In 1988 the Hawke government put a constitutional amendment to a referendum. On the recommendation of the government’s Constitution Commission, we were invited to vote to enshrine guarantees of trial by jury, property rights, and freedom of religion. The proposition was rejected by all states. There is nothing surprising in that. We almost always do vote against constitutional amendment because the politicians of the right have always succeeded in persuading us that the original document (a free trade agreement between the federating colonies) is perfect and, in any case, any proposal for change is a left-wing plot to deprive her majesty’s loyal subjects of their common law freedoms.
Terry Lane reviews 'Liberty: A History of Civil Liberties in Australia' by James Waghorne and Stuart Macintyre
Liberty: A History of Civil Liberties in Australia
by James Waghorne and Stuart Macintyre
UNSW Press, $59.95 hb, 240 pp, 9781742232652
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Terry Lane is a broadcaster and writer. He is best known for his time on ABC radio, first on local radio in Melbourne, Sydney, Newcastle, and Hobart, and then with his program, The National Interest, on Radio National and Radio Australia. He wrote a weekly opinion column for the Melbourne Herald from 1987 to 1989, at which time he moved to the Sunday Age, for which he wrote until his retirement in 2007. He now writes a weekly page on digital imaging for the Livewire technology supplement of The Age.
He was a founding member of Free Speech Victoria and was secretary of FSV until it ceased to exist in 2008.
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