Page 210 - Week 01 - Thursday, 16 February 2006

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MR STANHOPE: Absolutely. Of course, Dick Cheney is a classic example of the importance of the right to bear arms. I hope he is frisked before he gets through customs if he ever comes to Australia again. I have a sneaky suspicion that there are members of the Republican Party in the Congress with the US Bill of Rights tattooed across their chests and on their biceps.

The Conservatives in the United Kingdom have no issue with the UK Human Rights Act. Conservative parties across the whole of Europe are supporting and campaign for the European Human Rights Act. There is no difficulty in New Zealand with the Liberals there around the support for a human rights act. But here in Australia, and of course here within the ACT as they pander to the national position and await their instructions from the faceless men and women of their organisation, they will have no truck with human rights or a bill of rights.

It is quite anachronistic that of all the strong Western democracies, the one in which the conservative side of politics continues to rail against a recognition of fundamental human rights and their importance is Australia. It is anachronistic and it is a commentary on the meaning of liberalism and the way in which members of the Liberal Party in Australia respond these days to liberalism and what liberalism really does mean in terms of the rights of the individual. It is quite interesting to me that this sort of wild look comes into the eyes these days of conservatives in this place in relation to anything to do with human rights. We see it time and time again. Having said that, I think the bill of rights in the ACT, the Human Rights Act, is here to stay. It will be replicated around Australia.

Mr Mulcahy: Queensland; will they be following you shortly?

MR STANHOPE: It will in my lifetime. It certainly will; there is no doubt about it. Victoria have moved to adopt it, and I know there are two other jurisdictions on the path. It will inexorably move across the nation and certainly one day we will have the privilege of living in a country that has embraced nationally a human rights act; there is no doubt about that. I thank the Assembly for its support of this bill today.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill agreed to in principle.

Leave granted to dispense with the detail stage.

Bill agreed to.

Workers Compensation Amendment Bill 2005 (No 2)

Debate resumed from 24 November 2005, on motion by Ms Gallagher:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MR MULCAHY (Molonglo) (11.57): Although the opposition will support this bill it does have some concern that there is scope for interference by “authorised representatives”, as they are defined. We are obviously concerned about the costs of

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