Australian Bill of Rights
This thread is in reaction to ppl's previous posts on the American Constitution. FYI the Cth of Aust has never had a Bill of Rights written into our Constitution (drafted in 1900 at the time of Aust Federation), unlike in the US, and this issue of formally recognising specific rights in the Aust legal and political systam has been a significant issue for awhile now, including when we had our 1999 referendum on whether Aust should become a republic. Hist, there were proposals in the 1890s discussions on federation for rights protections to have been incorporated into the Constitution, but these discussions were rejected by the drafters since they felt that any protections of individual rights would've restricted their intentions to impose racist criteria to prevent nonwhite immigration into Aust, and to govern the lives of Aboriginal ppl. There were also a couple referendums in 1944 and 1988 to discuss the incorporation of a Constitutional Bill of Rights, but these were rejected by most of Aust's electorate. In this light, there are only about 3 or 4 express protections of rights scattered in no particular order thruout the Aust Constitution (including trial by jury for indictable offence, religion- cannot be imposed or restricted by govt, freedom of interstate travel), which have been interpreted on the whole restrictively by the High Court, although the HC has also in the last decade held that there are is implied into the Constitution an underlying right to freedom of communication.
What would've been the effect of Aust having a Bill of Rigts explicitly incorporated into our Constitution ? Would the protection of individual rights and freedoms be better assured with fundamental rights to vote, travel, freely express 1's views, and be protected from discrimination on such grounds as race or religion ? Would there be similar difficulties re the interpretation of certain sections which are now perceived as outdated, such as the 2nd Amendment and the right to bear arms ?