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Human Rights in an Age of (Government Created) Terror

CHOICES (by Julian Burnside QC)

The sad fact is that neither truth nor moral arguments get much oxygen in Australia these days. If the Universal Declaration of Human Rights were being debated now, Australia would oppose it.

We have fallen a long way. We have squandered the legacy of our past. Our prime minister, who regards himself as walking in the footsteps of Robert Menzies and calls himself a Christian, is in fact immoral, hypocritical, un-Christian and – as an enthusiastic proponent of mandatory detention – guilty of crimes against humanity when judged by his own laws. He must take personal responsibility for the Pacific Solution, which is the most disgraceful and cynical enterprise ever undertaken by an Australian Government.

Mr Ruddock continues to wear the badge of Amnesty International, in the face of sustained criticism from that organisation; he chants the Liberal mantra of family values while having locked families of innocent people behind a 9000 volt ‘courtesy fence’ at Baxter. He pretends to be Christian, while the leaders of all the Christian churches in Australia condemn his policies. He is responsible for instructing counsel to argue that we do not have solitary confinement in detention centres, but if we do the courts must not interfere, that we must send terrified people back to torture or death; that we can lock them up for the rest of their lives if need be. In the epilogue to his six-volume A History of Australia, Manning Clark wrote:

This generation has a chance to be wiser than previous generations. They can make their own history. With the end of the domination by the straitener, the enlargeners of life now have the chance … It is the task of the historian and the myth-maker to tell the story of how the world came to be as it is. It is the task of the prophet to tell the story of what might be. The historian presents the choice: history is a book of wisdom for those making the choice.

Australia has made a choice with terrible consequences. We have chosen lies instead of honesty; self-interest ahead of social conscience; hypocrisy instead of decency. We have chosen a government that shows contempt for human rights, while posturing as a champion of family values; a government that has made us relaxed and comfortable only by anaesthetising the national conscience.

From Watching Brief: Reflections on Human Rights, Law and Justice

by Julian Burnside QC.

Has much changed since Julian Burnside wrote this book, a collection of essays on Human Rights, Law and Justice in 2007.  Sure there has been a change of government (or, more precise, a change of parliament).  We have a new (non-democratic, thrice un-elected) Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, and an unelected Foreign Minister, Bob Carr.  But are they doing anything much, really different to what the previous Howard Parliament and Administration did do, or will do?

James Johnson, Independent Federal Candidate for Lalor 

About JamesJohnsonCHR

Constitutional Human Rights Lawyer & Independent Federal Candidate for Lalor (Commonwealth of Australia). Advocating Smaller, Open Governments with Lower Taxes and Smaller, Faster, Better Bureaucracy. Also Advocating Justice & Politics Reforms. Defending Families & Civil Rights and Freedoms. I also blog at


5 thoughts on “Human Rights in an Age of (Government Created) Terror

  1. Reblogged this on NonviolentConflict.

    Posted by nonviolentconflict | June 30, 2012, 12:03 am
  2. This seems not issue about human rights, or legal right.
    Reality is the world is over populated; Australia itself is at breaking point, mass extinction of Australian wildlife species from habitat loss, remembering we ourselves are not an indigenous species.
    Systemic civil rights breaches by the Australian judiciaries and bureaucracies, looming towards civil war.
    Moving the problem from one place to another is not a solution.
    The real problem is breach of integrity and trust by government worldwide.
    Question is how to enforce integrity and trust from treacherous rouge governments, like Syria and so many others as needed in the past, present and future.

    Posted by Steven Wickenden | June 30, 2012, 4:16 am


  1. Pingback: All the Attorney-General’s Men. Corrupt VCAT Show Trial J134/2011 | LAWYEROCRACY on Trial - January 21, 2013

  2. Pingback: All the Attorney-General’s Men. Corrupt VCAT Show Trial J134/2011 | Friends of James Johnson - January 21, 2013

  3. Pingback: All the Attorney-General’s Men. Corrupt VCAT Show Trial J134/2011 « Profncampbell's Blog - January 21, 2013

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