Human Rights Within Australian Law Essay

2539 words - 11 pages

Universally, human rights are fundamental privileges to which all people have claim. As they are automatic entitlements to each individual who is simply a member of humankind, governments cannot 'grant' or 'withdraw' human rights from anyone. Human rights are reflections of the values of society, with the focal purpose of human rights laws being to set the public standards of what is and what is not acceptable treatment towards individuals, as perceived by society on the domestic and international levels. Since the atrocities exposed in World War II, the need for a collective international instrument of human rights laws impacting municipal law was created, and through that an outlined ...view middle of the document...

In this way, international law has a direct impact on the lives of Australians.The value of international human rights law however, lies almost entirely on how it is implemented into the domestic law. In 1988 the Bangalore Principles officially established that international law does not automatically assume domestic law unless integrated specifically into municipal legislation. So although Australia has accepted most of the major United Nations conventions, ratifying an excess of 900, Australia has no legal obligations to abide by them.However, though there is no coercive enforcement processes available to international law, it is in the interests of most states to ensure stability in their relations with other states, so most states generally comply with international obligations. By complying with their own obligations, they can ensure that other states comply with theirs too. Where Australia upholds international principles, is due to the recognition that there are common and universal human values that need to be protected domestically.As such, though there is no specific bill of rights within Australia, common law and statute laws are the main instruments domestically to protect individual rights. Common law generally protects by acknowledging freedoms. For instance in Australia and individual is free to do whatever he or she wishes unless a law or other restriction prevents them from engaging in the activity, or their actions cause harm to others. Common law not only protects human rights, but the protection of human rights also aids the development of common law. Judges may take international law into account in making their decisions, and deciding what common law is. In the case of Mabo vs. Commonwealth (No. 2), Justice Brennan noted the significance of international law in domestic law."The common law does not necessarily conform to international law, but international law is legitimate and an important influence on the development of the common law, especially when international law declares the existence of universal human rights".Australian statues are the reactions of current governments to human rights issues that arise globally and domestically, reflecting the social and moral values of society. The Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission Act 1986 (Cwlth) is a comprehensive human rights body dealing with violations of human rights, and gives effect to the major human rights declarations the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1946, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights 1966 (ICESCR).CASE STUDY - Gay and Lesbian Human Rights in AustraliaIt is only recently that discrimination against homosexuals has been officially recognised by the law as unacceptable. Previously Australia's laws tended to reinforce the ideal nuclear family stereotypes, with little legal recognition of relationships that stood as anomalies in society. Over the years...

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