There have been many specific statutes dealing with human rights questions and the removal of various kinds of discrimination.
Some of these have been based upon Australia's ratification of international treaties.
It includes a number of fundamental documents, such as the Magna Carta, the Bill of Rights 1688, the Act of Settlement, the Reform Act, and so on.
However, these proposals were rejected by the people.A proposal for a bill of rights was put forward in the Constitutional Conventions. Likewise, the requirement that acquisition of property for the purposes of the Commonwealth, must be on just terms (s 51 (xxxi)).Some other provisions, such as those dealing with jury trial (s 80), freedom of religion (s 116) and non-discrimination amongst Australians in different States (s 117), have, until recently, received interpretations which disappointed some of the proponents of fundamental rights.In the common law, decisions of the High Court of Australia sometimes demonstrated, even to sceptical observers, the need for bill of rights protections to override old inherited laws and to reflect notions of fundamental rights and human equality.I refer, for example, to the Dugan case, which held that a prisoner, convicted of a felony and sentenced to death, lost his civil rights to sue in the courts.