Fence sitting on an Australian Bill of Rights

December 10, 2008 — 6 Comments

So the Governments latest shiny media promotion tool is an Australian Bill of Rights, starting with a “nationwide consultation on human rights.”

I’m not quite sure where I sit on it, at least until what’s going to be in it becomes clear. The Libs have come out hard against it naturally, and any over extension of the nanny state caused by a Bill of Rights is something that should concern most fair people.

However I might be for it if it included one magic ingredient sorely missing from the Australian Constitution (and presuming a Bill of Rights would be enrished by Constitution amendment you’d presume it would have similar standing). Free Speech.

Free speech that includes freedom of the press and freedom for any citizen to speak within reason.

Sadly though it would appear at least now that an Australian Bill of Rights would result in a chilling effect on free speech, with targets including “promotion of religious tolerance and fundamental human rights” sounding an awful lot like you can’t speak out against a religion for example.

Free speech IS a fundamental human right. The fact that the Government hasn’t mentioned it isn’t surprising given they’re trying to censor with internet and they arrest journalists for keeping sources secret. The nanny state has a fringe of big brother about it in 2008, lets hope that a Bill of Rights doesn’t make the situation worse.