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Greens announce plans for a Charter of Rights

Media Release
Richard Di Natale 1 Aug 2017

As Australians, we pride ourselves on enjoying so many freedoms, yet our laws do not adequately reflect, or protect them. Today the Australian Greens Leader, Dr Richard Di Natale and Attorney General Spokesperson, Senator Nick McKim announced their plan to table, debate and vote on Charter of Rights legislation in this term of parliament.  

Australia is the only western democracy that does not protect the basic rights and freedoms of its people in either legislation or the constitution, said Senator Di Natale.

“So many of our freedoms have been hard won, and others are still being fought for. We need to put them into law so they are not so easily wound back.

“We want to see a broad range of rights protected, including digital rights, economic rights, the right to a clean environment and conventional civil and legal rights.  A Charter of Rights will give us all the opportunity to shape our own lives and help us to live with dignity and self-respect.”

These are everyone’s rights and this will be a charter for all of us. We want the Australian people to have their say, which is why we are moving to hold an inquiry into the charter before we table the legislation, said Senator McKim.

“There are many threats to people’s rights and we want to do all we can to protect them. The cashless welfare card discriminates against people based on their Aboriginality and where they live. The Adani coalmine threatens people’s right to a clean environment. People everywhere are having their right to shelter being undermined.

“Without a Charter of Rights it is too easy for the Liberals, Labor and corporations to take freedoms away, to trample on our rights and liberties as we have seen happen all too often in the recent past.

“The metadata laws, the disastrous Northern Territory intervention, and the ongoing torture of refugees and asylum seekers on Manus Island and Nauru are three compelling examples of how easily human rights can be stripped away.

“With mendacious ministers like Peter Dutton trying to give himself God-like powers to exclude and deport people from Australia, we owe it to ourselves to stand up and defend our rights and freedoms.

“This is why the Australian Greens will table, debate and vote on Charter of Rights legislation in the current term of Parliament.

“We will refer the Charter to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights to determine the best model, as well as the rights that should be included.”

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