Bill of Rights for Australia
Even though Australia has signed all five international treaties
that make up the the International
Bill of Human Rights, none of these treaties
are legally binding in Australia. Nor is there is a Bill
of Rights in the Australian Constitution. This means that
rights and freedoms of everyone living in Australia are not
protected by the law.
majority of Australians want a Bill of Rights and they
want a say about whether it belongs in the Constitution
In 1991-1992 the Research School of Social Sciences at ANU
conducted a national survey of 1522 Australians and asked
to rights. The report Rights
in Australia 1991-1992 found
that 70.6% of Australians want a Bill of Rights (7.4%
were against and 21.8% were undecided). The Survey also
found that 85.9% supported a referendum to determine whether
Rights should be put in the Constitution. The majority of
Australians (57.8%) also believe that a Bill of Rights would
strengthen our national identity.
Nevertheless, Australia's politicians continue to deny Australians
a Bill of Rights to protect our rights and freedoms. Why? Is
it simply because a Bill of Rights would be an effective check
and balance on their power? That would explain why Prime Minister
Howard supports a Bill of Rights for Iraqis, but not for his
How can you help the campaign for a Bill of Rights?
If you believe that Australia needs a Bill of Rights, then
CCL supports a Human Rights Act for all Australians
26 May 2004 (Sydney): The New South
Wales Council for Civil Liberties expressed its support for
an interim statutory Human Rights Act for all Australians.
CCL remains committed to a constitutional Bill of Rights, but
CCL accepts that in the meantime a strong statutory Human Rights
Act would help to protect the rights and freedoms of all Australians.
CCL adopted a new policy
document that will be sent to all CCL branches around
the country for endorsement.
New Matilda's Human Rights Act
New Matilda is an online opinion magazine that has
put together a draft
Human Rights Act for all Australians.
The Act was launched on 5 October 2005 at Sydney Town Hall. CCL
supports this initiative and wishes New Matilda well
with their project.
You can read CCL's
comments on New Matilda's Bill.
PM supports a Bill of Rights...for Iraq
14 April 2004 (Canberra): In a press
conference today, the Australian Prime Minister John
Howard expressed "very strong support" for a Bill
of Rights for Iraq.
the past the Prime Minister has stated he does
not support Bills of Rights. So NSWCCL applauds
Mr Howard's change of heart and his very strong
support for Bills of Rights.
CCL encourages the Prime Minister to extend this very strong support for a
Bill of Rights for the Iraqi people to the Australian people.
Australia is the only common law country without a Bill of
Rights. Recently, the ACT passed the Australia's first Bill
of Rights: the Human Rights Act 2004(ACT).
CCL encourages the Prime Minister to examine the Human Rights
Act and to pass a national equivalent.
Australia, like Iraq, deserves a Bill of Rights.
Enacting an Australian Human Rights Act has
been a long-standing CCL policy position. You can read CCL's
official policy document on an Australian Human Rights
Act, adopted in May 2004.
The Federal government refused to support
the Australian Democrats' Australian Bill of Rights (2000).
The NSW government has also refused to support a human rights
We urge you to write in support of a Bill
of Rights to your local member at both a federal and state
Find your federal member and fax or email
them a letter through the Commonwealth parliament website Parliament of Australia.
Find your state member and fax or email them
a letter through the NSW parliament website NSW
NSWCCL with your comments.