Constitutional Change: Towards Better Human Rights Protection in Australia

Mohammad Ibrahim

Abstract


Many legal scholars contend that Australia does not have a charter of rights in its Constitution. The legal scholar Rosalind Dixon, however, suggests that the Constitution does include some provisions that could be viewed as resembling a (partial) bill of rights. This constitutional framework might cause one to ponder whether human rights are adequately protected in the Australian constitutional system. This paper attempts to consider this question. It is argued that the protection of human rights under the Constitution, federal and state laws is not fully capable of responding to at least three human rights crises presented. Accordingly, the paper suggests that Australia should consider the idea of amending the Constitution in order to better human rights protection in the country. It offers suggestion that the Canadian model protection of human rights could be considered as one of the primary sources for reforms in the future.

Keywords


Australia; Canada; Constitutional Amendment; Human Rights

Full Text:

PDF

References


Age Discrimination Act 2004 (Cth).

Allan, James. "The Three Rs of Recent Australian Judicial Activism: Roach, Rowe and (No)Riginalism." Melbourne University Law Review 36, no. 2 (2012): 743–782.

Allan, James. "The Victorian Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities: Exegesis and Criticism." Melbourne University Law Review 30, no. 3 (2006): 906–22.

Australian Constitution.

Australian Human Rights Commission. "Australia and the Universal Declaration on Human Rights." Last accessed February 15, 2019, https://www.humanrights.gov.au/publications/australia-and-universal-declaration-human-rights.

Australian Human Rights Commission. "Functions of the Australian Human Rights Commission." Last accessed February 15, 2019, https://www.humanrights.gov.au/about/functions-australian-human-rights-commission.

Australian Human Rights Commission. "History of the Commission." Last accessed February 15, 2019, https://www.humanrights.gov.au/about/whatare-human-rights/history-commission.

BBC News. "Australia asylum: UN criticises ‘cruel’ conditions on Nauru." November 18, 2016, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-38022204.

Beck, Colin J et al. "Constitutions in World Society: A New Measure of Human Rights." (January 2017): 1-29, http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2906946.

Betfair Pty Limited v Western Australia (2008) 234 CLR 418. Canada Act 1982 (UK).

Charlesworth, Hilary. "The Australian experiment with human rights charters," Law Library of Victoria Public Lecture, September 21, 2016: 1-9, https://www.lawlibrary.vic.gov.au/file/385/download?token=4DCbUnHA.

Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006 (Vic).

Chong, Fiona. "Human rights vs the High Court: how far can a Charter go?"Analysis & Policy Observatory, November 23, 2011, http://apo.org.au/node/27269.

Coast Islands Declaratory Act 1985 (Qld).

Crennan, Susan. "Magna Carta, Common Law Values and the Constitution." Melbourne University Law Review 39, no. 1 (2015): 331-345.

Crouch, Melissa. "Judicial Review and Religious Freedom: The Case of Indonesian Ahmadis." Sydney Law Review 34 (2012): 545-572.

Crouch, Melissa. "Regulating Places of Worship in Indonesia: Upholding Freedom of Religion for Religious Minorities?" Singapore Journal of Legal Studies 96 (2007): 96-116.

Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cth).

Dowal v Murray (1978) 143 CLR 410.

Davis, Megan. "Closing the Gap in Indigenous Disadvantage: A Trajectory of Indigenous Inequality in Australia." Georgetown Journal of International Affairs 16 (2015): 34-44.

Dixon, Rosalind. "An Australian (Partial) Bill of Rights." International Journal of Constitutional Law 14, no. 1 (January 2016): 80-98.

French, Robert. "Protecting Human Rights Without a Bill of Rights." The John Marshall Law Review 43, no. 3 (Spring 2010): 769-793.

French, Robert and others. "Human Rights Protection in Australia and the United Kingdom: Contrasts and Comparisons." Brief 42, no. 2 (2015): 1-29.

Hocking, Barbara. "Aboriginal Law Does Now Run in Australia-Reflections on the Mabo Case: From Cooper v. Stuart through Milirrpum to Mabo." Sydney Law Review 15 (1993): 187-205.

Human Rights Act 2004 (ACT).

Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011 (Cth).

Irving, Helen. "The High Court of Australia kills dialogue model of human rights." The Australian, September 16, 2011, http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/legal-affairs/high-court-kills-dialogue-model-of-human-rights/news-story/4aad1e8e57fb5cdd7ba265a64c540f50.

Kable v Director of Public Prosecutions (NSW) (1996) 189 CLR 51.

Kirby, Michael. "Protecting Human Rights in Australia without a Charter." Commonwealth Law Bulletin 37, no. 2 (June 2011): 255-280.

McGinty, Jim. "A Human Rights Act for Australia." The University of Notre Dame Australia Law Review 12 (Dec 2010): 1-32. Land Act 1962 (Qld).

Lange v Australian Broadcasting Corporation (1997) 189 CLR 520.

Lindsey, Tim. "Indonesia: devaluing Asian values, rewriting rule of law." In Asian Discourses of Rule of Law, edited by Randall Peerenboom. London: RoutledgeCurzon, 2004.

Mabo v Queensland (1988) 166 CLR 186.

Mabo v Queensland [No 2] (1992) 175 CLR 1.

Meagher, Dan R. "The Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011 (Cth) and the Courts." Federal Law Review 42, no. 1 (2014): 1-25.

Milirrpum v Nabalco Pty. Ltd (1971) 17 F.L.R 14.

Minister of Army v Dalziel (1944) 68 CLR 261.

Momcilovic v The Queen (2011) 245 CLR 1.

NFSA Films. "Admission Impossible." Filmed in 1992 in Australia, 54:22, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uPfJRetYP04.

Polymenopoulou, Eleni. "LGBTI Rights in Indonesia: A Human Rights Perspective." Asia Pacific Journal on Human Rights and The Law 19 (2018): 1-19.

Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (Cth).

Rajanayagam, Shawn. "Does Parliament Do Enough: Evaluating Statements of Compatibility under the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act." University of New South Wales Law Journal 38, no. 3 (2015): 1046-1077.

Roach v Electoral Commissioner (2007) 233 CLR 162.

Saunders, Cheryl. "Protecting Rights in the Australian Federation." Adelaide Law Review 25 (2004): 177-210.

Saunders, Cheryl. "The Australian Constitution and Our Rights." Future Justice (Sydney: Future Leaders, 2010): 117-135.

Sen, Amartya. "Human Rights and the Limits of the Law." Cardozo Law Review 27 (2006): 2913-2927.

Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth).

Stone, Adrienne. "Australia’s Constitutional Rights and the Problem of Interpretive Disagreement." Sydney Law Review 27, no. 1 (2005): 29-48.

Stone, Adrienne. "Disagreement and an Australian Bill of Rights." (2002) Melbourne University Law Review 26, no. 2 (2002): 478-497.

Suryadinata, Leo. "Ethnic Groups and the Indonesian Nation-state." In Routledge Handbook of Contemporary Indonesia, edited by Robert W. Hefner. Abingdon: Routledge, 2018.

UNHCR. "Refugees need and deserve protection and respect." Last accessed October 20, 2019, https://www.unhcr.org/news/press/2016/10/5817bf3b4/refugees-need-and-deserve-protection-and-respect.html.

Waldron, Jeremy. "The Core of the Case against Judicial Review." Yale Law Journal 115, no. 6 (2006): 1346-1406.

Watchirs, Helen and Gabrielle McKinnon. "Five Years’ Experience of the Human Rights Act 2004 (ACT): Insights for Human Rights Protection in Australia." UNSW Law Journal 33, no. 1 (2010): 136-170.

Williams, George. "The Legal Assault on Australian Democracy." Queensland UT Law Review 16, no. 2 (2016): 19-41.

Williams, George. "The Victorian Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities: Origins and Scope." Melbourne University Law Review 30, no. 3 (2006): 880-905.

Williams, George and Daniel Reynolds. "The Operation and Impact of Australia’s Parliamentary Scrutiny Regime for Human Rights." Monash University Law Review 41, no. 2 (2016): 469-507.

Williams, George and Lisa Burton. "Australia’s Exclusive Parliamentary Model of Rights Protection." Statute Law Review 34, no. 1 (2013): 58-94.




DOI: https://doi.org/10.31078/consrev523

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.


Copyright (c) 2019 Constitutional Review