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Does Australia Need A Federal Bill Of Rights? Discus With Reference To Specific Cases And Legislation

2002 words - 9 pages

France and the United States of America are two countries that have seen fit to implement a 'Bill of Rights' into their constitution, which guarantees the liberties and freedoms of the individual, and reinforces the basic rights of all human beings. But does Australia Need a Bill Of Rights? The Australian Constitution does not include a specific section detailing the rights of the individual, although it has existed for over a century through many times when rights have been disregarded. However, Australia, by and large, has a good record on human rights and hence, I believe that A Bill of Rights is something that is not required to be integrated into the Australian Constitution. There are a ...view middle of the document...

After having won democracy in 1901, the introduction of a bill of rights would denote a vote of no confidence in OUR legislation and OUR people (parliamentarians). The majority of the population of Australia know their basic rights and these rights are adequately reflected in Australian Parliament. Our democracy has worked well in the past and should continue to do so in the future. A Bill Of Rights would be unnecessary.My next point is that Australia has not had any major problems with human rights in recent times. Events such as the shift from assimilation to multiculturalism have meant that Australia has become one of the most ethnically diverse countries. The Mabo vs. Queensland (2) decision of 1992 was another landmark event that represented the recognition of Native Title for Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders. From reference to Justice Brennan's judgement, he said that"it was proper for courts in Australia to have regard to international human rights jurisprudence in developing the common law and in resolving ambiguities of legislation"He also said that this was an inevitable process, once Australia signed the First Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. This action rendered Australia accountable in the international community for breaches of fundamental rights. What Justice Brennan said in 1992 further highlighted the fact that Australia was developing its common law with consideration to International Human Rights. If there were violations of basic fundamental rights in Australia, the government would be liable to answer to the international community. 14 years onwards, Australia is now one of the most ethnically diverse nations and is regarded as one of the more democratically advanced countries in the world. Furthermore, this has been achieved without a Bill Of Rights.The ability of Australia's democratic institutions to protect human rights is complemented by a number of specific constitutional and common law protections. The Australian Constitution provides specific protection for certain rights and freedoms. These include the right to a trial by jury, freedom of religious association, prohibition on discrimination on the basis of State residence, freedom of inter-State trade and commerce and just terms for the acquisition of property. In addition, the High Court has held that other rights are implied in the Constitution, including the right to freedom of political communication. Common law also protects rights in many ways. As aforementioned, in the Mabo case, the native title rights and interests of indigenous Australians were recognised. For centuries the common law has played a major role in the protection of existing and emerging rights. This has ensured that the law is in step with the community. I expect that this process will continue to protect human rights for the foreseeable future and hence, a Bill Of Rights would not be needed.It is the job of elected politicians, the courts...

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