Fundamental legal rights are necessary to achieve justice within a legal system, and act as a vital constraint on the coercive power of the state. The presumption of innocence, natural justice, the right to silence, and the privilege against selfincrimination recognise the inviolable dignity of each individual and that all individuals have rights relative to one another and against the state.
In recent years, the growth of government and the expansion of the number of regulators and agencies has been accompanied by a willingness to confer on regulators the power to ignore or restrict the fundamental legal rights of Australians. 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 Commonwealth parliament in 2019.
This update includes all legislation passed by the Commonwealth parliament in 2019. In total, our research has uncovered a net increase of 23 provisions that breach fundamental legal rights in legislation passed in 2019. Specifically, 26 such provisions were added in 2019, while just 3 were repealed. According to this analysis, there are now no fewer than 381 provisions in federal legislation which undermine or remove the fundamental legal rights of Australians.