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Monday, 16 November 2009
Page: 11812

Mrs MIRABELLA (6:43 PM) —I rise today to comment on the government’s proposed moves towards a bill of rights. As a member of the Liberal Party, a party founded as the champion of individual rights and liberties against the state—and we have seen since the formation of the Liberal Party a growing state interfering with people’s rights—it is of great concern. I have received several petitions, which are not in the official form accepted by the parliament, from locals concerned about a proposed bill of rights. We have seen what has happened in Victoria, where there is a similar bill of rights regime. We have seen it being abused by criminals and rarely used for the greater good. But of great concern is why the government has not explained why a bill of rights is necessary. What deficiencies are there in existing laws? We have seen countries that can only be described as totalitarian regimes with bills of rights, but they in fact do not guarantee people’s rights. We do not want to see a shift of power from elected representatives, who are responsible to the people, to unelected judges. The community is already angry at the judgments being given out to very serious criminals that do not reflect community standards, and there will be a shift of power to judges with a bill of rights. We have seen that, when the Left is in power and they introduce a bill of rights or similar legislation, there is in fact a limiting of liberty, not an extension of it.