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Abstract from

In Defence of Human Rights

The Honourable Mr John von Doussa QC is President of the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission. He has practised law since being admitted to the Supreme Court of South Australia in 1962. He was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1978. Since 1988 he has been a Federal Court judge and prior to that he was a judge of the South Australian Supreme Court for two years. From 1992 until April 2003 he was also a Commissioner of the Australian Law Reform Commission. Justice von Doussa has held a number of other positions including presidential member of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal and President of the Australian Competition Tribunal.

Human rights matter because they are the recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family. And human rights matter more than ever now. In the global age, human rights are among the few universal values that are capable to traverse national, cultural, and social divides. Yet, of late, the protection of human rights in Australia is inadequate. Hence why we need to defend human rights, and the need for adequate mechanisms that integrate human rights into the pre-legislative process and that test the compatibility of proposed legislation with human rights.

 (2007) 25 No 1  Law in Context 63-73

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