maelorin: (power corrupts)
Bills of rights do not protect freedoms
Philip Ruddock
August 31, 2007
Ruddock's article, edited and commented )

Philip Ruddock is the federal Attorney-General.

Nic Suzor has written a pithy post in response: He concludes:

This is another facet of a systematic attack on the judiciary from a government which is terrified of having its policies and actions scrutinised. From immigration to copyright to industrial relations to prisoners’ right to vote, the Howard Government has complained about the power of the courts to regulate and limit their power.

The real threat to democracy is not judicial intervention. To claim that a judge who takes a literal and conservative approach to the text of the law is not acting politically is mere legal fetishism.

The real threat to democracy here is the sustained attack on judicial independence that we have witnessed from a government which refuses to have its policies reviewed, either by the legislature before they become law, or by the judiciary afterwards.

In short, Ruddock is continuing to espouse the Howard Government's "Waaah! Woe is us! The Law (our own laws even) are getting used 'against' us! Waaah!" line. Time and again we are told that they are obstructed in their 'duty' to 'protect' us.

But we can see under the curtain ...
Mood:: 'angry' angry
location: apartment 8
Music:: Faithless - Bombs CDM Promo - Bombs (Benny Benassi Dub)
maelorin: (lawyers)

Monday, June 26, 2006
UK Tory leader proposes US-style Bill of Rights
Joe Shaulis at 2:26 PM ET

[JURIST] UK Conservative Party leader David Cameron [party profile] said Monday that he would appoint a panel of legal experts to examine whether the increasingly-controversial Human Rights Act of 1998 [text; JURIST news archive] should be replaced with an American-style Bill of Rights. Speaking at the Centre for Policy Studies [think tank website] in London, Cameron asserted that the act doesn't adequately protect rights even as it makes fighting crime and terrorism more difficult. Cameron said [text, PDF]:

So I believe that the time has now come for a new solution that protects liberties in this country that is home-grown and sensitive to Britain's legal inheritance that enables people to feel they have ownership of their rights and one which at the same time enables a British Home Secretary to strike a common-sense balance between civil liberties and the protection of public security. The Conservative Party, under my leadership, is determined to provide a hard-nosed defence of security and freedom. And I believe that the right way to do that is through a modern British Bill of Rights that also balances rights with responsibilities. This would clearly set out people's rights, would enable those rights to be protected in British courts, and would strengthen our hand in the fight against crime and terrorism.

The Human Rights Act was passed to comply with the European Convention of Human Rights [text; BBC backgrounder], which Britain signed in 1953. Cameron said his proposal would not withdraw Britain from the convention and would continue to allow UK citizens to take cases to the European Court of Human Rights [official website].

The governing Labour Party immediately attacked Cameron's remarks [party press release]. The government's chief legal adviser, Attorney General Lord Peter Goldsmith [official profile], described the Bill of Rights proposal as "muddled, misconceived and dangerous" [BBC report].

Reuters has more.
The Guardian has additional coverage.
BBC News offers recorded video of the full speech.

Mood:: 'frustrated' frustrated
Music:: "Weird Al" Yankovic - You're Pitiful
maelorin: (Default)
here in australia, we do not have a bill or rights. or any comprehensive statement of individual and/or collective rights. our constitution provides very few guarantees for us, the people. unlike the usa or canada. indeed a great many industrialised democracies. practically all of our legal rights are set out in subordinate legislation. and further complicate dby the federal-state-territory distribution of powers and responsibilities.

the many arguments for and against a bill of rights in australia have been neatly summarised elsewhere by one of our high court justices, justice michael kirby (an internationally respected human rights jurist).

into this mess, we have the notion of the universal id card as a panacea for all manner of ills and wrongs. some of which arise because we lack a definitive statement of the rights, privileges and responsibilities of individuals in our society.

mr howard, 'our' prime minister briefly supported a call from a state premier to introduce a national id card.

the age has since reported that the (federal) govt rules out national id card scheme.

as a bit of background, when a previous government suggested intorducing such a system, among it's loudest detracters was mr howard.

it's a very curious thing to see how easily even politicians are affected by their own efforts to induce short-term memory in the population.
Mood:: 'cynical' cynical


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