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More Wilson Contempt for Parliament and Freedom

More Wilson Contempt for Parliament and Freedom

Friday 7 Dec 2001 Stephen Franks Press Releases -- Governance & Constitution

Last night Attorney General Margaret Wilson dropped on MPs another Supplementary Order Paper with major human rights implications avoiding select committee scrutiny, ACT Justice Spokesman Stephen Franks said today.

"MPs had just twelve hours notice for debate.

"The last minute law change adds an Equal Opportunities Commissioner to the Human Rights Commission. The new Commissioner has more powers than any other including the responsibility to "complement the work of any trust or body that has as one of its purposes the promotion of equal employment opportunities (including pay equity)". This could include each of the Labour, Alliance and Green parties, who have admitted in the House knowing about this last minute strategy.

"Margaret Wilson has unbelievable gall. She's utterly unrepentant about her failed attempt to stifle free speech. She has learned nothing about trying to do these things without select committee scrutiny. She is unsuitable for any job requiring respect for our freedoms and due process, let alone a job that should have her as chief guardian of them.

"Her human rights amendment turns the Commission into a propaganda council. Commissioners are to lose their role in dealing with practical complaints, that at least keeps them in some touch with reality. Instead they are to "educate ... promote ... ensure equality and .... understanding and respect for human rights".

"There is no definition of human rights in the Bill. These political appointees can make it mean whatever they want it to mean.

"The Commission is now to be a cabal essentially doing what politicians should do, with a budget bigger than any political party, appointed to promote the warped agenda of this Minister.

"The new Commissioner's power to "complement" the work of any body which includes her favoured purpose could authorise it to become the government-funded wing of the Labour party. In this debate taking place now, Government members are not even bothering to participate," Mr Franks said.

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