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Wednesday, 24 October 1984
Page: 2414

(Question No. 1051)

Senator Jones asked the Attorney-General, upon notice, on 23 August 1984:

(1) Can the Attorney-General indicate when the proposed Australian Bill of Rights legislation will come before Parliament.

(2) Will that legislation, when passed by Parliament, override any existing State and Federal legislation which intrudes upon the rights of individual Australians.

(3) Will the implementation of that legislation require any alterations to the Constitution.

Senator Gareth Evans —The answer to the honourable senator's question is as follows:

(1) The Australian Bill of Rights Bill will not be introduced into Parliament this year. I hope to be in a position to introduce the Bill in 1985.

(2) The content of the proposed Bill of Rights is not yet settled, but it is contemplated that it will bind governments at all levels, Federal, State and local, but will not regulate the actions of private individuals and corporations . Until the final form of the Bill is settled, it would be premature to embark upon a detailed description of what impact it will have on existing legislation. It is intended however, that ample opportunity will be given for public comment and debate on the Bill after it is introduced into the Parliament.

(3) No. In the form in which the Bill is to be introduced, it will draw upon the existing constitutional powers of the Parliament. I would hope that it would be possible to entrench the Bill of Rights by a constitutional amendment after some years' experience of the working of the legislation.