The concept finds its roots in the United Nations, and is predicated on the theory that “human rights determine the relationship between individuals and groups with valid claims (rightsholders) and State and non-state actors with correlative obligations (duty-bearers).” (UNICEF, 2004: 92). Its adoption by the United Nations as the framework by which its pursues its interventions is significant, in that it heralds a shift from a needs-based approach, i.e., looking at what people need, to looking at what people have an absolute inalienable right to, by virtue of being human. (Alston, 2003: 7). A rights-based approach imposes a duty on the State to uphold this right as a function of the social contract, whereas a “need-based” approach may not necessarily so. Central therefore to the RBA is the re-emergence of the state and governance as a central element in development (Baxi, 2005: 2), through a focus on the interrelation between the state and its citizens in terms of duties and rights. (Boesen and Martin, 2007: 9).
We now proceed to looking at the carbon tax issue, a controversial issue that has been the subject of much controversy and debate in Australia. The carbon tax is basically a levy that the government intends to impose on corporations that release carbon into the atmosphere. According to Nielson (2010: 7), “in theory, environmentally related taxes should be set at a level equal to the external environmental cost of a particular product or activity.” Essentially, this means that the cost to the environment is computed into the cost of manufacturing a commodity so as to create disincentives for “dirty companies” using environmentally-unsustainable technologies. ...Show more