The Newtown Amnesty International Action Group has put up a petition for a Bill of Rights in NSW:
Victoria has a Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities. The sky has not fallen in.
The ACT has a Human Rights Act. The sky has not fallen in.
Don’t be troubled about the name: no-one is suggesting that we need a Bill of Rights like the USA Bill of Rights. In the 20th and 21st centuries, a Bill of rights means something which protects basic human rights against the government.
John Howard made the most cogent point about a Bill of Rights during the Rudd years. He was asked about a Bill of Rights and said it was a bad idea “because it interferes with what Parliament can do”. That is precisely the point!
In early 2010 Prime Minister Kevin Rudd announced, peremptorily, that Australia would not have a Bill of Rights. This, notwithstanding that the Brennan enquiry had recommended that we should have one. Rudd’s rejection of a Bill of Rights caused very little concern in the community. Not only is Australia the only Western democracy not to have coherent human rights protection, we are the only country in the world which has turned its mind to a Bill of Rights in the 21st century and decided not to have one.
So: look at the Newtown Amnesty International Action Group petition and consider signing it.