Ex Justice Michael Kirby defines democracy in Australia as:
[a] sophisticated form of government which involves the general ability of the will of the majority to prevail but in a legal and social context in which the rights of vulnerable minorities are respected and defended
It must be argued that this succinct statement illustrates, expressly and implicitly, the potential for an inextricable relationship between democracy and human rights. The defending of human rights can only exist within a democracy, and conversely, the ability of anyone to raise their hand and claim a human right to be defended is a fundamental element of a democracy.
What are “human rights”? It must be argued that human rights are a mere concept, intangible ideals, principals within the realm of philosophy. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights says:
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights
It must be argued that there is a distinct difference between the concept of human rights and the interpretation and application of human rights in a social context.
The interpretation of our human rights can be derived from the UDHR, other HR treaties and subsequently our own state and federal laws. However the language used in these instruments is left intentionally vague and ambiguous to allow different meanings How to construct great arguments to be inferred from the words. As time progresses and the nature of a normative society changes, values, deviant and moral actions change, the law changes slowly after to accommodate for the change in society. Drinking alcohol and driving is a good contemporary example of this. When talking about The Constitution Justice Kirby says:
The words [of the Constitution] take on their colour with the change in circumstance and attitudes
So we are able to apply the concept of rights to our society through the judicial and legislative processes, which are the checks and balances within a democratic system. For example, we have a right to free speech at Article 12: