It came as something of a surprise last week that noted anti-Bill of Rights advocate and Federal Minister for Privileged Minorities (Encompassing the previous portfolios of Arts and the Attorney-General) George Brandis has abjured and now supports the enshrinement of certain crucial rights in a charter. Honey Soy has managed to obtain a draft copy:
- The right to be a Bigot – The origins of this right can be found in the lesser known Minor Carta of 1215, which Senator Brandis’ office assures us was signed at Pymble (just below the Pacific Highway, now the fourth hole of the local golf club).
- The right to taxpayer funded bookshelves (may be extended to other forms of cabinetry, the Minister has his eye on a Tasmanian Oak commode).
- The right to wear a polo shirt with the collar popped for ‘extra zing’ (in the Minister’s words).
- The right to drink full strength beer in the members area at the SCG/MCG – Previously only a common law right that was crystallised in Members of the SCG v Anonymous Pleb (1933) 5 NSWLR 217.
- The right to tax deductions on hobby farms/the right to yacht moorings on certain feast days.
- The right to publish poetry without criticism (believed to be intended to allow for the publication of Senator Brandis’ own magnum opus “A Sonnet for Mrs Thatcher: She Walked in Duty on the Right”).
The Bill is expected to come before the Parliament in the next month. Outspoken ALP Senator Doug Cameron has said “only middle class people could vote for it”. The rest of the ALP is expected to vote with the government, with the NSW branch of the party arguing that the inadmissibility of evidence from ICAC inquiries in criminal cases should be extended as a right to anything said or done in the ALP party room, or Sussex St offices.