"George Brandis wasn’t the only one resorting to hyperbole.Your reports of mixed fact and opinion under headlines featuring” enormous problems,” “chaos,” and “poisoned chalice” on the “human rights lobby”, its alleged political agenda to obliterate the Howard cultural legacy and its plans to change our system of government, were over the top.The Australian’s “Right to Know” banner only makes sporadic appearances these days but its interest in rights clearly stops short of any meaningful embrace of broader internationally accepted rights and ways to best protect them. Victoria and the ACT don’t seem to be on another planet despite adopting comparable schemes to the dastardly proposals put forward by Brennan. By the way 16 of the 31 proposals were for protections other than by way of a Human Rights Act. What’s the problem again with initiatives that Paul Kelly acknowledges would bring Australia “into line with international human rights norms”? You give little hope to those of us who are confident we can better define and protect rights and sort out the wrinkles and problems on the way through."
Monday, October 12, 2009
Hyperbole and the human rights debate
The Sydney Morning Herald in its editorial was sceptical about actions recommended in the Brennan Report to protect human rights. But the Weekend Australian was in a class of its own slamming the report in two front page leads, this by Paul Kelly and another by Kelly and Chris Merritt. Kelly labelled "hyperbole" the claim by Opposition Attorney General that the report threatened "the most important de facto alteration to Australia's system of government in our history. " I sent a letter to the editor on Saturday, but no dear reader it's not published today. However to the editor's credit the one letter that made it, written by a manager of a legal service for the homeless, rightly took issue with another claim that a Human Rights Act would be a triumph for elites, arguing instead it would be "a victory for the most marginalised and disadvantaged members of our community."My unpublished contribution: