Essay: "Is there a need for a Bill of Rights in Australia?"

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Does Australia Need a Bill of Rights?

Australia is an exception when it comes to the legal protection of human rights. It remains the only democracy without a national human rights act or Bill of Rights. This remains the case despite that Australia enact a law based upon the , and . The consultation reached this conclusion after identifying a range of human rights problems and finding that a clear majority of the Australian people favour such an instrument.

We accept the universal right to live in freedom and without oppression, but are our human rights adequately protected by Australian law? Arguments about the need for a bill of rights in Australia have simmered for fifty years. While attempts to introduce a national bill of rights have failed, recently the states and territories have taken on a pioneering role with statutory bills. , written by the leading experts in the field, examines the arguments for and against greater protection of human rights. Original and timely, it examines the emerging evidence of the impact of these uniquely Australian bills of rights.

1. Chief Justice Murray Gleeson, "Boyer Lectures - Four Aspects of the Constitution", ABC Radio National, 10 December 2000.
2. Lois O'Donoghue in Frank Brennan, Securing Bountiful Place for Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders in a Modern Free and Tolerant Australia, Constitutional Centenary Foundation, 1994, page 18; also cited in George Williams, Human Rights in the Australian Constitution, Oxford University Press, Melbourne, 1999, page 16.
3. Australian Capital Television Pty Ltd v Commonwealth (1992) 177 CLR 106.
4. Dietrich v R (1992) 177 CLR 292.
5. The test for the lawfulness of restrictions on freedom of interstate commerce (as guaranteed by the Constitution) was stated in various ways in Cunliffe v The Commonwealth (1994) 182 CLR 272.
6. R v Lemsatef [1977] 2 All ER 835, per Lawton LJ at page 839.
7. Section 78 inserted in 1985.
8. Report of an Inquiry into a Complaint of Acts or Practices Inconsistent with or Contrary to Human Rights in an Immigration Detention Centre, HRC Report No. 10, 2000:.
9. Superannuation Entitlements of Same-Sex Couples, HRC Report No. 7, 1999:
10. See, for example, Age Discrimination in the Australian Defence Force, HRC Report No. 8, 2000: ; Discrimination on the Ground of Trade Union Activity, HRC Report No. 9, 2000:
11. Concluding observations of the Human Rights Committee: Australia,
UN Doc. CCPR/CO/69 AUS, 28 July 2000.
12. Concluding observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child: Australia, UN Doc. CRC/C/15/Add.79, 10 October 1997.
13. Sir Anthony Mason, 'Rights Values and Legal Institutions: Reshaping Australian Institutions', (1997) Volume 13 Australian International Law Journal pages
14. Brian Galligan, 'Australia's Political Culture and Institutional Design' in Philip Alston (ed) Towards An Australian Bill of Rights, Centre for International and Public Law & Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, 1994, page 57.

bill of rights in australia essay (agree or disagree)

However, this traditional response has been questioned by those who point out that Australia now is in an arguably anomalous position, when we compare ourselves to other democratic countries. Great Britain, New Zealand, Canada, the United States of America and South Africa all have Bills of Rights in some form or another, while Australia does not. In November 1999 the then New South Wales Attorney-General the Hon Jeff Shaw QC referred to the Standing Committee on Law and Justice of the NSW Legislative Council, then chaired by me, the question whether it would be appropriate and in the public interest to enact a statutory, as distinct from a constitutionally entrenched Bill of Rights in NSW. The committee reported in October 2001, after an exhaustive inquiry which included public hearings and a review of models of Bills of Rights in the countries mentioned above.

bill of rights in australia essay (agree or disagree)

The question of whether Australia, and for that matter the Australian states, should have a Bill of Rights enacted is coming under increasing examination. This especially is the case against a background of increasingly draconian security or 'anti-terrorism' laws. The traditional response to those who have argued for a Bill of Rights in the past has been that Australians can rely on our traditional and proud background of respect for civil liberties and the democratic freedoms of the individual citizen or resident of Australia. It has often been asserted that the protection of our rights can be safely left to our parliamentary representatives and that to legislate for a Bill of Rights would distort our system of government by giving unelected judges too much influence over how our democracy develops.

Sev Ozdowski, ‘Why We Need an Australian Bill of Rights Now’

bill of rights in australia

17 Oct 2006 A Bill of Rights for Australia. Date: 04 October 1994. Author: test, teset. Type: test. Organisation: Young Presidents' Association Queensland

Should Australia Have A Bill Of Rights - Law Teacher

20 Dec 2016 The argument against an Bill Of Rights For Australia Essay Australian bill of rights seems to be supported This essay has been submitted to us by a student in order to help you


One of the majority judges, Justice Michael McHugh, conceded that Al-Kateb's situation was 'tragic'. He also noted that 'Eminent lawyers who have studied the question firmly believe that the Australian Constitution should contain a Bill of Rights.' But in the absence of such a law he found that 'the justice or wisdom of the course taken by the parliament is not examinable in this or any other domestic court' since 'it is not for courts Â… to determine whether the course taken by Parliament is unjust or contrary to basic human rights.' With these words, McHugh spelt out what it means for Australia not to have a charter or bill of rights. Without such an instrument, there may be no check on laws that violate even the most basic of human rights.

02.09.2015 · Does Australia need a bill of rights? Updated September 02, 2015 18:50:19 Human rights lawyer Jennifer Robinson argues it's time for Australia …

the desirability of a Bill of Rights for Australia. At a Federal level, the Australian Democrats have foreshadowed the introduction of a draft Bill into Federal

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the desirability of a Bill of Rights for Australia. At a Federal level, the Australian Democrats have foreshadowed the introduction of a draft Bill into Federal