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Concern over bill of rights



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P A R L I A M E N T OF A U S T R A L I A

H O U S E OF R E P R E S E N T A T I V E S

P.O. B O X 1 2 0 6 , B O O R A G O O N . W .A . 6 1 54 SUITE 8, GATEWAY MELVILLE CITY CENTRE BOORAGOON TEL. (09) 364 5554

P ET E R S H A C K , M .P . FEDERAL MEMBER FOR TANGNEY SHADO W MINISTER FOR EMPLOYMENT AND INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS AND RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUTH AFFAIRS

MEDIA RELEASE. 21 AUGUST 1985. T72/85

"CONCERN OVER BILL OF RIGHTS"

The recent announcement by the Federal Attorney-General, Mr Lionel Bowen, that the Hawke Government will proceed with its Bill of Rights is a matter of concern for the Tangney community according to Mr Peter Shack, the Federal Member for Tangney.

Mr Shack said that if this Bill becomes law the rights of all State Governments and Local Governments as well as the rights of individuals will come under direct attack from the Federal Government.

"In pushing for a Bill of Rights, it is clearly the Government's intention to destroy the independence of the States and provide unparalleled opportunities for Federal interference in State and Local Government Affairs," Mr Shack said.

"We could see the end of Local Government as we know it, and Councils should be particularly concerned about this attempt by the Hawke Government to control and influence activities at the local level," he said.

Mr Shack pointed out that in the Explanatory Memorandum issued with the Bill of Rights, the new enforcement agency, the Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission would be given "...power to investigate the acts and practices of Commonwealth

and State departments and statutory authorities, and Local Government Councils."

"Coupled with its power to '...examine Commonwealth, State, and Local Government Councils’ this would make the new Commission an intolerably powerful body," Mr Shack added.

"This Commission of unelected bureaucrats will have power to compel State and Local Government employees to appear before it to answer questions and produce documents or face the penalties of fines or imprisonment.

"Persons summoned to appear in this way will also be denied the automatic right of legal representation," he said.

"Any suggestion that this Bill represents a watered down version of earlier proposals can be dismissed," Mr Shack said. "We are seeing a deliberate attempt by the Federal Government to . dominate State and Local Government and end Federalism as we know it."

"This draconian legislation must be opposed as it offers the potential for far greater abuses of the rights of the individual than those which it is supposed to protect," Mr Shack concluded.

Contact: Delys Newman (09) 364 5554