19
Sep
07

UN Declaration and the Constitution

If the UN Declaration was passed at a different time, then it would have received far wider media coverage.

While I’m not suprised that this Gvt would polarise division by overstating the impact that signing the Declaration would have, I am suprised by the extent that our Constitution is mis-interpreted. 

In ABC AM on Saturday the Minister for Indigenous affairs said:

We have a constitution which says that everyone is equal under the law.

Which part? 

And if this is the case, then why does section 51 state: 

The Parliament shall, subject to this Constitution, have power to make laws for the peace, order, and good government of the Commonwealth with respect to:

(xxvi) the people of any race, other than the aboriginal race in any State, for whom it is deemed necessary to make special laws; 

In the context of race (for want of a better word), the Minister interprets ‘equal’ rights as ‘same’ rights.  If our constitution was consistent with this interpretation the 1967 referendum would have deleted the above section altogether, and not just part.   

Further, the Minister states:

It would allow for the power of veto to legitimate decisions of a democratically elected government. That is not something that’s in our constitution.

In no way would the signing of a non-binding instrument of International law overturn our constitution. 

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