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People bash the US alot but I'd just like to say that they do some things right, and I'm going to be positive and point one out.
I wish we had a Bill of Rights in Australia.
The Aussie government has just started prosecuting journalists (and potentially anyone, though only journalists so far) using an old sedition law. This means that you can't publicly criticize or satirize the Australian government and it's policies without being considered a traitor to Australia.
Since John Howard controls both houses of parliament he can pretty much pass any law he wants. I saw in the news today that people may be able to be fined for participating in protests against his new labour laws.
If we had a Bill of Rights such as the one the US has then our right to free speech and free assembly would be guaranteed constitutionally and no prime minister could do anything about that. As it stands we only have the governor-general (the Queen's representative) to check the PM and he probably won't exercise his power snce the last (and only) time a governor-general dismissed a government the Australian public got very uneasy.
So all we can do really is stand around and say "hey... this is not the way our government's meant to work." Say it in our houses that is, coz we'll go to gaol if we say it in public.
I don't understand what Howard is trying to do. Anyone else got any ideas?
But yeah, go USA on the Bill of Rights thing. Damn fine idea (Y)
Last edited by Kahoolin; November 14th, 2005 at 04:37.
That is a very dangerous political situation you have there in Australia. Up here we also have the governor general, but if she where to use here legislative power (droit de Vaeto in fench, can't recall in english ) the assembly could simple abolish her post has it has not been used in the last 100-75 year IIRC, the same might happen for you.
Not to be an alarmist, but press and media suppression is the first sign of am extremist gouverment, anti-protest is also an alarming sign.
The Governor General should step in. I mean he controls both houses(undemocraticly), is supressing the media, and now tommorrow, half the nation is going on strike....
If it gets any worse, the Gov Gen should sack the PM......Seroiusly!:yes:
By day he fought with sword and shield.....
By night he fought with pen and parchment.....
He was....The Warrior Poet.......
Fear the ANZAC Clan!!!!!
ORDER OF THE SHADOWY FLAME!!!
Do you have uber micro...????
Yeah they say we are implementing the sedition laws because in wartime everyone has to stick together or some crap.
An Australian muslim cleric was threatened with sedition charges when he said that in the context of islam, Osama Bin Laden was a holy man, and the TV channel and newspapers that ran the story were also threatened with charges of disseminating seditious statements. The idea was that seeing as the guy was a citizen of Australia he was being a traitor and encouraging terrorists so he should be silenced. All the guy was doing was saying that in some interpretations of the Koran someone like Bin Laden is a holy warrior. Which is true, obviously, otherwise he wouldn't have followers and there wouldn't be jihad. It just freaks me out that it can be illegal to tell the truth. And the law extends to satire too, so you can't even joke about the government sucking anymore.
I am waiting till I get home from work to hear the full story about the fines for protesting thing, I'm hoping it is a media beat up and not what the government is intending. The media has been known to exaggerate for dramatic effect after all.
It is a bit worrying I agree.
Last edited by Kahoolin; November 14th, 2005 at 06:01.
I don't want a bill of rights.
The introduction of a bill of rights would represent a vote of no confidence in our legislatures and our people.
In a country such as Australia, where parliamentary democracy usually works reasonably well, we can trust the legislators. If they do not act justly, particularly if they act oppressively, they will be dismissed from office at the next election.
Further, it would politicise the courts. Should we have a bill of rights, it suddenly becomes very important whether a judge is conservative or progressive. And as judges are generally conservative, their values can be entrenched on the basic law of the land. The problem with this is that they are not elected by the people.
Also, no matter how comprehensive a bill of rights would be, to define is to limit. Limit our rights. To what are written. No doubt the rights in terms of the criminal process and property will be sufficient, but the other fundamental rights cannot be so easily expressed and enforced by the courts.
And I'm sure you've heard this one before. Any bill of rights drawn today would soon be out of date. Problems for the future will include those presented by computers, by biotechnology, nanotechnology, and the human genome project. It is unlikely that an Australian bill of rights would be able to cover, still less cope with, all of the issues of basic rights which need to be dealt with in a true charter of the people's rights. Better to leave these to Parliament, to be dealt with as the need arises.
Following on with this point, a bill of rights might entrench attitudes to rights which become out of date with the changing times or new technology. The right to bear arms, which is enshrined in the United States bill of rights, might have been appropriate at the time of the American Revolution. But it is scarcely appropriate today.
Lets not forget that a bill of rights won't guarentee these rights either. The bill of rights did not protect American communists in the 1950's.
Finally, I will add that I believe our current system is fine, and has worked for the last century. Judges and the law are protecting peoples rights right now. Our society has a much higher protection of basic rights than most of the countries of the world. This is so despite the fact that virtually every other country enjoys a constitution with beautiful bill of rights provisions. I feel that elected parliamentary democracy is a better protection for human rights, in day to day practice, than a broad statement enacted in the constitution or elsewhere. At least I would think this is so in a mature parliamentary constitutional democracy such as Australia.
Thanks for reading, this is an important issue, and I think I've covered my opinion well enough .
Sometimes I think that if someone got on the message boards here and said grass is green, then you'd argue that it's red. I'm not exactly sure why you do this, maybe you just like playing devils advocate, but you pretty much take a contrary opinion to whatever is being discussed.
If anything our Bill of Rights expands our freedoms rather than limiting them as you suggest. When you make a law guaranteeing freedom of speech, then you can't go back and make another law saying that you can't speak out against the government. Without a BoR, your government can decided to limit your freedoms as much, whenever and wherever they like.
A good Bill of Rights will protect all the basic freedoms of an individual and won't concern itself with things such as bioengineering. The right to bear arms, for instance, will never be out of date as long as there are people willing to assume full control of a country and turn it into a dictatorship. Our right to own weapons reminds our leaders that we WILL take them out of power one way or another if they decide to renig on our rights.There is honestly no way to conclusively validate this statement. It's pure conjecture based upon personal preference and contains no data for reference or facts to back it up. I respect that you believe your system of government is better, but please state these things in the form of an opinion next time instead of asserting them as fact.Finally, I will add that our current system is fine, and has worked for the last century. Judges and the law are protecting peoples rights right now. Our society has a much higher protection of basic rights than most of the countries of the world. This is so despite the fact that virtually every other country enjoys a constitution with beautiful bill of rights provisions. This proves once again, that elected parliamentary democracy is a better protection for human rights, in day to day practice, than a broad statement enacted in the constitution or elsewhere. At least this is so in a mature parliamentary constitutional democracy such as Australia.
Met the GG in person. Really nice guy, but I hardly think he would dismiss Howard. Anyways Howard would probly sack him first.If it gets any worse, the Gov Gen should sack the PM......Seroiusly
When I get annoyed at America I just think of the wonderful yanks I met in the USA, and about WW2. And Patton. Gotta love that guy.
USA is like... a mother. She has some problems, doesn't always play nice or fair, but tries to keep the house and children safe and in order. - Thats how I veiw the most people of America (bar the stuck up rednecked fools).
So while the US isn't always the best, it has consistenly been good to us. Plus Bush only has a few more years! Then we can have Hillary...
I agree with you, Robotnik, that everyone should have freedom of speech and not be censored because theyâ€™re criticising the government or political leaders of their country; however, people must also be held responsible for what they say in case it is offensive to certain individuals or groups. Here in Denmark we have constitutional freedom of speech, meaning that no one will stop anyone from saying anything; however, you can be punished if breaking what is commonly known as the â€˜racism-paragraphâ€™, meaning that you will be held responsible for public statements of a racist or otherwise offensive nature. We wonâ€™t stop anyone from making racist statements, but they will get prosecuted if someone takes offence. Just because one has the right to make offensive statements doesnâ€™t mean one should.
However, it seems very strange to me that speaking out again your government should be illegal. I mean, you do live in a democracy, right? And saying, â€˜I think this law is wrongâ€™ canâ€™t possibly be considered offensive? Iâ€™m not sure I understand this whole problem correctly; donâ€™t you have a constitution in Australia securing your basic rights? If not, I agree that is a serious problem.
Furthermore, I do believe the citizens of Australia has freedom of speech guaranteed by the UN Declaration of Human Rights, article 19.2: â€™Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice.â€™ Unless the opinions and statements expressed by various individuals and/or journalists are disrespectful to the rights or reputations of others, or posing a threat to national security or public order, health or morals, censoring them would actually be against the Declaration of Human Rights, which has been ratified by the Australian government.
"Girls are nice and cuddly on the outside, and freaky on the inside." ~ Lost Nemesis.
As an American, I can tell you that I appreciate the Bill of Rights. Despite a lot of the problems with our governement, at least we still hold that sacred.
As to some of the other posts, I would fear that any government, if not strictly limited in its ability to infringe on free speesh, runs the risk of censorship. The problem is that often the slope is quite slippery, and while we can all agree that certain freedoms must be abridged in the interest of safety (i.e you aren't allowed to falsely yell "fire" in a crowded theater), it is easy to use that rationale to censor all kinds of speech that is considered "dangerous" by the government (i.e. talk againt the government or its policies). Even in the case of " racist" comments, as Greph pointed out, we in america protect the rights of racists to speak their minds, even though almost no one agrees with them and finds it repulsive. It is far more dangerous to allow government to "approve" speech than it is to ignore idiots who can speak their minds freely.
The basis of the U.S. Bill of Rights is essentially a codified DISTRUST of government. That's what makes it so cool !
Marion: You're not the man I knew ten years ago.
Indiana: It's not the years, honey, it's the mileage.
For the last time, there are
NO FEMALE SPACE MARINES!!!!!
Grephaun, robotnik has made it unclear. The sedition laws he is talking about are not what he thinks. We cannot be arrested for calling the prime minister a ****head. We cannot be arrested for saying our government sucks, and that we should start a revolution. I don't know why (well, I do, scaremonger propaganda), but many Australians think that the new laws stop this kind of free speech.
All they do is allow people to be arrested and convicted if they promote violence.