Civil Liberties

Many nations are turning to charters of rights as the main protector of civil liberties. CIS explores whether this is the best approach for Australia, and the extent to which our legal system can and should enshrine more than just civil and political rights.


The Enlightenment Made Us
Nick Cater
23 October 2014 | OP136

Nick Cater examines the Enlightenment ideals that helped shape our uniquely Australian culture. He argues that with a focus on progress and practicality, ‘the great southern continent’s primitive landscape would be a laboratory for the Enlightenment’s bold experiment of applied science’. Unlike America, with its…

The Age of Endarkenment
Brendan O'Neill, Nick Cater
23 October 2014 | OP137

Humans have never had it so good. We are wealthier, happier and more comfortable than any previous generation thanks to the march of science and technology. So why have we become so gloomy about the modern world and so pessimistic about the future? Why have…

A Quartet of Freedoms: Freedom of Religion, Speech, Association and Conscience
Jeremy Sammut, Peter Kurti, Robert Forsyth
16 October 2014 | OP135

Political Rights, to which Australia is a signatory, gives high prominence to freedom of religion. But religious freedom is under threat in Australia. An aggressive secular culture, combined with the diminished standing of religious organisations, is putting religious believers under pressure to be silent in…

The Forgotten Freedom: Threats to Religious Liberty in Australia
Peter Kurti
01 July 2014 | PM139

The campaign for what has been dubbed ‘marriage equality’ is gaining ground in many Western countries, including Australia, despite religious and secular people not always sharing a common point of view on the matter. In an accompanying development, the cause of marriage equality has become…

Multiculturalism and the Fetish of Diversity
Peter Kurti
10 December 2013 | PM138

Multiculturalism began as a response to the White Australia policy and continues to enjoy public support. But a new, ‘hard’ multiculturalism has emerged which is determined to eliminate racism. It focuses narrowly on managing diversity and regulating behaviour to stem intolerance and discrimination. However this…

Media & Commentary

NSW: racists welcome
Peter Kurti
12 September 2015 | The Spectator

Ismail Alwahwah The failure of NSW authorities to prosecute the Australian head of Hizb ut-Tahrir who called for deadly violence against Jews, means anyone is now free to call for…

No ducking uncomfortable questions
Jeremy Sammut
10 April 2015 | Ideas@the centre

Sometimes I wish I could break the habits of a lifetime and agree with the Left on a controversial issue. That is my instinctive response to the counter-protests on the…

18C is not what keeps us civil
Jeremy Sammut
02 April 2015

The Abbott Government’s attempt to remove Section 18C from the Racial Discrimination Act (RDA) was politically doomed the moment Senator George Brandis uttered his now infamous statement about people having…

Magna Carta started as a failure
20 February 2015

How did a gang of thirteenth century one-percenters in England change the course of history with a document that failed at its start? The Magna Carta, which is celebrating its…

18C makes us all tongue-tied
Jeremy Sammut
20 January 2015 | The Australian

The Charlie Hebdo massacre has renewed calls for the federal parliament to amend Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act (RDA). According to Race Discrimination Commissioner, Tim Soutphommasane, this is…