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Part VII Rights, Ch.37 Rights Protection in Australia

Scott Stephenson

From: The Oxford Handbook of the Australian Constitution

Edited By: Cheryl Saunders, Adrienne Stone

From: Oxford Constitutions (http://oxcon.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2023. All Rights Reserved.date: 28 March 2023

This chapter considers the state of rights protection in Australia. Unlike in many other countries, Australia notably lacks a constitutional (or statutory) bill of rights at the national level. As a result, the Australian Constitution implicitly assigns principal responsibility for rights—the task of determining their identity, scope, and limits—to the legislature. The chapter explains that the Constitution's preference for legislative rather than judicial resolutions to rights issues is the product of a shifting mixture of philosophical, historical, political, and institutional reasons. Next, the chapter provides an overview of the small number of provisions found in the Constitution that explicitly relate to rights. Finally, the chapter details how a number of the Constitution's structural features directly and indirectly contribute to the protection of rights.

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