National Human Rights Consultation

9 July 2009

A number of faculty members have made submissions to the National Human Rights Consultation in June 2009. Their submissions canvassed a range of views:


Professor Patrick Parkinson AM made a submission arguing against a statutory bill of rights and stating that where human rights are threatened, they are best protected with specific, targeted legislation, rather than abstract judicial principles - read submission

Associate Professor Anne Twomey made a submission addressing the constitutional issues that the Consultation Committee should take into account in making its recommendations to the Commonwealth Government - read submission

Professor Helen Irving made a submission arguing against a bill of rights of the type currently proposed by prominent advocates. She stated that the inclusion of socio-economic rights is particularly problematic, drew attention to constitutional difficulties involved and suggested an amendment to the Acts Interpretation Act 1901 (Cth) allowing the Courts to interpret legislation in light of specified rights as a possible alternative - read submission

Professor Mary Crock made a submission with Tobias Freeman which considers the current debate in historical perspective. The submission uses migrant children as a case study to demonstrate that the failure to enshrine international obligations into domestic law has placed Australia in breach of international law - read submission

Dr Ben Saul made a submission arguing in favour of a constitutional or justiciable statutory bill of rights, including economic and social rights, creating a new cause of action, binding remedies (including compensation), and a judicial power to declare legislation inoperative if it conflicts with human rights - read submission

Dr Peter Gerangelos was invited to attend a consultation with Father Frank Brennan, David Bennet QC (former Commonwealth Solicitor-General), Sir Gerard Brennan (former Chief Justice of the High Court), and Professor Martin Krygier of UNSW Law Faculty


Associate Professor Judith Cashmore was one of the authors of the joint submission of the National Children's and Youth Law Centre and Defence for Children International - read submission

Professor Reg Graycar wasone of the authors of the NSW Bar Association submission which advocated for a statutory bill of rights incorporating civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, and making specific provision for the rights of indigenous peoples - read submission

Dr Ben Saul was one of the authors of the Refugee Advice and Casework Service submission which highlighted the lack of human rights protections under Australian law for asylum seekers and refugees - read submission

Contact: Greg Sherington

Phone: +61 2 9351 0202

Email: 7e243f5719112d2702315c155f25276f193a170d1a10014d182c19