BRIAN COSTAR: Australia generally and Victoria
in particular does democracy and has done democracy very well over the years. The 1856
Constitution of Victoria was a very democratic constitution particularly as it related to
the Lower House. It was a bit fuzzier up in the upper chamber. We however, while we do
democracy better than the Americans do, I think they still do rights better than we
do. Now there is passion generated over whether we need charters of rights, Victoria has one
of course, a couple of other states do, a couple of others are thinking about it, the
Commonwealth is thinking about it. I don’t think there’s any chance we’d opt for
a constitutionally entrenched Bill of Rights, no one is arguing for that. I think we don’t
need to worry about the representative democracy side of it, I think we’re working away there.
There are issues that need to be addressed as there always are. I think we’ve just
got to get the individual rights stuff a bit better. Now that doesn’t mean going the
American ‘whole-hog’, because we know that there are problems there, that their
obsessiveness about rights then corrodes the democracy side of it and this is the great
art of government is to balance rights and majority rule. You get that right and you’ve
got a good government.