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Legal recognition of the human right to a healthy environment in Australia: useful, redundant or dangerous?

Good, M 2017 , 'Legal recognition of the human right to a healthy environment in Australia: useful, redundant or dangerous?', in E Daly and L Kotze and J May and C Soyapi and A Kreilhuber and L Ognibene and A Kariuki (eds.), New Frontiers in Environmental Constitutionalism , United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment), Kenya, pp. 160-174.

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Abstract

Australia holds the (perhaps dubious) distinction of being the only western democratic nation without a national bill of rights. It is therefore unsurprising to note that Australia is one of only fifteen nations that does "not yet recognize that their citizens possess a legal right to a healthy environment".'30 Australia is also yet to recognize the human right to water, or the rights of non-human animals and environmental entities. Accordingly, an important question to consider is why Australia has failed to embrace rights-based approaches to environmental protection and governance, and whether and to what extent these approaches may be of some utility in the Australian context. Countries around the world have begun to integrate versions of the human right to a healthy environment into their constitutions, laws, policies and political rhetoric, and Australia is well placed to learn from this experience in order to make an informed decision about whether it should join the "environmental rights revolution'. The aim of this paper is to explore whether legal recognition of the human right to a healthy environment in Australia could offer potential benefits for environmental protection, or whether legal recognition may in fact prove redundant or even dangerous in its operation.

Item Type: Book Section
Authors/Creators:Good, M
Keywords: Environmental law, constitutional law, Australian law, environmental rights, human rights law, environmental protection
Publisher: United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment)
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2017 United Nations Environmental Programme (UN Environment)

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