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5 - Implementing Rights

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 September 2019

Jon Piccini
Affiliation:
Australian Catholic University, Melbourne
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Summary

This chapter critically understands the seemingly spontaneous emergence of rights consciousness in the 1980s, exploring first the politics of the so-called “human rights explosion”, focusing on government and activist responses to 1978’s 30th anniversary of the passage of the UDHR. Stalled bids for an Australian Bill of Rights under the Hawke government and the creation of a national Human Rights Commission (1981–6) occupy the remainder of this chapter. These developments are explored alongside synchronous campaigns for a treaty or Makarrata with Aboriginal Australians and recognition of Gay and Lesbian rights, as well as the continued intransigence of conservatives – in particular Queensland Premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen and the decade’s “New Right”. Invented in the 1940s, ignored, experimented with or contested in later decades, superficially at last the 1980s saw government, the legal system and many social movements adopt human rights’ precepts at a startling pace. An explosion, even a revolution, was clearly underway: but there was seemingly as little clarity as ever on what human rights actually meant. Was this, in the end, a popular groundswell or a revolution from above?

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2019

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  • Implementing Rights
  • Jon Piccini
  • Book: Human Rights in Twentieth-Century Australia
  • Online publication: 20 September 2019
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108659192.006
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  • Implementing Rights
  • Jon Piccini
  • Book: Human Rights in Twentieth-Century Australia
  • Online publication: 20 September 2019
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108659192.006
Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Implementing Rights
  • Jon Piccini
  • Book: Human Rights in Twentieth-Century Australia
  • Online publication: 20 September 2019
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108659192.006
Available formats
×