Wouldn’t this just create confusion as being another bill of rights?
It could be deliberately construed as such but it is just “plain talk” of what people should be able to take for granted in a free country, a grass-roots statement of liberties rather than rights. It is never intended to be interpreted as a legal document, nor as a replacement for a bill of rights.
But isn’t this really just the same as a bill of rights?
No. The two are mutually exclusive. The sad thing is – and has been confirmed overseas – that “rights” as determined by courts and tribunals extinguish liberties and weigh in favour of minority groups. By supporting this simple charter you will be giving voice to ordinary values of ordinary Australians who want a fair go.
It will not achieve anything.
Not as a legal document, no. But there will be some MPs who, while not believing that a bill of rights is necessary, will go along with it because opposition will be seen as discriminatory and not politically correct. The People’s Charter will encourage and embolden MPs to say “we speak for the people” and to say no to any such legislation.
But this People’s Charter flies in the face of decades of making sure that ordinary people have rights. Our rights must be protected.
Our Australian constitution has done that very well. We have no need in Australia for any extra “protection” by any “big brother” type of infringement of liberties.
Isn’t this charter over the top? Isn’t it a red-neck reaction – even paranoid?
No. These are basic freedoms consistent with those enshrined in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights of November 1948 e.g. in the preamble it mentions “…a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief… as the highest aspiration of the common people.” Various articles enshrine “freedom of thought, conscience and religion” (article 18); “freedom of opinion and expression” (article 19); “freedom of peaceful assembly and association” (article 20).
Cannot those same freedoms so well expressed in that Universal Declaration of Human Rights protect us in event of being charged with “hate speech”?
You would certainly think so but it does not work that way. It seems that individual rights and the rights of minority groups are given favour over these freedoms by the bodies responsible.
OK, but can’t we fight these decisions?
Of course but remember that the case against you will be government funded while you will have to meet your own expenses and if you lose your case and go to appeal that can cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars and more if you lose as you may be paying the costs of the other side as well.
But that isn’t just!
You’re so right and the only way you can avoid this situation is to strongly voice your objection to any bill of rights.
But surely we can rely on common sense being applied to charges?
We would sincerely hope so but cases here in Australia have not shown so and that is exactly the purpose of The People’s Charter. Even if you simply defended marriage as being only between male and female you would be at risk of “hate speech”.
Can’t this charter itself be labelled as being intolerant of rights?
Yes remarkably it could. Because of controversial court decisions involving freedom of religion in USA, in 1993 a Religious Freedom Restoration Act passed without dissent through the House of Representatives and with only three dissenting votes in the Senate to re-establish religious freedom. Unbelievably, this was subsequently declared invalid by the US Supreme Court as “majoritarian intolerance”. Thus the clear will of the people and the parliament in ensuring religious freedom was made to no effect. The only way to protect our liberties is not to have any bill of rights in Australia at all. We need to persuade our MPs to oppose it in any form.
Surely this is just a “populist” appeal?
The People’s Charter is so much more than that. Yes, it is simple and designed for popular appeal, but it is so fundamental and is our best defence against more restrictions. Yes, we must respect our neighbour and look after each other including all the “many” that make up our Aussie society. Yes, we must care for the lonely, the hungry, the refugee, and all those that need comfort and support – and we can do all that in true community with liberty for all. The People’s Charter will give expression to the will of ordinary people.
Who is sponsoring The People’s Charter?
The People’s Charter has not originated from any organization. It is a concerned citizen’s response* to the mostly unseen threat posed by a bill of rights. While it is possible that many community organizations will respond and recommend the Charter to its people, it will not become the sole province of any particular group. It is anticipated that that it will appeal to people of all ethnic backgrounds and beliefs.
*Lachlan Dunjey. Box 68, Morley 6943, Western Australia.
Yes, we are one, and we are many – say “yes” to a fair-go and keep Australia a lucky country!
If you question is not answered – please let us know.