Saturday, November 7, 2009

Thoughts on Australia's Human Rights Charter

Prompted by a Sydney Star Observer story (yeah - "rughts" act. Whoops, right?)

My thoughts (November 5th, 2009 @ 6:04 pm)

If it wasn’t against what we both stand for, I’d marry Kirby and have his gaybies. Trufax.

One need only look to – strangely – Australia's ex-PM John Howard for the best pro-Human Rights Charter argument. In his August 27, 2009 opinion piece in The Age, Howard said this:

“If the US and Canadian experience is a guide, issues such as abortion and gay marriage would not be resolved by our elected representatives but the courts.

“Comparing the Australian and Canadian approaches on gay marriage is illuminating. In Australia, the government which I led decided in 2004 that the Marriage Act should be amended to define marriage as a voluntary union for life between a man and woman to the exclusion of all others, thus precluding the possibility of recognising same-sex marriages.

“In Canada it was not so simple. In a series of decisions the courts had declared that prohibitions on gay marriage, enacted by some provinces, were contrary to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Only by Parliament passing a law expressly overturning those decisions could the provincial prohibitions have been revived. This was a theoretical power only. In practice it was not a realistic option.

“Thus it was not Parliament which expressed the will of the Canadian people on this sensitive social issue, it was the courts. Surely that was wrong. Irrespective of the views one might hold on the issue, don’t the people, through their elected representatives, and at all stages, have the right to decide those issues?”

Yes, Mr Howard. The court had the right to overturn the parliament on an issue that would have involved denying the rights afforded to every human being, whether their voices are in the minority or not. Because it is not the loudest people that are the most deserving. It is, simply The People.

In Australia, where parliament obeys the whims of the loudest voices even though they are not of the majority opinion, a Human Rights Charter is essential. Because our voices may not be loud enough, but we do count.

(For you sadists, the ex-PM's wank rant can be found here at The Age website.

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