AUSTRALIAN COUNCIL FOR THE DEFENCE OF GOVERNMENT SCHOOLS - D.O.G.S.
PRESS RELEASE 36#.
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A BILL OF RIGHTS AND SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE
The following is the text of a letter sent to the Age Newspaper _ and Surprise!, Surprise!
It was not published!
Letters to the Editor,
15 May 2001
Professor Williams' article ( Opinion 14.05.2001) discusses a Bill of Rights, the Australian Constitution, Andrew Inglis Clark, Isaac Isaacs, Hneyr Bournes Higgins, yet fails to mention Section 116 (religious freedom clause). This makes very interesting but incomplete reading.
In the 1970s and 1980s I was the leader of religious freedom and public school supporters who fought to get into the High Court and finally attempt to uphold Section 116 (DOGS case). I now find Williams' lack of reference to Section 116 and our disgraceful experience not surprising, but par for the course.
What happened to Section 116 at the hands of High Court judges, with the exception of Justice Murphy, exposes a grave weakness in Professor Williams' proposition for a Bill of Rights. In the DOGS case the majority six High Court judges (Justice Murphy dissenting) read Section 116 down and out of the Constitution. If the majority High Court judgements were honestly and consistently followed, Section 116 becomes a sword aginst religious freedom and not a shield for its protection.
The key people who fought for religious freedom in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s by judicious action brought about the defeat of the 1988 Referendum to widen the religious freedom clause to the States.
Everything that has happened since the 1960s would only cause myself and others to work for the defeat of any attempt by Professor WIlliams to introduce a Bill of Rights. We simply do not have the right people in judicial office.
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|Last modified:Monday, 25 April 2005|