web analytics

Conservatives and Human Rights

Written By: - Date published: 8:24 am, June 2nd, 2015 - 16 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, australian politics, human rights, International, Politics, uk politics - Tags:

220px-Tony_Abbott_-_2010

In Tony Abbott’s Australia there was a recent attempt to attack a fundamental human right, that of citizenship by granting the Minister of Immigration the right to withdraw an individual’s Australian citizenship, even if it was the only citizenship the individual had.

It was a covert attempt from within Abbott’s cabinet and was quickly shut down by others with a proper comprehension of the importance of citizenship and human rights.

It was not a general power, it was to be applied only against those suspected of terrorism related offences.  But the fact that it was even considered, and the leaking of transcripts of what was said in Cabinet, suggests that Abbott’s tenure as Prime Minister may again be on the ropes.

The proposal was raised by Immigration Minister, Peter Dutton.  Remarkably there was no policy paper to present and senior members of Cabinet including the Deputy Prime Minister were not aware that the idea was being proposed before it occurred.  It was brought up at the end of a cabinet meeting with no paperwork.

The Sydney Morning Herald ran this story which included these remarkable quotes from within the cabinet meeting in question:

Malcolm Turnbull attacked the measure:

This is an extraordinary proposition … [a] person’s citizenship is of enormous importance, intrinsic to themselves. Take me. The only people who’ve lived in Australia longer than my family are Aboriginal. I have no other identity. Are we seriously saying some minister could take my citizenship?

Only if you’re a terrorist, was the rejoinder. “Only if you are someone the minister thinks is a terrorist,” Turnbull corrected.

Barnaby Joyce objected to the lack requirement of of hard proof, the lack of a trial, the absence of a jury, the lack of real rigour in a decision to take away a basic human right.

Isn’t that what we have courts for?  If you don’t have enough evidence to charge them in a court, how can you have enough evidence to take away their citizenship?”

George Brandis bristled against the suggestion that this fundamental right could be taken away by an administrative decision:

I am the Attorney-General. It is my job to stand for the rule of law.”

Christopher Pyne also objected:

This is a matter for the judiciary to decide, not the minister.”

“A sole Australian citizen, terrorist or not, is our responsibility. We can’t wash our hands of the fact. We can’t pretend they’re not Australian when they are.

“The best thing to do is get them home, arrest them, and put them in jail.” And if there’s not enough evidence for a court? “Then get it.”

The practical implications of the proposal if it was enacted?  An Australian overseas could be prevented from returning to his or her country of birth or adoption.  And an Australian in Australia could be detained in custody indefinitely.

Abbott and co tried to argue that the individual could apply for citizenship of another country and this made it different.  But Julie Bishop identified why this idea was unworkable.  If Australia took away someone’s citizenship because of possible involvement in terrorism which country would want to grant them citizenship?

Turnbull’s further comment shows how badly the issue had been handled.

Here we go again,” he told his Prime Minister in the meeting. “Talking about something as momentous as this and there is nothing in front of us. There’s a discussion paper that only a few of us have seen. This is a shambles.”

Meanwhile in the United Kingdom the Scottish Nationalist Party has been accused of plotting to keep the UK Human Rights Act.  The Daily Mail’s choice of words is incredible.  The SNP are apparently “plotting” to protect existing rights.  I thought the plotters would be those attempting to remove those rights.

The motivation is a jingoistic insistence by the Conservatives that the European Convention on Human Rights is too foreign for English purposes.  Conor Gearty in the Guardian described the situation and the motivation in the following terms:

So why haven’t they promised to withdraw from the convention? They say they will if European officials don’t behave properly in discussions while the new bill is going through parliament, a peculiar assertion because it is the Strasbourg court that matters, and of course its judges can’t and won’t be drawn into political debate with a member state. Probably, the party leadership hasn’t had the guts to act now on the withdrawal they clearly want: repeal of the Human Rights Act was judged enough of a bone to keep the dogs of Ukip and their own Tea Party obsessives busy long enough to get them through the next few months until the election.

 

As far as I can tell the objection relates to the location of the Court and not the nature of the rights created.

Both incidents clearly show how conservatives are willing to attack basic human rights for political advantage.  For a movement that always talks about the importance of the rule of law their willingness to subvert it for political purposes is disappointing.

16 comments on “Conservatives and Human Rights ”

  1. Sirenia 1

    I heard that Cameron’s government was repealing their Human Rights Act. That would mean things like slavery would be legal. As well as racism and sexism

    • Not quite the case. Cameron wants to break the link to the European Court of human rights and default to the UK courts instead.

      • Sable 1.1.1

        True but in reality this is the same as taking away human rights in the UK. UK courts are a joke like ours are.

        • Bill 1.1.1.1

          They want to pen a bill of British Rights. It won’t happen.

          The Irish peace settlement is based on the European Human Rights Act. SO, that would have to be re-negotiated. The ‘Runnymede Conservatives’ (old school Tory) would object too, and on a majority of 12 or whatever it is….

    • Daveinireland 1.2

      ” repealing their Human Rights Act. That would mean things like slavery would be legal. As well as racism and sexism”

      The UK Human Rights Act was introduced in the UK in 1998. Was slavery legal prior to it’s introduction?

  2. vto 2

    Conservatives are dangerous and thick-headed, as this clearly shows. Bunch of nutjobs who can only see backwards.

  3. Sable 3

    How Abbott became PM beggars belief.

    • David H 3.1

      And how he is still PM is an even bigger surprise.

      • Colonial Rawshark 3.1.1

        It shows the disarray and repulsiveness of the Australian Labor Party that they somehow lost a popularity contest to a guy that even Coalition supporters loathe

        • Kevin 3.1.1.1

          But they will wise up quicker than we would and get rid of him.

        • tc 3.1.1.2

          Don’t forget Murdochs empire threw the kitchen sink at Gillard then Rudd to help Abbott over the line and even then they don’t control the senate which palmer, greens and independents hold balance.

          Oz is a more mature electorate who know how to check the loons via not giving them senate control.

          • mickysavage 3.1.1.2.1

            Yep they are. Enough people and commentators will stand up and say this is crap. Over here those people are fewer in number and seem to get taken out …

  4. Colonial Rawshark 4

    The ad-hoc removal of citizenship for reasons of “terrorism” will have been an American proposal to the Australian authorities. In the US they have been removing citizenship from Americans in order to reduce the paperwork required to drone US citizens overseas.

    Perhaps they have some Australian drone targets in mind now.

  5. feijoa 5

    Well, thanks Mr Abbott- they’ll probably all move over here-
    They could, couldn’t they?

  6. tc 6

    Classic toxic tony behaviour, the latest in a line up that includes;
    Leaving refugees in substandard off shore locations to meet an election promise of ‘stopping the boat people’
    Winding down remote aboriginal community funding
    Attacking the human rights commissioner using her impaired child (classy)

    There’s more but you get the idea, currently brandis is smashing around the arts community for some light relief in between his clown act as attorney general.

  7. This is a disgusting display and abuse of power. Someone else needs to come up with a solution that will shelve even thoughts of removing a person’s citizenship by force this way into storage for good! I can’t believe they would even be so cruel!

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • United Nations General Assembly: 76th General Debate Statement
    E ngā Mana, e ngā Reo, Rau Rangatira mā o tēnei Whare Nui o te Ao Prestigious people, Speakers of note, Chiefs one and all of this General Assembly Ngā mihi mahana ki o koutou katoa, mai i toku Whenua o Aotearoa Warm greetings to you all from my home ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 hours ago
  • APEC 2021 Women and the Economy Forum prioritises women’s economic empowerment
    Minister for Women Jan Tinetti today chaired the virtual APEC 2021 Women and the Economy Forum, which is working to address outstanding issues for women and girls across the region as it recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. The forum brought together Ministers and representatives from 21 economies to discuss gender ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 hours ago
  • Upper Hauraki to move to Alert Level 2
    Upper Hauraki will move to Alert Level 2 from 11:59pm tomorrow, 25 September, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins confirmed today. After positive cases were detected in the Upper Hauraki area on Sunday, extra Alert Level restrictions were put in place to immediately prevent any wider transmission of the virus.  “We’ve ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    23 hours ago
  • Report into Aotearoa New Zealand’s export controls system released
    Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta today welcomed the findings of an independent review into Aotearoa New Zealand’s export controls system, which regulates the export of goods to foreign militaries, police forces or paramilitaries. Produced by David Smol, a former Chief Executive of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • New District Court Judge appointed
    Attorney-General David Parker has announced the appointment of Brett Crowley of Wellington as a District Court Judge.  He is currently the Wellington Public Defender and started his career as a staff solicitor working in a range of litigation including criminal defence work. He went to the bar in 1999 specialising ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Mental health stocktake shows strong progress
    The first report of the Government’s Implementation Unit has found strong progress has been made since the Mental Health and Addictions Package was announced in 2019. “The report notes most initiatives funded in the Budget 2019 package are on track to deliver what is expected by 2023/24,” Grant Robertson said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Working together to grow the West Coast
    A project that has been crucial in allowing businesses to continue during the tourism downturn is among a number of initiatives to receive a boost from the Government’s Jobs For Nature programme, Conservation Minister Kiri Allan says. Sustaining South Westland is an extension of an initiative set up last year ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Next steps to improve safety in wake of Whakaari White Island tragedy
    The Government is moving to improve safety in light of the Whakaari White Island tragedy and has released proposals to reinforce safety standards in registered adventure activities. The package of proposals includes: Strengthening requirements for how operators, landowners and the regulator manage natural hazard risks Improving how risks are monitored, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • New Zealand donates more COVID-19 vaccines to COVAX and the Pacific
    Foreign Affairs Minister Hon Nanaia Mahuta and Associate Health Minister Aupito William Sio announced today that New Zealand is donating additional Pfizer vaccines to the Pacific and AstraZeneca vaccines to the COVAX Facility, to support equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines. “New Zealand is donating 708,000 doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Speech to the Property Council of New Zealand
    Kia ora koutou katoa   Is it a pleasure to be able to speak with you today, and to be able to answer some questions you may have. I would like to acknowledge the organisers of this event, the Property Council. The theme of this year’s conference is City Shapers. Together ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Additional MIQ for Christchurch
    An additional hotel will be added to our network of managed isolation and quarantine facilities, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “I have approved and Cabinet is in the final stages of signing off The Quality Hotel Elms in Christchurch as a new managed isolation facility,” Chris Hipkins said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • NZ COVID-19 response earns another major digital investment
    Minister for the Digital Economy and Communications Dr David Clark welcomes Amazon’s Web Services’ (AWS) decision to establish a Cloud Region on New Zealand shores, further boosting New Zealand’s growing digital sector, and providing a vote of confidence in the direction of New Zealand’s economic recovery. “Amazon is the second ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New Zealand invests in cutting edge cancer R&D
    Scaling up the manufacture of CAR T-cell cancer therapy for clinical trials Advancing New Zealand’s biomedical manufacturing capability Supporting future international scientific collaborations Transforming cancer care with targeted, affordable solutions Research, Science and Innovation Minister Hon Dr Megan Woods has announced that the fight against COVID-19 will not stop the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Expert group appointed to lead New Zealand’s future health system
    An outstanding group of people with extensive and wide-ranging governance and health experience have been appointed to lead the Māori Health Authority and Health New Zealand, Health Minister Andrew Little says. “This Government is building a truly national health system to provide consistent, high-quality health services right across the country. This ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Funding to help clean up contaminated sites
    The Government is supporting the clean-up of contaminated sites in Northland, Dunedin and Southland to reduce risk to people’s health and protect the environment. Environment Minister David Parker said the funding announced today, through the Contaminated Sites Remediation Fund, will help us turn previously hazardous sites into safe, usable public ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Predator Free apprenticeships open up new job opportunities
    The expansion of a predator free apprenticeship programme is an opportunity for more people to kick-start a conservation career, Conservation Minister Kiri Allan says. “The Predator Free Apprenticeship Programme is focused on increasing the number of skilled predator control operators in New Zealand through a two-year training programme. “The Trust ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Further NCEA support confirmed for Auckland students
    The number of Learning Recognition Credits for senior secondary school students will be increased for Auckland students, Education Minister Chris Hipkins confirmed today. This recognises the extended time these students will spend in Alert Levels 3 and 4. “It means students in Auckland will have a fair opportunity to attain ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Long-term pathway next step to better mental wellbeing for New Zealanders
    The Government is taking a new approach to support people who experience mental distress, Health Minister Andrew Little says. “Kia Manawanui Aotearoa – Long-term pathway to mental wellbeing (Kia Manawanui) is the first 10-year plan of its kind that targets the cause of mental distress and also sets out how ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Keeping our Police safe to keep our communities safe
    The Government is committed to keeping our frontline police officers safe, so they in turn can keep New Zealanders safe – with one of the largest investments in frontline safety announced by Police Minister Poto Williams at the Police College today.   The $45 million investment includes $15.496 million in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Clean Vehicles Bill passes first checkpoint
    The Land Transport (Clean Vehicles) Amendment Bill will help New Zealand drive down transport emissions by cleaning up the light vehicle fleet, Transport Minister Michael Wood says. The Bill passed its first reading today and will establish the legislative framework for key parts of the Government’s Clean Car Package, including ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Funding boost supports ongoing Māori COVID-19 response
    The Government is responding to the need by whānau Māori and Māori Health providers to support their ongoing work responding to COVID-19 and to continue increasing rates of Māori vaccination, Associate Minister for Health (Māori Health), Peeni Henare and Minister for Māori Development Willie Jackson announced today.   This increased ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Significant increase to COVID-19 penalties
    Penalties for breaches of COVID-19 orders are set to significantly increase from early November 2021 to better reflect the seriousness of any behaviour that threatens New Zealand’s response to the virus, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “Throughout this Delta outbreak we’ve seen the overwhelming majority of people doing ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Counter-Terrorism Legislation Bill returns to Parliament
    The Counter-Terrorism Legislation Bill has returned to Parliament for its second reading in an important step towards giving enforcement agencies greater power to protect New Zealanders from terrorist activity. “The Bill addresses longstanding gaps in our counter terrorism legislation that seek to protect New Zealanders and make us safer,” Justice ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Joint Statement: New Zealand and Australian Trade Ministers
    Hon Damien O'Connor MP, New Zealand Minister for Trade and Export Growth, and Hon Dan Tehan MP, Australian Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, met virtually on Monday 20 September to advance trans-Tasman cooperation under the Australia-New Zealand Closer Economic Relations Trade Agreement (CER). CER is one of the most ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Prime Minister’s Post Cabinet Press Conference/COVID-19 Update opening statement
    ***Please check against delivery***   E te tī, e te tā, nau mai rā [To all, I bid you welcome]   As you will have seen earlier, today there are 22 new community cases to report; three of which are in Whakatiwai in the Hauraki area, and the remainder in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Major milestones for Māori COVID-19 vaccine rollout as new campaign launches
    Whānau Ora and Associate Health (Māori Health) Minister Peeni Henare acknowledges two major milestones in the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccination programme for Māori. “I am very pleased to announce more than 50 percent of eligible Māori have received their first dose and 25 per cent are now fully vaccinated,” ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government funding to fight infectious diseases
    $36 million for research into Covid-19 and other infectious diseases The investment will improve our readiness for future pandemics Research will focus on prevention, control, and management of infectious diseases The Government’s investing in a new Infectious Diseases Research Platform to boost Aotearoa New Zealand’s Covid-19 response and preparedness for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Quarantine-free travel with Australia to remain suspended for a further 8 weeks
    Suspension to be reviewed again mid to late November Decision brought forward to enable access from Australia to first tranche of around 3000 rooms in MIQ Air New Zealand working at pace to put on more flights from Australia from October    The suspension of quarantine-free travel (QFT) with Australia has ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Extra support for Ethnic Communities to share vaccination information
    Extra support is being made available to Ethnic Communities to help them share COVID-19 vaccination information within their communities, Minister for Diversity, Inclusion and Ethnic Communities Priyanca Radhakrishnan said. “We know we need to get every eligible person in New Zealand vaccinated. A fund being launched today will allow for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • School holidays remain unchanged for Auckland region
    School holidays in Auckland will continue to be held at the same time as the rest of the country, starting from Saturday, 2 October, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “I’ve carefully considered advice on the implications of shifting the dates and concluded that on balance, maintaining the status quo ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government continues crackdown on gangs and organised crime
    Operation Tauwhiro extended until March 2022 Since it was launched in February, Operation Tauwhiro has resulted in:   987 firearms seized $4.99 million in cash seized 865 people charged with a firearms-related offence Gangs and organised crime groups will continue to be relentlessly targeted with the extension of Police’s successful ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Speech to Body Positive 'HIV Treatments Update Seminar 2021'
    E ngā mana E ngā reo E ngā iwi Tēnā koutou katoa Ka huri ki ngā mana whenua o te rohe nei. Tēnā koutou. He mihi hoki ki a tatou kua tau mai nei I raro I te kaupapa o te rā. Nō reira tēnā koutou katoa Acknowledgements It’s a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Power bill changes bring fairness to charges
    A key recommendation of an independent panel to make electricity charges fairer across all households will be put in place, the Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods has announced. “Phasing out the regulations on ‘low-use’ electricity plans will create a fairer playing field for all New Zealanders and encourage a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • NZ economy’s strong momentum will support rebound from Delta outbreak; COVID fund replenished
    The economy showed strong momentum in the period leading up to the recent Delta COVID-19 outbreak, which bodes well for a solid economic rebound, Grant Robertson said. GDP rose 2.8 percent in the June quarter, following on from a 1.4 percent increase in the previous March quarter. This was a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Projects create benefits into the future
    Making a well-known lake swimmable and helping to halt the decline of the endangered hoiho/yellow-eyed penguins are among a suite of new projects being supported by the Government’s Jobs for Nature programme across the southern South Island, Conservation Minister Kiri Allan says. “It’s no secret that many of our most ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Opening statement for Whāriki Indigenous Small Business Roundtable
      Kei ngā tōpito e wha o te āo e rere ana te mihi maioha ki a koutou nō tawhiti, nō tata mai e tāpiri ana ki tēnei taumata kōrero mo te ao hokohoko arā mā ngā pākihi mo ngā iwi taketake Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa – Pai Mārire.  ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New members appointed to Kāpuia
    The Government is adding four additional members to Kāpuia, the Ministerial Advisory Group on the Government’s Response to the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the terrorist attack on Christchurch mosques. “I’m looking forward to having Pamela MacNeill, Huia Bramley, Melani Anae and Katherine Dedo  join Kāpuia and contribute to this group’s ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Timeline confirmed for Emissions Reductions Plan
    Cabinet has agreed to begin consulting on the Emissions Reduction Plan in early October and require that the final plan be released by the end of May next year in line with the 2022 Budget, the Minister of Climate Change, James Shaw confirmed today. “Cabinet’s decision allows organisations and communities ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Pay parity pathway for early learning teachers confirmed
    Pay parity conditions and higher funding rates for education and care services will come into force on 1 January, 2022, Minister of Education Chris Hipkins confirmed today. The Government signalled this work in Budget 2021. “From 1 January, 2022, centres opting into the scheme will receive government funding and be ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Speech to the New Zealand Nurses Organisation Conference 2021
    Kia Ora tatau katoa.   Ka tuku mihi ki nga nēhi, He pou Hauora o Aotearoa, E ora ai tatou.   Whakatau mai  I runga i te kaupapa o te ra Te NZNO conference.   Tena koutou tena koutou Tena tatou katoa   Good morning, and thank you inviting me ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago