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Australia AG rejects bill of rights as obstacle in terror fight

[JURIST] An Australian bill of rights would frustrate the government's ability to deal with terrorism and other threats, Australia's attorney general told a meeting of Australia's Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC) [official website] Monday. Australian Attorney General Phillip Ruddock [official profile] told the Commission he is against binding future Australians to the current point of view regarding human rights.

The possibility of an Australian bill of rights has been raised by human rights activists [JURIST report] and others in response to the passage of several Australian anti-terrorism laws. The Security Legislation Review Committee [materials], a public and independent body charged with reviewing the Security Acts dealing with terrorism, has criticized [JURIST report] many elements of the laws, including their lack of sunset provisions and the ambiguity of several crime definitions, especially the crime of "advocating the doing of a terrorist act." The Committee identified other potential civil rights issues inherent in the Security Acts, and recommended that the governmental process of black-listing terrorist groups be more transparent so that the groups may respond to the charges before condemnation, and that the definitional criteria be made public. AAP has more.

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