Myth 13 '" We need a referendum before enacting a Human Rights Act
The myth: A referendum is the only method to accurately measure support for a Human Rights Act. Supporters of a Human Rights Act simply want to deny the broader Australian public an opportunity to voice their opinion.
The reality: Referendums are only required under Australian law if there is to be a change to the Constitution. The proposed Human Rights Act would not amend the Constitution, nor would it remove Parliament's power to make laws, so there is no need for a referendum. We know of no federal referendum in Australia's history for a non-constitutional issue. Critics of the proposed Human Rights Act do not tend to call for referendums for any other major legislation, so their call for a referendum here seems inconsistent. Finally, the Australian people had an opportunity to present their views to the National Human Rights Consultation. Those who took that opportunity overwhelmingly favoured a Human Rights Act.