The need for a Bill of Rights for Australia to ensure our human rights are respected and protected will be debated at a symposium in Newcastle tomorrow.
An outcome of the Newcastle 2020 Summit in April this year, the symposium will provide members of the community an opportunity to become involved in the ongoing debate about a Bill of Rights.
Australia is one of the few western nations without a constitutional or legislative Bill of Rights.
The event is a joint initiative of the University of Newcastle's Faculty of Business and Law, the University's Office of Corporate Development and Community Partnerships, and Federal Member for Newcastle, Sharon Grierson MP.
The panel of speakers includes:
- NSW Attorney General, the Hon. John Hatzistergos
- Anglican Bishop of Newcastle, the Right Reverend Dr Brian Farran
- President of the Newcastle Law Society, Ms Catherine Henry
- University of Newcastle Honours Candidate, Ms Lucy Wilk
- Staff from the University's Faculty of Business and Law
Dr Alan Berman, Senior Lecturer in the University's School of Law, said the symposium would consider a range of views on how human rights could be best protected in Australia.
"The panel will discuss issues including whether human rights protection would be enhanced by changing the Constitution or enacting new legislation to recognise certain basic rights such as freedom of speech and freedom of religion," Dr Berman said.
"We expect debate to be lively and encourage anyone with an interest in the ongoing debate to come along and contribute."
Federal Member for Newcastle, Sharon Grierson, said she was pleased to see the people of Newcastle having their say on an important national issue.
"Consideration of a charter of rights and freedoms was a recommendation from the local 2020 Summit that I took to Canberra for the national discussions," Ms Grierson said.
"The Bill of Rights Symposium will provide further input into the national debate now underway on the future of Australia's governance."
The Bill of Rights Symposium begins at 5pm on Wednesday 29 October at Newcastle City Hall. Media and the public are welcome.
Dr Alan Berman is available for interview for interview today between 2pm and 5pm. Contact: Blythe Hamilton, Media and Public Relations.