“The recommendation for a bill of rights by the National Human Rights Consultation Committee would create a paradise for lawyers and left wing activists,” said The Nationals’ Senator Ron Boswell today.
“I find it hard to believe that a committee today would recommend the downgrading of our parliamentary democracy such that power is taken away from democratically elected representatives and put in the hands of committees, bureaucrats and judges.” “These recommendations are also impractical, costly and time consuming.” “The NHRCC has fallen for the rhetoric of the left and failed to appreciate the realities of governing in a world where rights compete and change. It is impossible and arrogant to come up with a definitive, lasting and equitable list of rights.” “Australia should be free to interpret international conventions in our own way and not undermine our sovereignty by making parliament’s decisions subject to lists set by others.” “One of the recommended responsibilities is ‘to promote peaceful means for the resolution of conflict’. Does that mean we could never go to war?’” “Implementing a bill of rights would just add such complexity to lawmaking and encourage conflict amongst competing groups. You would tie the hands of parliament in knots.” “Hitler had a bill of rights, Zimbabwe has a bill of rights. The only way human rights are considered is where they are important and respected in society and in parliament. To a large extent we have that in Australia. It could always be improved but not through radically changing the existing structure of delivering human rights as proposed by this committee.” “This is a total give-in to the bleeding heart left wing lawyer and activist brigade and has been an incredible waste of time.” “Lists of rights will cause endless trouble for governments trying to make a positive difference for indigenous Australians for example. Interventions that save children in at risk communities might never happen or be fatally delayed if taken to court.” Senator Boswell said that if adopted, the committee’s recommendations would open a container of worms as groups fought for the supremacy of their rights. “Church communities will be concerned by future challenges to their ability to employ people of similar values, and the right to marry and found a family being extended to same sex couples.” “The Committee has gone further than just calling for a bill of rights. They want to overhaul the whole of public service policy, delivery and decision making by subjecting it to lists of rights from International Covenants.” “This is an impossibly subjective process. How will competing rights be assessed and by whom? The committee want this formalised into a framework with a Minister at the head to report to Parliament.” “Every department and agency will have to develop human right action plans.” “This is effectively a huge wish list from the Australian Human Rights Commission who would become a bloated organisation with greatly expanded powers to inquire into any act of a federal public authority that might be inconsistent with the definitive list of rights.” “Courts are to be the ultimate arbiters of whether unlawful discrimination has occurred. This is where churches stand to lose their ability to employ people who share their values.” “The committee tries to stop the courts having a role in relation to economic, social and cultural rights, but that division in itself would be a mess for lawyers to argue over which right fell into which category.” “I am very disappointed in the report. Any attempts to legislate for a bill of rights will provoke consternation similar to the last time it was tried. I note that opposition to a bill of rights occurs across the political spectrum and also from leading figures in the judiciary.” “The Nationals will be strongly taking up the fight against a bill of rights.” ENDS