Constitutional Recognition Of Australia

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Constitutional Recognition of Indigenous Australians: Avenues Toward Unity A. Introduction Indigenous culture is central to Australia’s national identity, and is fundamental in more than forty thousand years of Australian history. But even today Indigeous Australians are not formally recognised within the Constitution, Australia’s most important legal document, outside of discriminatory references. The two main sections of contention within the Constitution are the race power (s 51(xxvi)) and the provision to exclude races from voting in s 25. With claims that these sections are inherently racist and discriminatory, come suggestions for a range of actions the Federal Government can take to ensure Indigenous recognition in the Constitution.…show more content…
Introduction The High Court’s approach to the protection of rights is through common law, with state and federal parliaments also playing an important role. As such, Australia has not implemented a bill of rights, claiming that Australian’s rights are adequately protected by these institutions. While property rights and free speech are generally accepted within this framework, fundamental human rights and the rights of minorities are often overlooked in a democracy focused on the majority vote, creating an imbalance between society and the individual. B. Protection of rights within current framework The Constitution was framed with the view that “individual rights were best left to the protection of the common law and the supremacy of the Parliament”. The protection of rights within the Constitution, regardless of whether rights are implicit or express, relies on at least two institutions: the Parliaments of federal and state governments; and the courts. Through responsible government and law-making, the parliaments of federal and state protect rights through postitve and negative channels. Postive protection of rights encompasses the passing of laws to protect rights that have not been previously covered by law, e.g. anti-discrimination laws. In contrast, negative rights protection is where the parliament’s restrict themselves from making laws that would infringe on existing…show more content…
Conclusion The current approach to protecting rights through the courts and parliaments is weighed heavily in favour of societal interests. Modern democracy no longer represents this type of power being favoured toward parliaments whom are elected periodically, whom often fail to act on nor recognise the needs of minority groups so as not to risk popularity or the majority vote. As a democratic nation, Australia needs to move forward with establishing protections for it’s citizens with a central focus on the Australian frame of reference for fundamental human rights. While a bill of rights is certainly not the miracle answer to modern day defect democracy, it is a step in the right direction to create a better sense of balance between society and the individual in affording personal rights to citizens. Furthermore, a bill of rights will elevate Australia’s position amongst comparable countries whom have already accepted the democratic and legislative advantages of defining fundamental rights for their citizens. The bill of rights debate is one that will only gain momentum in the years to

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