Charter of frights

photos-from-finding-nemo_1226305861328Marlin: I promised I’d never let anything happen to him.
Dory: Hmm. That’s a funny thing to promise.
Marlin: What?
Dory: Well, you can’t never let anything happen to him. Then nothing would ever happen to him. Not much fun for little Harpo.

Australian Policy Online’s new webazine, Inside Story, has a piece by me on the Charter, covering similar ground to my October conference paper, but with lots more on poor old Justice Cosgrove and coverage of more recent Charter developments. (Subscribe to their e-mail newsletter to potentially win a $250 book voucher from Readings!)

The title of my article – an obvious pun but not all that prevalent – probably won’t endear me to the human rights lobby. But, as those who actually listened to my conference speech would well know, there are two sorts of frights I’m referring to: fear of the Charter, and fear of that very fear. it’s the latter that I think bedevils Victoria’s Charter and has led to some unfortunate gaps in its drafting and operation. Funny how some folk think that that’s an anti-Charter argument, or even an anti-human-rights one. The movement in favour of human rights charters is, I think, a lot bigger than the Charter and those who drafted it and are involved in its implementation. The latter group need to let their baby grow up. The above Finding Nemo quote about an overprotective father didn’t make the cut at Inside Story. It’s tricky, in human rights essays, to avoid an ending that is either too smug or too glib.

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