QCCL MEDIA RELEASE
CALL FOR QUEENSLAND HUMAN RIGHTS ACT
The Queensland Council for Civil Liberties has called upon the Beattie Government
to establish a process to consider the introduction of a Human Rights Act in
“Its time for the Beattie government to get on board. Why should Queenslanders
have less protection for their Human Rights than the southerners?” asked QCCL
President Mr Michael Cope.
Mr Cope said that over the weekend the NSW Attorney General had announced his
support for a Charter of Rights in that State. The Victorian Government has
committed itself to introducing a Charter this year. Tasmania is about to start
Until July 2004 Australia was the only western country with neither a constitutionally
entrenched Bill of Rights nor a Human Rights Act as part of its ordinary legislation.
Even East Timor, which Australia helped to create, had a constitutionally entrenched
Bill of Rights.
“However the times they are a changing” says Mr Cope, President of the Queensland
Council of Civil Liberties.
The QCCL President commented the only serious objection to a Human Rights Act
was that it gave too much power to unelected Judges. This criticism was based on the
American Bill of Rights model. However, in the ACT legislation and in the proposed
Victorian, NSW and Tasmanian legislation the final say stayed with parliament.
Under the ACT and Victorian models their Supreme Courts can declare legislation to
be incompatible with the Human Rights Act or Charter of Rights and Responsibilities,
but that did not affect the validity of the legislation. In this way the parliament in
these jurisdictions retained the final say.
Mr Cope said the Council had long supported a Bill of Rights on the American model.
However, following the successful introduction of the Human Rights Act in the ACT
the Council had moved to support that model.
“Mr Beattie should commit himself to join the movement for justice in Queensland
and establish a community consultation process on the introduction of a Charter of
Rights and Responsibilities”, Mr Cope concluded.
3 January 2006
Queensland Council for Civil Liberties