Justice Margaret McMurdo urges Queenslanders to have to speak up on Human Rights Act

I am sure it is most unwise for me to contradict an eminent jurist but I nonetheless do think Maggie McMurdo, below, is wrong.  As far as I can tell, the writ of Britain's 1689 Bill of Rights still runs in Australia.  And it has served both Britain and Australia well.  Maggie may be thinking of the EU-inspired Bill of Rights introduced to Britain much more recently.  It is true that Australia has nothing like that, thankfully. One of its effects is to prevent most immigrant criminals from being deported from Britain -- to almost universal disapprobation among Britons.  Let us just have our good ol' 1689 bill doing its splendid job -- JR

JUSTICE Margaret McMurdo has outlined the advantages of a Human Rights Bill as the State Government establishes a parliamentary committee on the issue.

Queensland’s second most senior judge last night said similar Bills in the UK, New Zealand, Victoria and the ACT had been effective.

While delivering the University of the Sunshine Coast’s first law oration, Justice McMurdo said Australia was the only democracy without a Human Rights Act.  She quoted the late Nelson Mandela’s support of civil protections and urged people to get involved in the consultation process.  “I encourage each of you, as part of your personal celebration of 800 years of Magna Carta, to carefully follow and contribute to the parliamentary inquiry into whether Queensland should have a Human Rights Act,” she said.

The Palaszczuk Government is preparing to establish a parliamentary committee to consider the merits of a Bill of Rights for the state after the issue was raised by independent member for Nicklin and Speaker Peter Wellington.

Justice McMurdo, the president of Queensland’s Court of Appeal, who clashed publicly with former Chief Justice Tim Carmody, said it would be inappropriate to outline her personal opinion.

However she pointed out that in countries and states where rights were enshrined in law, there had not been the feared explosion in litigation.

Justice McMurdo said similar Acts had permeated the culture of those governments and public life right down to the rights of an elderly person in care being entitled to a shower curtain.

She said surveys undertaken as part of the Rudd government’s National Human Rights Consultation Report, had shown the majority of Australians were in favour.

But she said vocal opposition from certain media outlets, including The Australian newspaper, had successfully shut down progress.


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