Australia Needs a Bill of Rights NOW!

Australia Needs a Bill of Rights NOW!

0 have signed. Let’s get to 1,000!
At 1,000 signatures, this petition is more likely to be featured in recommendations!
David Haley started this petition to Hon Scott Morrison MP

The recent case of the High Court upholding the dismissal of a Commonwealth Public Servant for anonymously expressing her views with respect to government policy has again focused attention on the right to free speech. The reality is here are no guarantees of human rights in Australia! What are assumed to be rights are at best conventions or common law which can be overridden by acts of Parliament.

Other Western democracies, notably France and USA have a bill of rights enshrined in their constitutions which makes it notoriously difficult to diminish or remove human rights. A bill of rights as part of the Australian constitution would require a referendum. If voted in would allow all laws enacted by any level of government to be tested in the High Court for compliance with the Bill of Rights. Because of this potential for laws to be tested in this way it should lead to better drafted legislation and less overreach for fear that the laws could be successfully overturned by the High Court.

In the name of National Security various human rights have been diminished by acts of the Commonwealth Parliament or otherwise:

  1. Terrorism suspects can be be detained in secrecy for twenty eight days without charge, legal council or recourse to a court hearing.
  2. Meta data retention and encryption legislation have removed privacy and potentially diminished security of information that a person could reasonably expect to remain private.
  3. Preventing charities that receive government funding from commenting on government policy and preventing professionals working in detention camps from revealing the inhumane treatment of inmates are further examples of a lack of freedom of speech.
  4. The government has sort to punish journalists and others who have revealed serious misconduct, for example, Australian bugging of the East Timor Cabinet room and potential war crimes committed by Australian forces.

In 1948 the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution which led to the publication of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. These rights were seen as the minimum standards that should be applied by Member States and were inspired by the horrors enacted by Totalitarian States prior to and during the Second World War. Australia voted for the resolution, no Nation voted against the resolution. Eight member states abstained, notably Saudi Arabia, South Africa, USSR and its satellites.

By my count Australia fails to live up to at least thirteen out of the thirty articles! This may rate as a pass mark, but clearly we could and should do better!

0 have signed. Let’s get to 1,000!
At 1,000 signatures, this petition is more likely to be featured in recommendations!