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:: Charter Rights No Wrongs
::  what's all the fuss about? | the issues in brief

The Attorney-General Robert McClelland has announced that the Government will not be introducing a federal charter of rights. Thanks to all the people who spoke out and made a stand against this unnecessary and potentially dangerous legislation.

 

Background

The National Human Rights Consultation, headed by Jesuit Priest Father Frank Brennan, recommended the enactment of a Human Rights Act (a charter of rights). (Full report available here.)

If adopted by the Federal Government, the Human Rights Act would have transfered political power from elected politicians to unelected judges. Charters of rights are also used by activists to attack freedom of religion and advance radical social causes such as same sex marriage and abortion.

An excellent article written by Cardinal George Pell demonstrating the real and present danger posed to religious freedoms and other fundamental human rights by a Human Rights Act is available here.

 

Christian concern for human rights

The Christian church has always been at the forefront of protecting the human rights of the poor and vulnerable in society. Sadly charters of rights have been used overseas and in some states of Australia to undermine fundamental human rights such as freedom of religion.

For example, within months of the Victorian Charter of Rights being enacted, an inquiry was set up questioning the freedom of Christian schools and organisations to discriminate in favour of employing staff who share their Christian ethos. Imagine a church not being able to employ a Christian receptionist or a Christian school being forced to employ non-Christian teachers. Now that the Victorian Equal Opportunity Bill 2010 has passed, faith-based organisations are left in an uncertain legal position regarding their employment practices.

Who knows what a Federal Human Rights Act will unleash. It is a radical alteration of the existing roles of the various arms of government and the separation of powers, which have been the basis of a free and just Australia.

Any dialogue on human rights, which essentially amount to questions of morality and policy, should occur between the people and their elected representatives through the democratic forum of parliament. Acceding power to unaccountable judges to interpret vague statements of human rights according to their own subjective values is not the answer to human rights.

More than 21,000 concerned Australians signed our petition calling on the Federal parliament to at least hold a referendum to truly gauge public support before introducing a Human Rights Act. The petition, one of the largest in the life of the present parliament, was tabled in the Senate by Shadow Attorney-General George Brandis.

Thanks to all the people who contributed to this cause to see the charter defeated.

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