Australian Human Rights: Get a grip, Gillian, we’re not a fascist state, by Caroline Overington.
LOOK, it’s her last day, and one is tempted to just let it go …
But the outgoing president of the Human Rights Commission, Gillian Triggs, has made assertions so outlandish this morning, it’s just not possible.
In an interview with the ABC’s Fran Kelly … Triggs declared to listeners that the Turnbull government “is ideologically opposed to human rights.”
I’m not misquoting.
“We have a government that is ideologically opposed to human rights.” Those are Triggs’ exact words, and it’s on video, so there can be none of that coming back in a few days’ time to say she was misquoted.
Malcolm Turnbull and the government he leads — a democratically-elected government in the House of Representatives, which is held in check by the good folk of the Senate, men and women from every conceivable walk of life and human experience — is “ideologically opposed to human rights.”…
Of course, Triggs wasn’t specific about which human rights our government is opposed to, just that they are very bad people and that she, personally, has immense amounts of virtue, really:
Triggs also said that human rights had “regressed” in Australia under her leadership. She’s been head of the Human Rights Commission for five years, and we’ve “regressed on almost every front” and “one is extremely disappointed about that.”
What is this queenly one business?
Also, if one is extremely disappointed, shouldn’t one be taking responsibility? Triggs has had five years to advance the cause of human rights. Lord knows, she’s not without a platform. If we’re regressing, who is to blame? …
Freedom of speech suffered because of Triggs:
It’s the cornerstone of democracy. Western values can’t thrive without it. But it was the Human Rights Commission, under Triggs, that went hell-for-leather after a couple of college kids in Queensland, for writing Facebook posts; and it was the Human Rights Commission under Triggs that suggested the government make a massive compensation payment to an asylum-seeker who beat his pregnant wife to death; and it was the Human Rights Commission, under Triggs, who toyed prettily with the inquisition of a political cartoonist.
Fran Kelly from the ABC pulled every punch and let it all go, as you’d expect from a sympathetic political ally. Finally:
“No regrets. I believe we’ve done a terrific job,” said Triggs.