Online public consultations

There is less than a week to go for people to put in personal submissions for the national human rights consultations, with the general cut off date this coming Monday, 15 June.  If you were planning on having your say on how best to protect and promote human rights and responsibilities, now is the time to do it.  

The efforts at consultation, carried out by an independent committee headed by Father Frank Brennan, have been much more thorough than most political and policy inquiries, including the holding of public sessions in quite a number of regional and remote areas.

The consultations have also included an attempt at an online open forum. All comments left on the Open Forum site are included as submissions from the public. This mechanism for comment is open for an extra two weeks, until Friday 26 June.

As well as enabling public comment and discussion on the key questions being considered by the inquiry, two Australian Professors of Law, George Williams and Tom Campbell, are also participating to provide some input on some the legal questions and concepts.

Regardless of your views on human rights issues, trials like this which seek to improve public understanding and input into policy debates are welcome.  I hope there will some post-inquiry assessment of the effectiveness of the processes used.

More details at this post.

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67 Comments

  1. See there you are Tony, you can contribute to the debate after all.

    Roll your list up and send it in to the Open Forum and lets see if everyone else wnats to recliam those behaviours. I am not sure many aer really “rights” – I suppose that begs the question iof the definition of a right, as opposed to a common practice.

    I do seriously agree on the terrosim stuff – a massive overreaction forced upon those easy to manage, ie the docile general public, to look as if one os doing somtehing, while a bikie can be bashed to death wihtout any “real’ security within cooee. Similar mass hysteria and over “protection” on the swine flu “pandemic’ is another one – whre stuntism (see Lorikeet we can all inventt new words) is the main objective.

  2. The reason we now have RBT and RDT is because of very widespread binge drinking and drug taking, not to mention more cars and more (even sober) aggressive drivers on the road.

    These days you cannot even evict a possum from your garage, as relocation will probably lead to its death, due to lack of available territory.

    People feed possums and birds, instead of allowing them to rely on their natural existence, and then the ensuing over-abundance causes other problems for creatures, and other costs for citizens.

    Our citizens are being taxed to the eyeballs, and the wrong people are being treated like common criminals, while perpetrators get off.

    I think most people are sick of those who are more interested in the rights of terrorists, treasonists, traitors, murderous barbarians and paedophiles than they are in the rights of ordinary people.

  3. “Joh never allowed RBT’s as he considered them to be the start of a police state and definitely infringed the right to privacy and the right to be left alone.”

    The suggestion that Joh wanted to avoid a police state is one of the funniest things I’ve read in a long time – a real laugh out loud moment!

    Putting that aside, even if I accept Tony’s view of all the freedoms or rights which have been lost over recent decades, it is beyond doubt who has ultimately been responsible for bringing in all those restrcitions. It hasn’t the UN or the dreaded ‘unelected judges’ – it has been governments and politicians. Judges only interpret and enforce the laws which governments and politcians make. In regards to the so-called ‘anti-terrorism’ powers which Tony rightly expresses concern about, these are laws put forward by governments and passed by politicains in Parliaments – if anything, governments have complained that the Courts have been ruling on them in a way which is too soft.

    The same applies with all Lorikeet’s suggestions. The very serious human rights abuses which I have regularly outlined here on this blog (and elsewhere) have all occured as a result of either bad laws (adopted by Parliaments) and/or bad administration or use of those laws by governments and their employees. The Courts have at times been the only defence against the total removal of all rights.

    This article in The Age says it very well:

    “Meanwhile, the legislators, in whom the anti-bill of righters vest all faith to protect us, plough ahead with a variety of abominations.

    Provisions to allow secret evidence into proceedings, out of sight of the beastly accused, are in legislative vogue. This is very much in play in a variety of laws governing anything from terrorist offences, control orders, organised crime and bikie activities to – in some places – liquor licensing.”

  4. Absolutely right Andrew – despite the fear of worldwide conspiracies and Sino-green alliances and the like and the dreaded influence of the UN, the rules and regulations we live under are made, debated and then enacted through the representative parliamentary process whether we want to believe it or not.

    The fears of globalism and the like are nothing new. Capital and people have always moved around the world in search of a better environment or return, it simply happens much faster now and more obviously and it’s also not surprising for people to fear these changes.

    Nor for that matter the despair about the feckless, idle uneducated youth – Socrates said “Our youth now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for their elders, and love chatter in places of exercise. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up their food and tyrannize their teachers.”

    The irony is of course, as you well know Andrew politicians largely react rather than lead and many of the rules and regulations result from fear and public pressure – there is none so in favour of regulation than those complaining of something going wrong or when the regulation applies to a problem they perceive as important – expect of course when the regulation applies to them.

    As for a Bill of Rights I am not convinced. I do not believe such a process should attempt to enshrine maters that relate to interpersonal relations or behaviours or provision of services I believe the existing legislative process already does and should continue to adequately cover such matters eg Anti-discrimination, the provision of health, housing or the like.

    If a bill of rights is to exist and to have a power that exceeds the role of parliament then I think it should only cover matters pertaining to the relationship between the state and individuals freedom.

  5. Ken:

    The big hoo-haa over the Swine Flu isn’t just stuntism. It has been designed to enable people like Rumsfeld to make billions of dollars from drugs such as Tamiflu and Relenza. I heard he made $2 billion from the Bird Flu alone.

    If you give the general population these drugs for influenza outbreaks which have minor symptoms for people in low risk groups, they won’t have sufficient immunity to fight THE BIG ONE when it comes.

    The same applies to any old flu, not just Swine.

    On the news last night, they said the common garden variety of flu is now taking off at a pace that is unusual. Maybe they have plenty of flu vaccine left over.

    Generally when any kind of flu is discussed, productivity of workers is also mentioned – another money making issue.

    Andrew:

    I still think governments and judges will do anything they choose, regardless of a Bill of Rights, particularly if there is money involved.

    “Judges only interpret the laws that politicians and governments make…..”

    That’s very hard for them to do with so much Blind Eye Legislation about that people aren’t even charged with offences at all.

    We even have idiots on the TV saying that Child Abuse is on the rise, but some of the cases they cite aren’t child abuse at all, certainly not under the law.

    It seems to me that all sorts of illegal ideas are both pushed and practised, when they are not in accordance with the law at all.

  6. Andrew:

    I have now given your link a thorough reading.

    If the accused facing court is given a “dollop of procedural fairness” in relation to releasing “secret information”, could this not give a lovely tip-off to terrorist mates, with the potential to destroy investigations of Scotland yard, FBI, ASIO or AFP?

    Ken:

    Let us start with the provision of housing. The government is clearly not doing its job properly. Even with Rudd supplying money to build new public housing, which has been sadly neglected for a long time, we will still have thousands of people living on the streets of Brisbane.

    On the subject of individual rights, the teaching of “Me Syndrome” together with a concomitant lack of social responsibility has certainly affected our society negatively in many ways, including manners, respect and our children’s ability to learn.

    I believe individual rights can work against what is best for the society as a whole. One individual’s rights can walk straight over someone else’s, because people don’t really care what happens, as long as it isn’t happening to them.

    It doesn’t matter what is enshrined in law, if nobody gives a stuff what it is!

    These days it is a very common thing for police to take the side of the perpetrator, when they know that the likelihood of getting a conviction is low.

    Now let’s look at what happened in the Hurley/Doomadgee case. We had a State government employee being tried in State courts by the State’s judge.

    I think there is a very significant problem with multi-national corporations having too many holdings, which they can then use interactively for their own benefit.

    I don’t like it when our people end up without work, or when Australian assets are increasingly owned by other countries, especially those that are our best income-producing resources.

    Do you want to be owned by China? Directed by China?

    China is currently snapping up other countries’ natural resources at recession prices, particularly oil.

  7. Ken

    Ken Says: The fears of globalism and the like are nothing new. Capital and people have always moved around the world in search of a better environment or return, it simply happens much faster now and more obviously and it’s also not surprising for people to fear these changes

    Yes and they failed like the current financial system. Like the opium Trade of China, Wall Street collapse of the great depression. Etc. Countries and or corporations trying to profit or control the flow of money, supply, and the populations. These usually ended up in war or a collapsing economy or both. So it would be hoped that we have learnt from the past.

    The one thing we haven’t seen in the past though is the willingness of countries to sell off all their assets and the willingness to become totally dependent on foreign supply of goods or finances, which is what is happening today. Yes one should never confuse global trade with Globalisation.

    Ken Says: The irony is of course, as you well know Andrew politicians largely react rather than lead and many of the rules and regulations result from fear and public pressure

    If that was the case we would have never progressed this far down the drain. Our nations debt is approx $660Billion and should blow out to $800 billion over the next couple of years. From a world leader in agriculture, mining (and prior to lust for Globalisation ) manufacturing. Public pressure was against this but it didn’t stop politicians from replicating the errors made overseas.

    We continue to rush in and make mistakes. Let’s for once take a breather on this one.
    Look at the errors occurring oveseas.

    Tony

  8. Skepticus – The fact is, that in cases of criminal law etc, the rules that are laid down were put there by governments. I, as an individual can’t change those laws, therefore I want it written into law, that all persons who are charged with a crime are entitled to habeas corpus; a legal representative of their choice(unlike the Anti-Terrorism Act 2005 or the ABCC re the workers in the building industry), the right to silence, and the presumption of innocence – just for starters. This is not guaranteed or legislated for at this time. This is one example!

    TONY – It’s not true that if something is absent from a Bill of Rights, than it’s tough luck. The idea would be, that things can be amended and included as time goes on. Show me where in the Constitution that I’m entitled to the right to vote; where indigenous people have the same rights as I do, and where it states the right to free speech or any legal rights? I suggest it doesn’t!

    I’d like to see a draft of a Bill of Rights, and I’d like to see legal, civil imput. It’s not that difficult to do. We just need to start. And the furphy put out by some that it’d make those in the legal fraternity rich, the facts make this laughable. By and large, those who defend the right of the ‘little people’ who are querying their loss of some liberty are the lawyers at the lowest end of the legal fraternity, who usually work in some govt funded organization; they’re rarely the QC’s or top shot Barristers? And as is case in most other legal quarters, those who do the ‘leg work’ are those lowly paid!

  9. Naomi Cartledge

    Naomi Says: It’s not true that if something is absent from a Bill of Rights, than it’s tough luck. The idea would be, that things can be amended and included as time goes on.

    Have a look at history and what the human rights commission now EOC has dealt out in the past. If political correct clap trap is what we would expect, then we’ll all be worse off.

    The lack of wisdom shown by both lawyers and parliamentarians has a lot to be desired. Surely you can see the dangers in this.

    Tony

  10. Tony

    What Australia’s foreign debt has to do with a Bill of Rights is tangential; although I’m sure someone who shall remain nameless will be acutely aware of the symbiosis.

    However seeing you raised it and in the context that somehow politicians “caused” it lets at least be informed.

    Actually the current External debt is approx $977 billion – even more reason to slit your wrists with your fellow doomsayer.

    However the overwhelming exposure is financial institutions at around $819 billion (globalism I hear – well basically no, so we all can continue to live beyond our means), other corporations $109 billion and good old government chiming in with $50 billion.

    Through the glory days of the DLP we were totally reliant on foreign capital, of course back then we were British so it wasn’t really foreign was it, and so we still are reliant on foreign capital.

  11. Ken:

    “However the overwhelming exposure is financial institutions at around $819 billion …..”

    Exactly. Don’t you know what financial institutions own?

    I heard a complaint on TV about the nursing home chain of which my mother is a resident.

    On doing research, I found that a particular group owns nearly all of the large private nursing home chains in Australia, some in NZ and Canada, banks & superannuation funds throughout the world, BHP Billion, other mineral resources and has been trying to buy Medibank Private.

    Today I had a chat with a 25-year-old guy with a BApplSc (HMS) who was applying heat packs to my mother’s knees. I found he understood pretty fully the problems with globalism and banks and what they are doing, including employment issues.

    He said my view was certainly NOT far fetched, because any ordinary person could easily see what is happening. How much farther would it need to be fetched anyway?

    Some of you middle-aged people have a lot of catching up to do. Perhaps you could do a bit of integrated thinking, and then try to understand how a Bill of Rights might not protect anyone from unforeseen circumstances.

    BTW aren’t you people aware that the National Farmers’ Federation is being destroyed from the inside out?

  12. Ken

    Ken Says: Through the glory days of the DLP we were totally reliant on foreign capital, of course back then we were British so it wasn’t really foreign was it, and so we still are reliant on foreign capital.

    Absolute Rubbish.

    I think I’d throw away the history books your reading.(not wittten by Milton Friedman by any chance)

    read</a?

    Tony

  13. Yes Tony i concede I should have said “equally’ not totally.

    Lorikeet – which particualr group owns all the entities you mentioned above.

  14. Ken:

    There was a second reason (besides nursing home issues) which prompted me to check up on the Macquarie Group. I wasn’t sure if I could name them here.

    When I attended the union demonstration outside the Queensland Labor Conference, a man from the Citizens’ Electoral Council handed me an A4 flier.

    It had a picture of Anna Bligh dressed in a Nazi uniform and saying: “Heil Macquarie!” There’s a big drawing of the Macquarie Bank – also other wording which says “Babcock & Brown – shirts”. A sign which says “Welcome to Sydney” has been changed to “Welcome to Macquarieville”.

    There is mention of Morris “Mussolini” Iemma’s Thousand-Year Reich.

    Various infrastructure projects are illustrated with huge multi-million dollar amounts – including tunnels, tollways, a highway and a rail link to the airport.

    I chatted with this fellow for a while. He was seriously concerned about a global takeover and described Anna Bligh as a fascist. He also had no trust of The Greens.

  15. Feral:

    You have to admire the Pope for wanting the best for everyone – also his interest in ensuring that certain countries don’t hog all of the sources of non-renewable energy. I hope he had China in his sights!

    But despite the excellence of his philosophy, I think it fails to take into account the baser aspects of human nature.

    In the real world, globalisation is likely to render the vast bulk of the peoples of all nations exceedingly poor, while the Big Boys have all of the say and nearly all of the money.

  16. Yes, we need a B of R, and we need it soon. It may even reverse the horrific situation of aboriginal incarceration – many in jail for crimes/ demeanours that non-aboriginals would probably only be fined or serve a community service sentence?Or young people denied bail and kept with hardened criminals at times in NSW – only to be aquitted or only serve a light sentence. Good way of making criminals at the moment, and only so each political party was competing to be ‘super tough’ on crime?Most crimes(except DV and other violent crimes)have decreased, jail numbers increase

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