On Channel 2’s 7:30 Report tonight human rights lawyer Frank Brennan from the Australian Catholic University spoke about Australian refugee policy, namely, “Everyone will end up being sent offshore”, to quote minister Tony Burke.
Professor Brennan was rightly aghast, saying if the Labour and Liberal parties’ “shock and awe” tactics on boat people were to be accepted by the High Court it would mean “in jurisdictional terms that Australia can do whatever it likes”.
Yep, I certainly agree. It’s one of the least moral positions Australia has taken.
But is this not the same Frank Brennan who has managed to skirt deftly around the issue of the greatest human right of them all: the right of citizens to an equal share in their nation’s land and natural resource rents? Someday I’d like to hear Brennan speak on this most fundamental topic. After all, he is a human rights lawyer.
Despite having high profile in the Australian community I’ve not heard Frank Brennan address the question of land rent since first I put it to him at a meeting at Holy Saviour Church Glen Waverley North in the 1980s. Did he blanch at my question when I put it to him, or was it my imagination? His evasive response certainly failed to get to grips with it.
I’m still listening to you with great hope, Frank. Australia sorely needs moral leadership on the point, particularly at this most critical time in world history.
By the way, this is not the same Frank Brennan–another Canberra lawyer–who wrote the excellent book “Canberra in Crisis”. That Frank Brennan did not squib the issue. He was not afraid to speak out on capturing land rents for the people.
William Blackstone (1723-1780) “Commentaries”:
The earth, therefore, and all things therein, are the general property of all mankind, from the immediate gift of the creator.…there is no foundation in nature or in natural law why a set of words upon parchment should convey the dominion of land.