Peter Westmore describes how, in his opinion, “the national human rights consultation was hijacked” (News Weekly, October 31, 2009). He has obviously not read the report.
Could I provide just one correction which will be obvious to anyone regardless of their political views on a human rights act?
Mr Westmore highlights interesting anomalies in our report including: “The web site contained a photograph* of former Labor Minister Susan Ryan seated beside a man at the committee’s hearings. The caption on the photo was, ‘The Hon Susan Ryan AO puts the case for an Australian human rights act’. What was not mentioned is that that man shown next to Susan Ryan is former NSW Labor Premier, Bob Carr, who at the committee hearing and elsewhere has strongly opposed a human rights act.” News Weekly reproduces the photo at p.265 of our report in the chapter entitled “The case for a human rights act”.
I can only presume that Mr Westmore failed to read the next chapter entitled “The case against a human rights act”. At p.281, there then appears another photo of Carr and Ryan, this time with Carr speaking. The caption reads, “The Hon. Bob Carr puts the case against an Australian human rights act”.
An anomaly, or just even-handed treatment of competing views? I commend the entire report to your readers.
Fr Frank Brennan SJ AO,
* Editor’s note: the original article at www.newsweekly.com.au/articles/2009oct31_cover3.html has now been corrected.