find the latest legal job
Corporate Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Highly-respected, innovative and entrepreneurial Not-for-Profit · Competency based Board
View details
Chief Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Dynamic, high growth organisation · ASX listed market leader
View details
In-house Projects Lawyer | Renewables / Solar | 2-5 Years PQE
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: All Australia
· Help design the future · NASDAQ Listed
View details
Insurance Lawyer (3-5 PAE)
Category: Insurance and Superannuation Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Dynamic organisation ·
View details
Legal Counsel
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: North Sydney NSW 2060
· 18 month fixed term contract · 3-5 years PQE with TMT exposure
View details
Letter to the Editor: Human rights denied

Letter to the Editor: Human rights denied

The Australian Lawyers Alliance expresses its disappointment at the media's ignoring of the shunning of a federal human rights Act.

Letter to the Editor

It is with great disappointment that we notice so little being published in the media today following the federal attorney-general’s decision not to introduce a federal human rights Act, yesterday.

This lost opportunity will resound with all of us in the months and years to come. Most particularly the ramifications will be felt by the marginalised and disadvantaged who lack the means to fight injustices inflicted on them, often because of bureaucracy.

This lack of political courage by a government failing to act on the advice of those whose opinions it has sought, means Australia will be among those countries with the worst human rights protections in the world.

This missed opportunity comes at a time when other nations are pondering Australia’s national psyche. Issues such as foreign national attacks; discriminatory policy towards asylum seekers; and a curbing of civil rights through tougher sentencing laws, reflect on us poorly as a nation.

If we are, in fact, a true democracy, why is it that the government is comfortable spending huge amounts of money on a consultation process and then disregarding what the public has had to say as part of that consultation?

There were about 40,000 submissions to the Human Rights Consultative Committee, 87 per cent of which were in favour of such an Act.

The attorney-general’s rationale that introducing a human rights Act would somehow divide the community, is political claptrap.

What the attorney-general really meant was that he feared the power of conservative reporters in the media, as well as Opposition spin, at a time when the government was about to swing into election mode.

The label of Australia being the only democratic country in the world without a federal document protecting rights will now stick and more human rights abuses are likely under the medley of disconnected, shallow rights protections that will continue to exist.

We have a history of human rights abuses intertwined in government policy with the White Australia Policy, the Stolen Generation and today with the Northern Territory Intervention, ‘stop and search powers’ and anti-association laws to name a few.

In contrast, jurisdictions that have introduced their own human rights Acts have seen improvements on a case-by-case basis when referred to the courts for consideration.

The only option Australians, in the remaining states and the Northern Territory, now have is to lobby for a human rights Act in each of their own jurisdictions.

Rights without protections are not rights, but rather privileges with the potential to be taken away at the whim of the powerful.

Yours sincerely,

Mark Blumer

National president

Australian Lawyers Alliance.



Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Letter to the Editor: Human rights denied
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Applauds
07:00
LCA applauds proposed Modern Slavery Act
The Law Council of Australia has welcomed new recommendations for the development of a Modern Slaver...
Mentoring
07:00
Top-tier offers targeted mentoring for Indigenous law students
Students at Macquarie University will be the first to benefit from a new Indigenous mentoring progra...
LCA president Fiona McLeod SC
Aug 17 2017
Where social fault lines meet the justice gap in Aus
After just returning from a tour of the Northern Territory, LCA president Fiona McLeod SC speaks wit...
APPOINTMENTS
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
opinion
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
Help
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...