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Abstract from

The Globalisation of Human Rights Law

The Honourable Mr David Malcolm AC QC KCSJ is former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Western Australia and now Professor of Law at the University of Notre Dame, Australia. He was Chief Justice of Western Australia for nearly 18 years, and during his extensive career he has practised in many areas of the law including commercial and corporate law, mining, media, shipping and administrative law. He was admitted to practice in Western Australia in 1964, in New South Wales in 1980 and in the Australian Capital Territory in 1986. He was a Lecturer in Constitutional Law and Equity at the University of Western Australia in 1966-1967 and again in Equity in 1989-1992. In 1980, Professor Malcolm was appointed Queen’s Counsel in Western Australia and in New South Wales in 1983. He has undertaken legal work in many Asian countries as Counsel or Deputy General Counsel of the Asian Development Bank in 1967-1970 and appeared as counsel in Singapore. On 26 February 1990, David Malcolm was appointed Lieutenant Governor of Western Australia and in 1992 he was made a Companion of the Order of Australia.

Australia has ratified multiple international human rights instruments. However, in comparison to other common law jurisdictions, Australia is ‘behind the times.’ The fact is that Australia has not adopted a Bill of Rights and its human rights legislation is ad hoc. The legal protection that different human rights receive in Australia is contradictory. The question of whether Australia should adopt a Bill of Rights and, if so, in what form and with what content is essentially political. Nonetheless, the answer to the question needs to be informed by a greater awareness of the role and function of human rights in Australia.

 (2007) 25 No 1  Law in Context 40-62

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