I like to wait to see how things turn out… but we had the better constitution

There were lots of strange claims surrounding the recent report into whether we should have a Bill of Rights in Australia.  The strangest of these were those which compared us unfavourably to the United States.  In the U.S., it was claimed, the citizens enjoy the benefits of a vast array of rights which are completely and totally denied to Australians.

It is sad that we seem to be so keenly aware of the United States’ Bill of Rights and yet so ignorant of history.  There are such excellent examples of how the Australian system afforded much better protection of our rights than were ever recognised in the U.S.

In the 1950s, for example, the Menzies Government passed legislation to outlaw the Communist Party of Australia.  In quite an amazing judgement, the High Court of Australia declared that the provisions of the Communist Party Dissolution Act 1950 were invalid in whole.  Menzies tried to get around this with a referendum but failed.

Compare this with a similar situation in the United States.  The Communist Control Act 1954 was passed and several other Acts were updated to provide more legitimacy for what had become McCarthyism.  Despite several cases going before the Supreme Court, SCOTUS never protected the rights of citizens to hold pro-Communist/Socialist beliefs.

The U.S. system works by defining rights — despite handwaving in the 9th the fact that it’s not limiting the number of rights apparently held by citizens.  In Australia, we don’t.  We have a judicial system which uses a commonsensical attitude which prevents legislatures from ‘gaming the rules’.  As McCarthyism demonstrated, the same was not true in the U.S.  Why, then, we would idolise the Bill of Rights completely baffles me.


2 thoughts on “I like to wait to see how things turn out… but we had the better constitution

  1. Pingback: If you could make everybody poor just so you could be rich… Greens policy part 3! « Only The Sangfroid

  2. Pingback: Walking in the countryside it seems that the winds have stopped… Could you vote for the @SecularParty? #auspol | Only The Sangfroid

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s