“A bill of rights is really a bill of ‘frights’,” said The Nationals’ Senator Ron Boswell today when he raised the issue in the Senate during a Matters of Public Interest debate.
The National Human Rights Consultation Committee will report to the Australian government on options to promote human rights in Australia by 30 September 2009. “A bill of rights was raised over twenty years ago in this place. There was a fierce public debate and my office was inundated with a groundswell of protest.” “Many were Christians who felt that their rights would paradoxically be threatened. They did not want to set up a legal framework that could jeopardise the continued existence of Christian symbols, prayers and worship. They did not want barriers to schools and churches employing people with Christian ideals.” “That sentiment has not changed in the intervening years. The matter was comprehensively settled then. The current revisit of the issue has more to do with offering a sop to the extreme left than reflecting a genuine need to change the way this country is democratically governed.” “It is a frightening situation when you take power from elected representatives and hand it to unelected judges. The job of judges is to interpret the law not to make it. That’s why you have parliaments elected by the people.” “Governments can be voted out, judges cannot. Let judges judge and legislators legislate.” “Once you mix them up, you undermine the basics of our Westminster system of representative Parliamentary democracy.” “Smart rich people can then use these rights in the courts to allow them to get away with wrongs.” “Already in Victoria, a parliamentary inquiry is putting basic religious freedoms at risk by suggesting that religious organisations should employ people who do not share their beliefs.” “This is despite Christians being at the forefront of protecting the human rights of society’s most vulnerable.” “Without bipartisan support, a proposal to radically change the existing constitutional structure does not deserve to proceed.” Senator Boswell reminded the Senate that the existence of a bill of rights is no guarantee that those rights will be respected. “Just look at the Nazi bill of rights which guaranteed ‘the dignified existence of all people’ and the bill of rights of modern Zimbabwe.” ENDS