There’s been some controversy about the Charter angle of the Australian governance stream of this coming weekend’s 2020 summit. But what have the Summitteers been told?
The 2020 website offers them some preliminary information, in the form of rambling ‘Summit topics’ – the governance version bears a disturbing to Les Murray’s ‘poetic’ draft of a new preamble for the Constitution – and a ‘background paper‘, alas actually a set of dreaded Powerpoint slides.
The only explicit reference to the rights issue is half of slide 13 (on ‘human rights and civil responsibilities’):
Meh. That’s a large slab of history, but omitting a lot of more interesting developments, such as Australia signing the ICCPR, Canada, NZ, Hong Kong, South Africa and the UK adopting human rights laws and the High Court’s freedom of expression cases. The worst bit is the last bit, which ignores three of the four years of the ACT’s HRA experience and the entire recently finished first year of legislative scrutiny in Victoria (with its record of detailed statements of compatibility.) A cut-and-paste job from 2005?
Surely, it’s the actual features of the ACT and Victorian laws – the rights, reasonable limits, interpretation, declarations, obligations and sovereignty – and some sense of how they’re traveling that the Summiteers need to know about?