This weeks launch of the findings of a enquiry into the need for an Australian Bill of Rights sees the culmination of a cleverly orchestrated attempt to recast the lawmaking tradition of this country by replacing the notion of the “common good” with the “rights of the individual”.
The deceit surrounding the National Human Rights Consultation exercise has been breathtaking in its own contempt for human rights.
You would imagine that if there was one overarching principle involved in an enquiry into human rights it would be honesty. Not so. This is an exercise in political spin and ideological ruthlessness. The key players in this coup are not Father Brennan and his Human Rights Committee but Left wing academics like Professor George Williams, celebrity lawyer Geoffrey Robinson, the Executive of the Australian Human Rights Commission; lesser cling-on activists like Greg Barns of the Republic Movement fame and the childlike pressure group, GetUp.
The chain of events were very cleverly engineered. Pressure from the AHRC; a book by Robinson The Statute of Liberty; a Spectator article by Barns on why a Bill of Rights shouldn’t be put to a referendum (it wouldn’t pass); the appointment of a committee of enquiry composed of people with little expert knowledge of parliamentary practice or constitutional law, and bingo, the whole exercise is up and running. Brilliant! Well done Attorney-General McClelland.
The initial bit of dishonesty comes in the first sentence of Father Brennan’s Consultation website, the document that any interested party heads for. It says, “Human rights are about equality and fairness for everyone.” As the history of the world proves equality and fairness (for everyone) are impossible dreams.
In the Quadrant Online forum on “What’s Left”, John Dawson neatly summed up the problem of equality when he said, “The human beings who inhabit this planet are not equal; not physically, mentally, morally, or in any other respect – and vive la différence. A world of equality, if it were possible, would be more nightmare than dream, since the only way to achieve it would be to tear down the best to the level of the worst – the only way to achieve equality between me and Gary Ablett would be to cripple him.”
Without doubt the most questionable aspect was the Brennan committee’s flaunting of the figure of 35,000 responses to their request for submissions.
Of those responses apparently 87% were in favour of a National Human Rights Act. What Father Brennan didn’t say in his article in The Australian on Friday was that the majority of those submissions (about 29,000) were from the “what’s the cause today, brother” website GetUp. Tick a box and you are a submitter. Then there was a telephone survey of 1200 people in which 57% said they supported a human rights act. Asked such a loaded question on the telephone—who would dare not to answer in the affirmative?
As Professor James Allan of the University of Queensland pointed out on the same page as father Brennan’s Australian article, that is 0.2% of the population, while 99.8% of citizens weren’t asked.
What is missing from this debate is clear examples of where Australia has failed, in intention, on “human rights”. The guardians of human rights in Australia are the Parliament, the judiciary, the media and our citizenry.
Curiously, where human rights ideas are failing are from the very groups that are, in the main, advocates of a Human Rights Act.
Attacks on rights such as freedom of speech and the freedom to hold views that are an anathema to the loony Left, are what these people are actively trying to suppress through the mechanisms of political correctness and human rights advocacy. Their other key weapon is branding. Instead of robust argument you simply brand, like cattle, your opponent with weasel-words. Racist, being the most popular, followed by sceptic, neo-con or capitalist-running-dog.
Political correctness is a blatant attack on freedom of speech. The attacks on academics and writers (and ordinary citizens) who question current Left-wing theories on history, society, climate and a host of other issues are not based on freedom of expression and thought, but on suppression. It appears the most serious threat to our liberties and freedoms come from the very people who are the proponents of “human rights”.
What is missing from all this political spin is clearly stated arguments from lawyers, judges, parliamentarians and libertarians as to what the dangers and implications of this drastic change to our system government means.
The absolutely stupid provisions of the Privacy Act, and its continuing intrusion into our everyday life, such as the constant recorded messages about privacy on just about every government and major business telephone is an example of we can expect. “Your telephone call may be recorded…etc…etc.”
Remember the time when you could conduct some business without having to prove who you are? Cromwell would have loved today’s puritans.
Like in the movie The Castle, what is needed is for retired lawyers, judges and ex-politicians (and intellectually honest academics) to come out and stand up against this assault on our legal system. People!!! We can’t do it without you.