24 May 2014

Traditional Freedoms and Privileges

The national Attorney-General has released Terms of Reference for the 'Traditional Freedoms Inquiry' by the ALRC noted - most irreverently - last year

The ALRC is to inquire and report regarding
  • the identification of Commonwealth laws that encroach upon traditional rights, freedoms and privileges; and 
  • a critical examination of those laws to determine whether the encroachment upon those traditional rights, freedoms and privileges is appropriately justified. 
Alas, no specific reference to traditional duties.

For the purpose of the exercise the "laws that encroach upon traditional rights, freedoms and privileges"are to be understood as laws that:
  •  reverse or shift the burden of proof; 
  • deny procedural fairness to persons affected by the exercise of public power; 
  • exclude the right to claim the privilege against self-incrimination; 
  • abrogate client legal privilege; 
  • apply strict or absolute liability to all physical elements of a criminal offence; 
  • interfere with freedom of speech; 
  • interfere with freedom on religion; 
  • interfere with vested property rights; 
  • interfere with freedom of association; 
  • interfere with freedom of movement; 
  • disregard common law protection of personal reputation; 
  • authorise the commission of a tort; 
  • inappropriately delegate legislative power to the Executive; 
  • give executive immunities a wide application; 
  • retrospectively change legal rights and obligations; 
  • create offences with retrospective application; 
  • alter criminal law practices based on the principle of a fair trial; 
  • permit an appeal from an acquittal; 
  • restrict access to the courts; and
  • interfere with any other similar legal right, freedom or privilege. 
The ALRC is to include consideration of Commonwealth laws in the areas of, but not limited to commercial and corporate regulation, environmental regulation and workplace relations.
In considering what, if any, changes to Commonwealth law should be made, the ALRC should consider: how laws are drafted, implemented and operate in practice; and any safeguards provided in the laws, such as rights of review or other accountability mechanisms.
The ALRC should also have regard to other inquiries and reviews that it considers relevant.