On Thursday February 4, The Australian published an opinion by Elise Parham, who purports to be interested in the "legal protection of human rights". At least that is what her bio claims. However, the article in The Australian clearly rubbished the notion of human rights protections vis-à-vis, a charter or bill of rights. By the use of eloquent words, Parham blurred counter-factual comments with specious reasoning, containing all the hallmarks of a scare campaign. The article described a charter of rights as: undemocratic, a Shakespearean tragedy, a serpent, and a control mechanism of judges, special interest groups and lobbyists. Interestingly, it is claimed that one can only delve these notions by "reading between the lines" of arguments in favour of a Charter. I note that emotional, fear-mongering and ill-informed comments about a human rights charter do not make for robust, reasoned, logical debate and therefore do little to enhance Parham’s cause. Every day many people around Australia suffer human rights abuses. These abuses have been well documented in the more than 35,000 submissions to the National Human Rights Consultation Committee. These people are not in a position to obtain any restitution, because Australia lacks a framework to support and remedy (let alone prevent) human rights violations. Many independent researchers, academics and judges have presented clear arguments in favour of an Australian charter of rights.  For example, while still on the High Court, Justice Michael Kirby answered a slew of common criticisms in a speech entitled: The National Debate About a Charter of Rights & Responsibilities: Answering Some of the Critics, delivered on August 21, 2008. Read his reasoned and rational explanations here. A charter would give people a clear understanding of what to expect from public authorities and from each other, providing a "social contract" framework for giving practical effect to our common values.  It would provide explicit recognition that human rights come with responsibilities, and must be exercised in a way that respects the rights of others. At present, the common law is piecemeal and can be overridden by legislation -- where legislative intent is clear and unambiguous, common law principles and presumptions can do little to safeguard human rights.