The Australian Christian Lobby urged the Queensland Government to re-think its plan to Americanise Queensland politics by transferring power from the Parliament to the Courts through a proposed Bill of Rights.
“Elected people, not judges, should be making public policy,” ACL Qld director Wendy Francis said.
“As we have seen in countries such as the USA, Human Rights Bills, by their very nature, transfer power from parliaments to unelected judges, having the effect of undermining the democratic processes,” Ms Francis said.
Ms Francis was responding to the announcement by Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk at the Queensland Labor Conference on Saturday that a Human Rights Bill was to be introduced.
“Any human rights legislation will affect every Queenslander and given the Parliamentary Committee stated in its report ‘the committee was unable to agree on whether it would be appropriate and desirable to introduce human rights legislation to Queensland’, we would implore the government to reconsider its intention.”
“The Australian public is rightly concerned about the Americanisation of our legal system where small groups of unelected judges gain the power to decide contested and controversial social issues.
“This is why there was widespread condemnation of the proposal to implement a Federal Human Rights Act in 2009.
“Our own High Court has said that freedom to manifest one’s religion or beliefs is of the essence to a free society, and yet the Victorian Charter of Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006 hugely detracts from the religious freedom protections required by international law,” Ms Francis said.
Quoting from a submission to the inquiry by Mark Fowler from CLEAR International, Ms Francis said, “Freedom to manifest one’s religion or beliefs is of the essence of a free society, and yet the Victorian Charter of Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006 effectively weakens this guarantee of religious freedom by allowing that religious freedom may be subject to ‘reasonable’ limitations.”
“The Victorian Charter also omits the rights of parents to ensure the religious and moral education of their children,” she said.
“The right of individuals to formulate and articulate their beliefs, to act upon their consciences and to associate with fellow believers is a fundamental hallmark of a just, open and egalitarian society,” Ms Francis said
“While religious freedom is an independently protected right, the circumstances underpinning religious freedom claims often also enliven other freedoms, such as associational freedoms and freedom of speech.
“In many respects religious freedom is the ultimate test of a society’s willingness to recognise the liberty of the individual.”