The Constitutional And Statutory Bills Of Rights

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In the article, Professor Hilary Charlesworth advocates Australia adopting a formal bill of rights – a statutory one rather than a constitutional one. Charlesworth identifies the three main opposing arguments to an Australian bill of rights including that our current democracy is effective, the possibility of lawyers manipulating a bill of rights to their own advantage and finally that it would be antagonistic to the Australian democratic system.
The rest of the Professor’s argument is then focussed on rebutting the third criticism, which presents the idea that Australian democracy and the judiciary system will be undermined by granting the judiciary power in place of an elected parliament. Charlesworth systematically breaks down this criticism by examining the “legislative human rights record”, the “distortion of the judicial role” the claim presents and by finally examining “eliding constitutional and statutory bills of rights”.
The core purpose of the argument is to refute the claim that adopting a bill of rights will interfere and be in opposition with the ethos of the Australian democracy, asserting that it would actually enrich the country’s democracy.

Charlesworth chooses to found her argument on three statutory bills of rights that are currently in use in the United Kingdom, Victoria and The Australian Capital Territory. Charlesworth’s use of these sources relies on the assumption that they improved human rights in their respective
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