find the latest legal job
Senior Associate - Litigation & Dispute Resolution
Category: Litigation and Dispute Resolution | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Come work for a firm ranked in Lawyers Weekly Top 25 Attraction Firms
View details
Associate - Workplace Relations & Safety
Category: Industrial Relations and Employment Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Employer of choice · Strong team culture
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Banking and Finance Law | Location: All Perth WA
· Freelance opportunities through Vario from Pinsent Masons
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Adelaide SA
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Brandis makes case against bill of rights

Brandis makes case against bill of rights

GEORGE BRANDIS QC has labelled the long-standing bill of rights debate as “the debate we didn’t have to have”, announcing a new Liberal Party policy that will effectively form a…

GEORGE BRANDIS QC has labelled the long-standing bill of rights debate as “the debate we didn’t have to have”, announcing a new Liberal Party policy that will effectively form a political roadblock on the controversial topic.

Speaking to students at the James Cook University Law School, Townsville on 14 August, shadow Attorney-General Brandis criticised Attorney-General Robert McClelland’s ongoing support for an entrenched bill of rights, and the allocation of funds of $2.8 million towards consultation on the topic in the latest Federal Budget.

“While the Budget announcement stipulated that the money is to be used for ‘national public consultations’, I fear that it will only be used to assist to make the case for a bill of rights, and the case against a bill of rights will fail to receive the public attention that it deserves,” Senator Brandis said.

“I want to explain why, in the view of the Opposition, Australia does not need a bill or charter of rights, and why we consider that any attempt to impose one upon us would be at best wholly unnecessary, and, potentially, may result in unintended and much more dangerous consequences.”

He went on to give an impassioned speech about the existing framework of legislative and common law rights protection in Australia, drawing his allies from both sides of politics; including noted bill of rights objectors from the Labor ranks, former premier of NSW Bob Carr and NSW Attorney-General John Hatzistergos.

The shadow Attorney-General also pointed to periods in history where the title of a bill of rights carried with it no guarantees,

“Where the public culture is inhospitable to the rights of the individual, no amount of grandiose language will change it, and bills of rights become meaningless constitutional baubles — as the Nazi Bill of Rights (which guaranteed ‘the dignified existence of all people’), the Soviet Constitution, and the Bill of Rights of modern Zimbabwe, chillingly attest.

“Conversely, in a nation such as Australia, the very strength of our liberal democratic culture is the strongest reason why such an instrument is redundant.”

The shadow Attorney-General has issued a strong challenge to the Rudd Government; to demonstrate in no uncertain terms why Australia needs a bill of rights. But, given the longevity of the debate and the political funds and energy already invested by both sides of politics, it seems that Brandis’s speech will serve as a jab that spurs further debate rather than the knock-out punch he intended.

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

Brandis makes case against bill of rights
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
microphone
Oct 20 2017
Podcast: One of law’s most infamous alumni – in conversation with Julian Morrow
In this episode of The Lawyers Weekly Show, Melissa Coade is joined by The Chaser’s Julian Morrow....
protest
Oct 20 2017
High Court overturns ‘excessive’ anti-protest legislation
Bob Brown’s recent victory in the High Court over the Tasmanian government was a win for fundament...
Blocked
Oct 20 2017
Changes to Australian citizenship laws blocked
Attempts to beef up the requirements to obtain Australian citizenship were thwarted this week, after...
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 & ...