a workable, acceptable B.O.R..

    Like you joni, I don’t really understand the reflexive negativity that talk of a Bill seems to elicit.

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