The Australian Constitution and Our Rights

Cheryl Saunders

“The Australian Constitution says very little about human rights. In contrast to the Constitutions of most other Western countries, which list a range of rights and provide legal protection for them, the Australian Constitution includes only a small handful of provisions that deal expressly with rights. A few other rights have been implied from the text and structure of the Constitution. Apart from these, Australia relies on institutional mechanisms for rights protection: the Parliaments and governments of both the Commonwealth and the States and independent courts applying common law principles. This chapter describes and explains how various arrangements work, as a necessary basis on which to consider whether more exten- sive constitutional protection of rights would be useful and desirable in Australia …”