Royal Commission Into Child Sexual Abuse: Commissioners, Terms Of Reference Announced

The Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, has announced the names of six Commissioners and the Terms of Reference for the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.


The Royal Commission will be led by Justice Peter McClellan, currently Chief Judge at Common Law of the Supreme Court of NSW.

He will be assisted by the former Queensland Police Commissioner Bob Atkinson; Justice Jennifer Coate, the Victorian Coroner; Robert Fitzgerald, a Commissioner with the Productivity Commission; Professor Helen Milroy, a consultatn psychiatrist; and Andrew Murray, former Democrats Senator.

The Royal Commission will not examine child sexual abuse in families.

Gillard was joined by Attorney-General Nicola Roxon and Families Minister Jenny Macklin at her press conference. [Read more…]

Democrats Attack Howard Amendments To Electoral Laws

In this speech, Australian Democrats Senator Andrew Murray lashed the Howard government over its changes to the electoral system.

Second Reading : Electoral & Referendum Amendment (Electoral Integrity & Other Measures) Bill 2006

Senator MURRAY (Western Australia) (9.21 a.m.) – In making my remarks on the Electoral and Referendum Amendment (Electoral Integrity and Other Measures) Bill 2006, I would like to be on the record as stating that this bill represents yet another appalling outcome of coalition control of the Senate. It is a bill that in many respects blatantly seeks to advantage the coalition. From the words electoral integrity in the title of this bill, one would assume its provisions are motivated by an intention to improve our representative democracy, to improve the democratic and electoral rights of Australians. [Read more…]

The Ten Motions That Sank Stott Despoja

According the website, these are the 10 motions that were passed by the Australian Democrats party-room.

The motions were opposed by the leader of the party, Senator Natasha Stott Despoja, who resigned the leadership shortly afterwards. [Read more…]

Bill Of Rights: Australian Democrats Bill

The Australian Democrats have proposed a bill to give Australia a Bill of Rights.

The bill has been presented to the Senate by Senator Andrew Murray.

The full bill is shown below as a downloadable PDF. It is followed by an explanatory document.

Summary of Australian Democrats Bill of Rights.

Summary of the Australian Democrats Bill of Rights


In 1973, Lionel Murphy introduced a proposed bill of rights in the Commonwealth Parliament. It was based on the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (‘the Covenant’), to which Australia is a signatory. That bill lapsed when the Parliament was dissolved in 1974. In 1983, Gareth Evans again attempted to implement the Covenant, overseeing the drafting of another bill of rights. That Bill was given Cabinet approval but was never introduced into Parliament. After the 1984 election, Lionel Bowen replaced Gareth Evans as Attorney-General. He had the bill redrafted to water down its legal effect, and it was introduced into Parliament in 1985. [Read more…]

Democrats Reject Reith’s Anti-Union Bill

Senator Andrew Murray - Australian DemocratsThe Australian Democrats have rejected the key elements of Peter Reith’s “second wave” industrial relations changes.

The Workplace Relations Minister has proposed legislation which would further strip industrial awards of conditions, require secret ballots on strike votes, and introduce user-pays mediation processes. The bill also attacked union rights to enter workplaces and redefined the definition of a closed shop.

Senator Andrew Murray, the Democrats Workplace Relations spokesman, has said the bill “went too far.”

The legislation, dubbed the “More Jobs Better Pay” bill, was the subject of a Senate Committee Report released yesterday. Senator Murray issued a minority report.

The campaign against the legislation included a media campaign by the Australian Council of Trade Unions around the slogan “just say no”. A rally attended by about 500 workers was held yesterday outside Reith’s office in Melbourne.

The legislation now appears to be facing certain defeat before Christmas. The “first wave” of industrial reforms were passed in 1996 with the support of the Democrats under the then leadership of Senator Cheryl Kernot.