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

  • New Public Housing Plan announced
    The Government has released its Public Housing Plan 2021-2024 which outlines the intention of where 8,000 additional public and transitional housing places announced in Budget 2020, will go. “The Government is committed to continuing its public house build programme at pace and scale. The extra 8,000 homes – 6000 public ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    22 hours ago
  • Prime Minister congratulates President Joe Biden on his inauguration
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has congratulated President Joe Biden on his inauguration as the 46th President of the United States of America. “I look forward to building a close relationship with President Biden and working with him on issues that matter to both our countries,” Jacinda Ardern said. “New Zealand ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Jobs for Nature funding will create training and employment opportunities
    A major investment to tackle wilding pines in Mt Richmond will create jobs and help protect the area’s unique ecosystems, Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor says. The Mt Richmond Forest Park has unique ecosystems developed on mineral-rich geology, including taonga plant species found nowhere else in the country. “These special plant ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Pre-departure testing extended to all passengers to New Zealand
    To further protect New Zealand from COVID-19, the Government is extending pre-departure testing to all passengers to New Zealand except from Australia, Antarctica and most Pacific Islands, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “The change will come into force for all flights arriving in New Zealand after 11:59pm (NZT) on Monday ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Bay Cadets learn skills to protect environment
    Bay Conservation Cadets launched with first intake Supported with $3.5 million grant Part of $1.245b Jobs for Nature programme to accelerate recover from Covid Cadets will learn skills to protect and enhance environment Environment Minister David Parker today welcomed the first intake of cadets at the launch of the Bay ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Cook Islanders to resume travel to New Zealand
    The Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern and the Prime Minister of the Cook Islands Mark Brown have announced passengers from the Cook Islands can resume quarantine-free travel into New Zealand from 21 January, enabling access to essential services such as health. “Following confirmation of the Cook Islands’ COVID ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Supporting communities and landowners to grow employment opportunities
    Jobs for Nature funding is being made available to conservation groups and landowners to employ staff and contractors in a move aimed at boosting local biodiversity-focused projects, Conservation Minister Kiritapu Allan has announced. It is estimated some 400-plus jobs will be created with employment opportunities in ecology, restoration, trapping, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Border exception for some returning international tertiary students
    The Government has approved an exception class for 1000 international tertiary students, degree level and above, who began their study in New Zealand but were caught offshore when border restrictions began. The exception will allow students to return to New Zealand in stages from April 2021. “Our top priority continues ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Tiwai deal gives time for managed transition
    Today’s deal between Meridian and Rio Tinto for the Tiwai smelter to remain open another four years provides time for a managed transition for Southland. “The deal provides welcome certainty to the Southland community by protecting jobs and incomes as the region plans for the future. The Government is committed ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New member for APEC Business Advisory Council
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has appointed Anna Curzon to the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC). The leader of each APEC economy appoints three private sector representatives to ABAC. ABAC provides advice to leaders annually on business priorities. “ABAC helps ensure that APEC’s work programme is informed by business community perspectives ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Govt’s careful economic management recognised
    The Government’s prudent fiscal management and strong policy programme in the face of the COVID-19 global pandemic have been acknowledged by the credit rating agency Fitch. Fitch has today affirmed New Zealand’s local currency rating at AA+ with a stable outlook and foreign currency rating at AA with a positive ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Additional actions to keep COVID-19 out of NZ
    The Government is putting in place a suite of additional actions to protect New Zealand from COVID-19, including new emerging variants, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “Given the high rates of infection in many countries and evidence of the global spread of more transmissible variants, it’s clear that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • 19 projects will clean up and protect waterways
    $36 million of Government funding alongside councils and others for 19 projects Investment will clean up and protect waterways and create local jobs Boots on the ground expected in Q2 of 2021 Funding part of the Jobs for Nature policy package A package of 19 projects will help clean up ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand Government acknowledges 175th anniversary of Battle of Ruapekapeka
    The commemoration of the 175th anniversary of the Battle of Ruapekapeka represents an opportunity for all New Zealanders to reflect on the role these conflicts have had in creating our modern nation, says Associate Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Kiri Allan. “The Battle at Te Ruapekapeka Pā, which took ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Better care for babies with tongue-tie
    Babies born with tongue-tie will be assessed and treated consistently under new guidelines released by the Ministry of Health, Associate Minister of Health Dr Ayesha Verrall announced today. Around 5% to 10% of babies are born with a tongue-tie, or ankyloglossia, in New Zealand each year. At least half can ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Prisoner disorder event at Waikeria Prison over
    The prisoner disorder event at Waikeria Prison is over, with all remaining prisoners now safely and securely detained, Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis says. The majority of those involved in the event are members of the Mongols and Comancheros. Five of the men are deportees from Australia, with three subject to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Pre-departure COVID-19 test for travellers from the UK and the US from 15 January
    Travellers from the United Kingdom or the United States bound for New Zealand will be required to get a negative test result for COVID-19 before departing, and work is underway to extend the requirement to other long haul flights to New Zealand, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins confirmed today. “The new PCR test requirement, foreshadowed last ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago