Tuesday, July 31, 2007

ACT Chief Minister - Haneef 'shows need' for Bill of Rights

The Canberra Times reports: "Former terror suspect Mohamed Haneef would not have been treated so "shabbily" if Australia had an ACT-style Bill of Human Rights, according to Chief Minister Jon Stanhope.

The ACT introduced the country's first Bill of Rights the ACT Human Rights Act in 2004.

Mr Stanhope said such a Bill would have given better protection to Dr Haneef were it enacted nationally. A Bill of Rights upheld the rule of law, human rights and the separation of government and the judiciary, he said.

Mr Stanhope said his main concern about the "regrettable" Haneef affair was the interference of the Federal Government in the judicial process, through the cancellation of Dr Haneef's visa."

Australia is the only western country without a national human rights act or equivalent. In 2006 New Matilda launched a campaign to promote a Private Member's Bill to bring forward draft legislation (a draft bill can be read at the New Matilda site).

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