Human rights in Australia are protected in more than one way, since it does not have a much defined way to protect like other democracies of the world. Firstly, consider the Australian constitution which was framed in 1890. At the time of framing it, a bill of rights was initially proposed but not for being accepted. And yet there are some explicit ways in which human rights are protected for the individual. There were five sections identified in the constitution. The first section is that of the “right to vote”. The “right to vote” is section 41 of the constitution which protects the individual right to vote. This is a very explicit right for the individual that ensures any individual who is a citizen of the country would be able to exercise their vote irrespective of background, sex, etc. This ensures their right to keep political freedom. The second section is Section 51(xxxi) which offers protection in the cases of “property acquisition on unjust terms”. Section 80 of the constitution offers protection for the individual when it comes to “trial by jury”. Similarly, Section 116 offers protection for the rights to religion. People can follow whatever religion they want and can do so without any oppression according to this guarantee under the constitution. Section 117 for instance protects individuals from any form of discrimination concerning their “State of Residency”. The “State of Residency” should not in any way to create a barrier for the person according to this protection under the constitution. In more current times, it was assessed by the court that individuals would need to have more rights provided to them, which has been taken up into serious considered by the court. This was especially the case in the context of individuals and political issues. Hence, a quasi-constitutional common law of rights exists as Meagher argues.
Some amount of protection is also guaranteed under the common law of Australia. Now the common law in the country was drafted based on the common law of the United Kingdom. Therefore, the human rights law that were incorporated in the 1215 Magna Carta of English law also becomes applicable in the case of the Australian law. Human rights are present to provide, protect and also regulate the freedom of the citizens of the country and to ensure that the power of the King or the government to the citizen can be checked or limited when necessary. Common law is often created in judgements in the court. Hence some of the protections which came into existence in Australia came from the judgments made by judges in the context of human rights cases. Human rights cases are handled under common law and the judgement made will then serve as a precedent for further cases. For example, in court when there is an unfair trial, it could so happen that the judge might bar the trial from proceeding. Now this is protection of human rights. Similarly, in the case of some interpretation that could result in an unfair trial, it is observed that common law applications would tend towards human rights protection only. Also, it is noticed that the common law in itself can be curtailed if necessary. Its interpretations can be expanded based on the legislation that is passed in the Parliament. Once again, one and more legal powers come together to protect the human rights of citizens in the country, regardless of the presence of a bill of rights. For instance, the Summary Offences Act of 1953 was formulated for the purpose of ensuring the law officers and judges to recognize equality.
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