No Gillian, we don’t need sharia in Australia


The not a moment too soon former “human rights” commissioner is a gift that keeps on giving:

On Thursday night, Professor Triggs was on stage at the University of Sydney interviewing her former university student Senator Dastyari about his book, One Halal of a Story…

Triggs says Sharia law should be allowed in Australia.

The former law professor likened the Islamic legal system to Catholic diktats from the Vatican.

‘There are various ways in which religious law affects the private lives of people,’ she told Daily Mail Australia on Thursday night, after sharing a stage with Iranian-born Labor senator Sam Dastyari.

‘The views of the Vatican affect the lives of Catholics in this country.’

Professor Triggs also said Sharia divorce courts should be allowed in Australia, under a system where a Muslim man can leave his wife by saying ‘I divorce you’ three times and a woman’s word is worth less than a man’s.

‘If it’s a matter of private law within the Muslim community and they want to manage their affairs in that way, and they believe in those rules, that’s reasonably acceptable,’ she said.

Remember, this woman was supposedly looking after human rights in Australia.

Even if for some reason you think that sharia is actually pretty OK – and that’s a big if, considering how well suited rules developed by the 7th century Arab nomads might to be regulating legal affairs in the 21st century Australia – Triggs’ arguments are absurd. Catholics might indeed be privately mindful of the Canon Law, but there is no campaign for the Canon Law to be recognised in parallel with the Australian domestic law, and any judge asked to apply any of its provisions to a case in front of him or her, in addition or to the exclusions of the Australian law, would no doubt tell the applicant to chill.

Triggs’ argument in favour of legal Balkanisation of Australia, where different groups of people have different laws applying to them destroys one of the main pillars of a liberal democratic society – the equality before law. We might not be equal in any other sense of the word, but we are equal in that the law of the land applies to all of us equally, without fear or favour. While this is not the origin of the term “common law”, the law we inherited from the British legal tradition and subsequently codified in legislation, is truly common in that everyone – the Prime Minister, Gillian Triggs, myself and yourself – is considered the same before it. Indeed, the very concept of human rights entails these rights applying to everyone equally, regardless of their gender or ethnicity or beliefs. That someone of Triggs’ standing doesn’t seem to understand or care is quite appalling.

It might be too optimistic to expect that if I say “I divorce you” three times, Triggs will disappear from Australian public life, but I think it’s worth the try.