This report illustrates the ongoing erosion of legal rights that persists in Australia. This has been measured by an analysis of the content of all legislation passed by the federal parliament in 2018.
Our research is an audit of Commonwealth legislation passed in 2018, building on research the Institute of Public Affairs began in 2014.1 The IPA’s 2014 report, The State of Fundamental Legal Rights in Australia, found 262 provisions which breach fundamental legal rights. That report focussed on the extent to which four such fundamental legal rights are abrogated in current acts of the federal parliament:
- The presumption of innocence and burden of proof;
- Natural justice;
- The right to silence;
- Privilege against self-incrimination.
Updates to that research published by the Institute of Public Affairs in April 2016, February 2017, and December 2017 found there had been a net increase in the number of breaches in federal legislation passed in each year since 2014, with 324 provisions found at the end of 2017.
This update includes all legislation passed by the Commonwealth parliament in 2018. In total, our research has identified 34 new provisions that breach fundamental legal rights in legislation passed in 2018. None were repealed.