An Australian Charter of Rights - Answering Some of the Critics

Ethics and Professional Responsibility

CPD Points 1


Australia’s approach to human rights is exceptional among western democracies, with no formal constitutional or statutory protections. In this course, the Hon Michael Kirby addresses the main arguments advanced by those who oppose the adoption of a Federal Human Rights law.

Just over ten years ago, the National Human Rights Consultation Committee handed down its report into the protection of human rights in Australia. The Committee received thousands of submissions, conducted hundreds of roundtables and independent polling, which showed overwhelming public support for the adoption of a human rights law.

In its report, the Committee recommended that Australia adopt a Federal Human Rights Act, however, the Federal Government has opted not to follow this recommendation. Despite this, the national conversation about how Australia can best protect the human rights of its citizens continues, including the adoption of a Human Rights Act.

In this course, the author will provide a brief overview of the attempts to introduce a new federal human rights law in Australia. The course will then examine the main arguments that have been advanced by critics to suggest that the adoption of a new federal human rights law in Australia is unnecessary or undesirable. 

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LawCPD author: The Hon Michael Kirby AC CMG

The Hon Michael Kirby AC CMG

Michael Kirby was, until 2 February 2009, one of the seven Justices of Australia's highest constitutional and appellate court, the High Court of Australia.

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What Lawyers Say

  1. 5.0/5
    Excellent and thought provoking.
    This was an excellent and thought provoking discussion by former Justice Kirby on an Australian Bill of Rights. This course is a timely discussion about the evolution of human rights in Australia,and the role of the legislature and the common law in the evolution of protecting and entrenching basic human rights.It is also a reminder than unlike other countries,Australia is yet to nationally enact a Bill of Rights.
  2. 4.0/5
    User friendly learning experience.
    Clear instructions and user friendly site made learning effective.