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

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.

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Published in November 2011, no. 336
Terry Lane

Terry Lane

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 is the author of eight books, including three novels. Two of his novels are available for free download in the Kindle format – Hectic and Tit for Tat.

He was a founding member of Free Speech Victoria and was secretary of FSV until it ceased to exist in 2008.