The standard argument is that a Bill of Rights gives veto power over legislation to the judiciary. The framing is that of elected versus unelected. The people are just popcorn-stuffing spectators to be appealed to, presumably with bread and circuses.
All of us who are democrats at heart should worry about a provision that tells the unelected judges to do whatever they can to read any other statute as consistent with their view (not the voters' or parliamentarians') of what some abstract moral list requires.
James Allen frets that a legislature has allowed the judiciary to wily-nily rule on constitutionality of legislation. Never mind that the only court that can rule on constitutional issues is the highest court. Never mind that there are bills of rights and then there are bills of rights. There are bills of rights like New Zealand's; an arse-backwards granting of rights to the people from the state. Then there are subtractive bills, bills that clearly tell the state that the people do not permit them the power to legislate certain aspects of life.
It is this second variety which is hand in glove with every evolution of English and Australian law. The Great Charter, the various victories of Parliament over the monarchy, the ultimately triumphant Chartist movement, even the extension of suffrage; they are marked by a devolution of the source of the state's power. This is what a bill of rights is, it is the people - the source of the state's power - telling the state where it has no business.
The framing of the debate as unelected judges versus the elected legislature ignores the people. It pretends that the judiciary and the parliament are in some permanent squabble, tussling over a power that exists in its own right, without source, as if divinely provided. It pretends that Australia follows some Nouveau Régime where the executive council, with the consent of the judiciary and the senate, occasionally permits an impotent parliament to offer advice that can and will be ignored. There is no Divine Right of Prime Ministers. The state governs at the sufferance of the people and the people have the right to deny the state power.
One last point. The bill of rights that commenters should be talking about - the US Bill of Rights - is as much as their Constitution the result of the people re-asserting that power is sourced from them. The means they exercised were the last resort - ultima ratio plebum if you like - but we shouldn't have to follow suit. Nor should we be content with the first kind of rights bill, that "permitted" us by the state. So in that sense, I find myself agreeing with one paragraph, even if my agreement comes with a sardonic curl of my lip.
One last point: in Victoria the voters themselves didn't get a referendum to decide whether they'd have a bill of rights; the Government decided that for them. So much for the "right to take part in the conduct of public affairs". Any bets on who would have won that referendum?
lo! A statist complains that the state is overstepping its bounds by creating sweeping legislation without the support of the people. Next thing you know, they'll be creating legislation that affects him! Surely there must be some remedy for this. Perhaps some document that subtracts powers from the legislature in order to protect the people and the rule of law from zealous statists. All we need now is a name for this hypothetical document.
More Reading on Bill of rights
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Most Popular Restaurants in Phoenix
Phoenix Eats Out
is the restaurant review site for Phoenix
and Old Town Scottsdale
which lists the modernist and contemporary restaurants, taverns and bars in the greater Phoenix area.
This is the list of the most popular restaurants pages from phoenixeatsout.com that have been viewed the most;
My personal favourite restaurants in Phoenix are AZ88
, Humble Pie
, Orange Table
, The Vig
and others coming close behind. View the complete list with the photo-journalistic style images on phoenixeatsout.com
Most Popular Hikes in Arizona
Arizona is an outdoor state and has lots of hiking in the city and around the state. Phoenix is unusual for most cities in having several large mountains in the center of the city with great hiking. Anyone who comes to Phoenix has to do the Echo Canyon trail on Camelback
and the Summit Hike on Squaw Peak
or Piesta Peak. The views of the city, suburbs and surrounding mountains are wonderful from Camelback and Piesta Peak.
For more experienced hikers there is the McDowell Mountains in North Scottsdale that has several difficult and strenuous hikes in Tom's Thumb
and Bell Pass
. Alternatively, you can hike the highest mountain in Arizona. At 12,600 feet Humphrey's Peak
is a long and difficult hike.
Alternate Australian Constitutions
Between 2004 and 2009 this site, southsearepublic.org
, was a constitutional blog based on scoop which focused on Australian and global constitutional issues.
One of the strongest aspects of it was the development of constitutions by those involved in the blog. These constitutions are the outcome:
The constitutions were built using principles from Montesquieu's separation of powers, the enlightnment's universal political rights and the ancient Athenian technology of sortition and choice by lot.
Archives For South Sea Republic
South Sea Republic started in 2004 as an Australian constitutional blog in 2004 based on scoop software. It was an immigrative outgrowth of Kuro5hin. The archives for each year since then;
The articles are ordered by views.
Who Is Cam Riley
I am an Australian living in the United States as a permanent resident.
I am a software developer by trade and mostly work in Java and jump between middleware and front end.
I originally worked in the New York area of the United States in telecommunications before moving to Washington DC and
working in a mix of telecommunications, energy and ITS. I started my own software company before heading out to
Arizona and working with Shutterfly. Since then I have joined a startup in the Phoenix area and am thoroughly enjoying myself.
I do a lot of photography which I post on this website, but also on flickr. I have a photo-journalistic website which lists
the modernist and contemporary restaurants in phoenix. I have a site on the Australian Flying Corps [AFC]
which has been around since the 1990s and which I unfortunately
lost the .org URL to during a life event; however, it is under the www.australianflyingcorps.com
The AFC website has gone through several iterations since the 90s and the two most recent are Australian Flying Corps Archives(2004-2002)
Australian Flying Corps Archives(2002-1999)
which are good places to start.
Websites Worth Reading
Websites of friends, colleagues and of interest;