Bills of Rights
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It covers -
Polemicist Mirko Bagaric fretted in 2007 that
only guaranteed effect of the Victorian bill of rights is
that the interests of the socially disadvantaged will be
further eroded. Under the new system, decisions relating
to the values we want to live by are taken from the people
and given to judges. The main problem with this is that
the only people who have the money to defend their rights
in court are the rich and powerful.
The strongest defenders of rights are civil libertarians.
They suffer from moral shortsightedness. Their moral horizons
stop and start with themselves and the person immediately
Humans don't need rights to flourish. What we need is a
transparent moral framework within which difficult choices
can be made.
response might be that bills/charters indeed offer such a
The Australian Constitution,
very much a product of its time, says little about human rights
and when adopted in 1901 did not explicitly address questions
of discrimination relating to gender, ethnicity, disability
or economic circumstances.
In contrast to many countries Australia also does not have
a national Bill of Rights. Recurrent proposals for such a
Bill or a Charter of Rights have gained little support.
There have however been moves to establish constitutional
commitments to human rights at the state and territory level,
with for example the -
Human Rights Act 2004
Charter of Human Rights & Responsibilities
of an Australian Bill and of local human rights issues include
Bede Harris' persuasive A New Constitution for Australia
(London: Cavendish 2002), George Williams' Human
Rights under the Australian Constitution (Melbourne:
Oxford Uni Press 1999) and The Case for an Australian
Bill of Rights (Sydney: UNSW Press 2004) and Hilary Charlesworth's
concise Writing in Rights: Australia and the Protection
of Human Rights (Sydney: UNSW Press 2002).
The Australian Capital Territory Human Rights Act 2004
(HRA) is examined in the Australia's First Bill of Rights:
Assessing the Impact of the ACT Human Rights Act 2004
Background is provided by the ACT Bill of Rights Consultative
which features the 2003 Towards an ACT Human Rights Act
report, and the 2004 Comparative Perspectives on Bills
of Rights collection
edited by Christine Debono and Tania Colwell.
The New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 (here),
arguably a reaction to concerns about executive overreaching
under Robert Muldoon and 'Rogernomics', is discussed in The
New Zealand Bill of Rights (Auckland: Oxford Uni Press
2003) by P Rishworth, G Huscroft, S Optican and R Mahoney.
Literature on the Canadian Charter includes Christopher MacLennan's
Toward the Charter: Canadians and the
Demand for a National Bill of Rights, 1929-1960 (Montreal:
McGill-Queen's Uni Press 2003), George Egerton's 2004 'Entering
the Age of Human Rights: Religion, Politics, and Canadian Liberalism,
1945-1950' in 85 Canadian Historical Review 3 (451-479),
Ross Lambertson's Repression and Resistance: Canadian
Human Rights Activists (Toronto: Uni of Toronto Press
2005), Ruth Frager's 2001 'This is Our Country, These are
Our Rights: Minorities and the Origins of Ontario's Human
Rights Campaigns' in 82 Canadian Historical Review
(Australian rights law)