Human rights in an age of terrorism 


Human rights in an age of terrorism

Securing Territorians’ rights, via statehood and a Bill of Rights was the topic of Charles Darwin University’s (CDU) first symposium for 2007.

The public symposium, held on May 10, was convened by Allan Patience, Professor of Political Science at CDU, who says there is increasing argument that Australian’s human rights are not adequately protected.

Unlike the United States of America, Australia does not have a constitutionally enshrined Bill of Rights, or a national statutory Bill of Rights such as the United Kingdom.

In Australia it is the federal government’s view that the current combination of a democracy, underpinned by the Constitution, the common law and anti-discrimination legislation, adequately protects the human rights of Australians.

Others however would argue this does not adequately protect the human rights of Australians, particularly those in minority groups and as a result the Australian system has been attracting mounting international attention and criticism.

With the topic of statehood for the Northern Territory on the table for ongoing review by Territorians, the question has to be asked – is the Territory in a position to consider the inclusion of a Bill of Rights in any possible state constitution?

The Charles Darwin Symposium heard from a range of leading figures in the legal, constitutional and political debate over human rights, Bill of Rights, and statehood, with the day culminating in an engaging panel discussion between the different parties.

Presenters at the Symposium included James Allan, Professor of Constitutional Law at The University of Queensland, George Williams, Professor and Director of the Gilbert and Tobin Centre of Public Law at The University of New South Wales, Tom Calma, Commissioner of Federal Human Rights and Equal Opportunity, and Sue Bradley, Convener of the Statehood Steering Committee.

Visit the Symposium website for further information about the event.