Brandis’ freedom review


Attorney-General George Brandis has asked the Australian Law Reform Commission to go through existing legislation to find any barriers and restrictions to civil liberties and traditional legal rights.

This is an extremely important step forward for the Coalition, and it could be influential in the future drafting and reforming of legislation.

As reported in the Sydney Morning Herald today:

Senator Brandis called the review the “most comprehensive and important ever undertaken” by the Commission.

“I have asked the commission to identify where traditional rights, freedoms and privileges are unnecessarily compromised within the legal structure of the Commonwealth. Where encroachments exist, the commission will determine whether they are justified,” Mr Brandis said.

“For too long we have seen freedoms of the individual diminish and become devalued. The Coalition government will strive to protect and restore them.”

The most extraordinary comment about the story comes from legal academic George Williams:

“It’s essentially an audit of the entire body of Commonwealth law,” Anthony Mason professor of law at UNSW George Williams said.

“It’s an enormous task that Senator Brandis has set the Law Reform Commission. They’ll have to sift through the body of Commonwealth law looking for infringements with a large range of freedoms and rights.”

But as citizens we are subject to all of those laws, and ignorance of the law is no excuse. So as law abiding citizens we’re supposed to be aware of – and comply with – these laws. The ALRC is merely confronting the “enormous task”  that ordinary Australians have to face every day.


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