Legal cartoons and humorous comment (c) Paul Brennan. All rights reserved.

I decided on 101 reasons as I didn’t want to depress the entire legal profession by having 1,001.
Paul Brennan, Lawyer, Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

Sunday, June 29, 2008

# 11. They go on and on about Human Rights


When I saw the Australian Government’s budget allocated $2.8M to talk about Human Rights. My initial feeling was: Do we have to?


I was taken aback when a Human Rights lawyer activist suggested that $2.8M was doing it on the cheap.


If they are going to be picky, are they not concerned that accepting government money, tea and sandwiches may have a corrupting influence on their cause.


Would they not prefer to meet secretly but cheaply to avoid arrest, torture and unlawful detention? Then bravely rise up and wrest Human Rights from a reluctant government. There is a good argument that a government kicking in $2.8M straight away takes a lot of the fun out of the struggle.


If $2.8M is cheap, what are we going to miss? Hopefully we will not need to cut down on working together to achieve strengthened engagement, demonstrating commitments being matched at both domestic and international levels, supporting dialogue between stakeholders to highlight areas where further work will be needed. If so, bummer.


If the budget really is constrained then:
would not everybody really be pleased to find that Human Rights had been done to death (sometimes literally) in a whole load of places including the State of Victoria, the UK (more than once) and Hong Kong.
we would probably decide to “cut and paste” a draft bill from the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and what has been done in various other countries. We could offer this bill to the parliamentary process.

This does not mean that I am against Human Rights, working families, pensioners, peace, or any of that sort of thing. Nor am I against all the paraphernalia that goes with it. Such as the whole “vocal” rights industry trying to give small groups all sorts of rights, as of right. I concede that it may not be enough to allow judges to continue to apply fairness, justice, that sort of thing as they have been doing (or in some cases not doing) for millennia.


However, should it not be a fundamental freedom to speak about Human Rights for free? Or at least, not on my tab.

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