Unlike many jurisdictions internationally, neither Australia nor the states operate under a bill of rights - with the exception of Victoria and the ACT. While there is currently an investigation into 'traditional' freedoms at the instigation of the Commonwealth Attorney-General, there is no sign that a bill of rights will be coming any time soon at the national level. Indeed it is Coalition policy to do away with the human rights framework. The Prime Minister is reported as having said: 'Bills of rights are left-wing tricks to allow judges to change society in ways a parliament would never dare.'
But the question of a bill of rights can be framed a little differently in the Queensland context. Perhaps in recognition of that, following the 2015 Queensland election the government has indicated that it will seek advice from the Department of Justice and Attorney-General to allow 'public discussion' on the question of a bill, or charter, of rights. I think a public discussion on a bill of rights in Queensland is important and overdue. In this post I explain why.