Australia failing its citizens without a Bill of Rights
7 April 2006
Australia is the only advanced democracy in the world not prepared to offer protection to its citizens through a Bill of Rights, says leading human rights lawyer Geoffrey Robertson QC.
Criticising the Australian government for its “unthinking resistance to change”, he cited the remarkable success of a Bill of Rights in the UK, New Zealand, South Africa and many parts of Europe.
Geoffrey Robertson was speaking to graduates in the Great Hall after being awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws by the University. He is a leading advocate for the establishment of an International Criminal Court and is an Appeal Judge of the UN Special Court for Sierra Leone which recently awarded him citizenship, “perhaps in response to their Olympic athletes who defected.”
A graduate in Arts and Law from the University of Sydney, he studied both criminal law and international law which gave him excellent training for later life when he prosecuted General Pinochet of Chile and trained judges to try Saddam Hussein.
Geoffrey Robertson is well known for his television “hypotheticals” and for his numerous books such as “Crimes Against Humanity- the Struggle for Global Justice” 1999, and more recently “ The Tyrannicide Brief” in which he argues that tyranny is still not a criminal offence, condemned by the law of nations, as it ought to be.
Currently Geoffrey Robertson is Visiting Professor in Human Rights at Queen Mary College, University of London. He encouraged the graduates, many of whom studied education and social work, to reflect on history and to “temper your idealism with street wisdom and the capacity to judge”.
Contact: Andrew Potter
Phone: 02 9351 4514