The bill of rights debate in Australia -a study in constitutional disengagement

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Abstract

The Commonwealth (federal) government of Australia has launched a National Human Rights Consultation process todetermine whether human rights in Australia are protected adequately and, if not, what measures should be taken toenhance human rights protection. The Australian Constitution protects only a few rights and contains no comprehensiveBill of Rights. The current debate is anti-theoretical and has been characterised by absolute faith in democracy and amisunderstanding of the nature of a Bill of Rights and what effect it would have on the relationship between the courtsand the legislature. The public's lack of knowledge about constitutional matters has been exploited by elements of theconservative press who oppose enhanced rights protection. The conclusion is that ultimately progress in relation tohuman rights depends on improved civics education.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2-10
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Politics and Law
Volume2
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2009

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