Australia has relied on Common Law and Westminster law to protect our perceived freedoms. In truth, we have no freedoms except those granted to us by the government. These “freedoms” can be taken away by an Act of Parliament, such as 18c.
We propose enshrining the following in the Constitution, subject to vote by referendum.
3.1. The exercise of rights established herein shall only be valid so long as the actions do not contravene the Australian Constitution.
3.2. All Citizens have a right to natural justice. The provisions in a Constitution shall be an expansion of that right and shall not be interpreted as a restriction on fundamental human rights1.
3.2. With every right bestowed by the Constitution there shall be a complementary responsibility.
3.3. The exercise of individual rights shall be constrained by the necessity not to infringe the rights of others.
3.4. Fundamental human rights1 shall be protected throughout the entire society and in particular throughout the justice system.
1Definition: Human rights are defined in different ways.
Simple definitions that are often given include:
- the recognition and respect of peoples dignity
- a set of moral and legal guidelines that promote and protect a recognition of our values, our identity and ability to ensure an adequate standard of living
- the basic standards by which we can identify and measure inequality and fairness
- those rights associated with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
3.5. Whoever exercises a function of the state shall respect fundamental human rights and contribute to their realization.
3.6. Any limitation of fundamental human rights shall require a legal basis. The primary source of that legal basis shall be this Constitution and the People voting at referendum.
3.7. Any limitation of a fundamental right shall be justified by public interest, or serve for the protection of the fundamental rights of other persons.
3.8. Limitations of fundamental rights shall be proportionate to the goals pursued.
3.9. The essence of fundamental rights shall be inviolable.
3.10 Human dignity shall be respected and protected.
3.11. In every case the exercise of any right shall be subject to the overriding requirement not to interfere with the rights of others.
3.12. In every case the exercise of any right shall be subject to the tenets of the Constitution.
Equality before the Law
3.13. All Australians shall be equal before the law.
This means that offences committed by a judge, a politician or a vagrant shall be treated in the same manner as offences committed by any ordinary Citizen.
Protection Against Discrimination
3.14. Except as provided in the Constitution no Australian Citizen shall suffer detrimental discrimination on grounds of origin, race, gender, sexuality, age, language, social position, lifestyle, religious beliefs1, philosophical or political convictions, or because of a physical or mental disability.
1 Religious practices that are contrary to the tenets of the Constitution are illegal.
3.15. Specification of certain traits for the purposes of identification shall not be regarded as discrimination.
3.16. Men and women shall have equal rights. All legislation shall ensure gender equality in law and in fact. Men and women shall have the right to equal pay for work of equal value.
3.17. Legislation shall provide for measures to minimise disadvantage affecting disabled people.
Protection against Arbitrariness
3.18. Every person shall have the right to be treated by organs of the State as an individual without arbitrariness and in good faith.
Right to Personal Freedom
3.19. Every person shall have the right to personal liberty, particularly to physical and mental integrity, and to freedom of movement.
3.20. Persons found by a court to have broken Australian law or to have behaved in a manner contrary to this Constitution shall be liable to lose their freedom and certain other rights and shall be subjected to punishment.
3.21. Although torture and any other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment of persons shall be prohibited: for the purposes of this provision; incarceration, deprivation of liberty, confinement to a cell, no access to entertainment, hard work, etc. ordered by a Court as punishment for crimes committed against society shall not be deemed inhuman or cruel.
3.22. Children shall have the right to special protection of their integrity and to encouragement of their development. Children shall exercise their rights themselves to the extent of their capacity to discern but parents shall remain responsible for the actions of their children until the children reach the age of 18 years.
3.23. Elderly Citizens and the infirm shall have a right to special protection and respect.
Right to Privacy
3.23. All persons shall have the right to receive respect for their private and family life, home, and the secrecy of the mail and telecommunications.
3.24. Law enforcement agencies shall have the right to seek Supreme Court approval to intercept private communications in specific cases.
3.25. All persons shall have the right to be protected against the unlawful use of personal data.
Freedom of Religion and Philosophy
3.26. The freedom of religion and philosophy shall be guaranteed except that practices contrary to the tenets of the Constitution shall be illegal.
3.27. All persons shall have the right to choose or to change their religion or philosophical convictions freely, and to express them alone or in community with others except that practices contrary to the tenets of the Constitution shall be illegal.
This means that it is illegal to preach the forced conversion of persons from one religion to another, or to order the death of anyone who chooses to leave a religion.
3.28. No person shall be forced to join or belong to a religious community, to participate in a religious act, to observe religious practices, to listen to religious noise, or to follow religious teachings. Freedom from organized religion shall be guaranteed.
3.29. Religious teachings that are contrary to the Constitution shall be illegal.
This means it is illegal to preach the overthrow of our democratic way of life, the rule of law, and common Australian traditions and practices.
Freedom of Opinion and Information
3.30. Australian Citizens shall have a right to be informed. They shall have a right to know. This places an obligation on politicians and bureaucrats to operate in an open and transparent manner. This also places an obligation on media outlets to be informative and to present balanced coverage of issues. Agencies of the State shall operate in secrecy only when approved by the Courts as prescribed in this Constitution.
3.31. All persons shall have the right to form, express, and disseminate their opinions freely except that inciting violence shall be illegal.
3.32. All persons shall have the right to receive information freely, to gather it from generally accessible sources, and to disseminate it except that it shall be illegal to disseminate information likely to incite violence or other illegal activity.
Freedom of the Media
3.33. The freedom of the press, radio and television and of other forms of public broadcasting of productions and information shall be guaranteed. There shall be an obligation on the media to inform and to present issues in a balanced, honest and truthful manner. Special interest media presenting a limited or one-sided view shall provide that the special interest is prominently displayed at the beginning and at the end of each and every article of content. Ethical standards shall be set by society voting at referenda and plebiscites.
Right to Education
3.34. The People shall determine acceptable norms of education as necessary.
3.35. Access to sufficient primary and secondary secular education at public expense shall be guaranteed except as provided for in the Constitution.
3.36. For all persons, sufficient primary and secondary education shall be compulsory except that those with mental disability may be exempt.
3.37. Curricula for primary and secondary schooling shall not include religious instruction but shall include instruction on the Constitution, the rule of law, honesty, fairness, respect, understanding, compassion, responsibility and creative endeavour.
3.38. Comparative studies of religions shall only be conducted in tertiary institutions when representatives of at least three mainstream religions simultaneously participate in the instruction.
Freedom of Science
3.39. The freedom of scientific research and teaching shall be guaranteed unless it contravenes ethical standards of Australian society. Standards shall be set by society voting at referenda and plebiscites.
Freedom of Artistic Expression
3.40. The freedom of artistic expression shall be guaranteed unless it contravenes moral standards. Moral standards shall be set by society at referenda and plebiscites.
Freedom of Assembly
3.41. Subject to the Basic Laws, the freedom of non-violent assembly shall be guaranteed.
3.42. Subject to the Basic Laws, Citizens shall have the right to organize non-violent assemblies, to participate in them or to stay away from them.
3.43. It shall be illegal to preach or advocate violence at any assembly.
Freedom of Association
3.44. Except for activities contrary to the tenets of this Constitution every citizen shall have the right to form associations, to join or to belong to them, and to participate in their activities.
3.45. Directly, indirectly or by any other means, no citizen shall be forced to join or to belong to a union or association.
Freedom of Domicile
3.46. Australian Citizens shall have the right to leave and to return to Australia.
Protection Against Expulsion
3.47. Australian citizens shall not be expelled from Australia except that, if they are convicted of serious crimes against the Constitution such as treason or if they advocate;
- replacement of Australian sovereignty with sectarian sovereignty,
- replacement of this Constitution with sectarian doctrine, or
- replacement of Australian law with sectarian law;
they shall be required to migrate to a country more sympathetic to their views.
3.48. Australian Citizens and residents shall be liable for extradition to a foreign authority following due process.