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12 April 1991. Thought for the Week: (The Royal form of government)..." is not a new idea. It is as old as human civilisation, and for that very reason provides the surest available means of preserving, not only our civilisation as such, but all true humanity as well. Being British or being loyal to the throne is no mere matter of sentiment; it has to do with a basic ideal of social life, and with a fully enlightened attachment to the highest ideal of democracy that the life of man has ever known. Nor has that ideal essentially to do with a single land or language or class. It is an ideal of universal significance relating to man as such. That we others should find it enshrined in the British monarchy we share is due, not to any claim that the ideal of itself is the monopoly of the British, but to the historical fact that it is in the British monarchical order that a certain universal ideal has been preserved and most highly developed."
John Farthing in Freedom Wears A Crown
THE PASSING OF SIR JOHN KERR
It is a reflection on the depths to which Australian political life has sunk in Australia that the family of Sir John Kerr, former Governor General, felt that they should have Sir John buried privately immediately following his death, in case a public funeral provoked a further outburst of a type of malignant hostility which had followed his courageous decision in 1975 to use the reserve powers of the Crown to withdraw the commission of a government which was no longer capable of obtaining from the Parliament the money necessary to carry on the government of the nation.
Former Prime Minister Gough Whitlam revealed the type of individual he is by studiously ignoring the death of a man he once described as his friend. Whitlam and those of his colleagues who could not bring themselves to show in any way their sympathy for the Kerr family reflected a destructive meanness of spirit and a lack of traditional civilised behaviour.
Irrespective of how he felt personally, Governor General Mr. Bill Hayden, a man whose general attitude appears to reflect a more pro- Monarchist stance than in the past, was naturally present at the memorial service for Sir John Kerr, this in itself reflects the reality of the continuity of the institution of Monarchy. Some of Mr. Hayden's reported statements since his appointment as the Queen's representative in Australia, indicate that his experiences as Governor General have convinced him of the value of the Monarchy to the national life of Australians. Even some of Sir John Kerr's most bitter critics have conceded that he had a brilliant career both as a lawyer and a judge. But he committed the unpardonable "crime" of allegedly turning against his former Labor friends, casting them into the political wilderness in a most "undemocratic" manner.
Although Gough Whitlam's Minister for Labour, a former Trotskyite Jim McClelland, a master of biting invective, suggests in his malicious autobiography, Stirring the Possum, that Sir John Kerr may have acted illegally in withdrawing Gough Whitlam's commission to continue governing, it is difficult to quote any lawyer prepared to deny that Sir John Kerr did not have the constitutional power to dismiss the Whitlam Government. The general argument has been that Sir John's action was contrary to convention, a view held by even some non-Labor supporters. The fact that this view has been vigorously put forward merely demonstrates that over the years there has been a weakening of an understanding of the traditional role of the Monarchy in the type of constitution system which Australia shares with countries like New Zealand, Canada and the United Kingdom.
As Governor General, Sir John Kerr was faced with a battle for power between two men, Prime Minister Gough Whitlam, determined to hang on to power in the face of mounting electoral opposition, and Opposition leader Malcolm Fraser with an ego as great as that of Whitlam. Fraser wanted power as soon as possible and with a majority in the Senate was able to block supply. Irrespective of what one thought of Fraser's motives, he was acting in accordance with the Constitution. A national crisis developed as Whitlam refused to resign, making his position quite clear to the Governor General, while Fraser appeared to be threatening the Governor General if he did not act to have an election called.
Sir John Kerr was a man of vast experience. He knew of the basic issues involved. His was a lonely position, one where of necessity he had to keep his own counsel while hopefully some compromise could be effected. Critics like the bitter Jim McClelland have claimed that all that Sir John Kerr was doing was preparing to spring an "ambush", that he had deliberately misled Gough Whitlam. There is no evidence to support these and equally unfounded charges; one being that the C.I.A. had actually masterminded the whole affair.
Sir John Kerr, the man who rose from
a Labor Party background to become the Queen's representative,
became a convinced Monarchist, and did his duty aware of the
risk of involving the Queen in any party political power struggle.
He took full responsibility for his actions, pointing out
that there was only one way to resolve a growing and potentially
dangerous national crisis, and that was by making it possible
for the Australian electors to decide whether they wanted
the Whitlam Government to continue or not.
The League of Rights was the only movement in Australia, which campaigned openly in support of Sir John Kerr, and his distinguished role as the Queen's representative, stressing the protection provided by the heritage of Constitutional Monarchy. It is well to reflect deeply on this issue at a time when Fabian Bob Hawke and others announce their intention of working towards "reforming" the Federal Constitution. The only reform necessary is to devise ways and means of preventing power hungry politicians from devising more ways and means of subverting, a Constitution which is basically sound. We salute the passing of Sir John Kerr, a distinguished Australian who steadfastly remained faithful to the nation's constitutional heritage.
THE HORSHAM DECLARATION
A widely representative audience, with some of those present travelling over a hundred miles, made history on Tuesday, April 2nd, in the Horsham Town Hall, when a ten point resolution was carried without one dissenting vote. The resolution was handed to all those arriving at the rally, enabling them time to read and to consider. The chairman then allowed adequate time for questioning by all those attending.
Federal National Party Member for the Mallee, Mr. Peter Fisher, was present but neither asked any questions nor voted. Some members of the Uniting Church who attended were incensed by the attempt of the local Uniting Church Pastor to sabotage the rally by advertising before the rally that if people wanted to know about the background of the League of Rights, a document could be obtained at the office of the Church. The document being made available was the notorious and discredited Senator Boswell statement in the Senate in 1988. Organisers of the Horsham Rally had supplies of the special February 1989 Survey, exposing the Boswell and associated smears, distributed on all seats in the Horsham Town Hall before the rally started. Extra supplies were available for those who wished to take away to distribute.
Mr. Jim Cronin, the South Australian primary producer and miner, who has evolved the Bank Watch campaign, spoke first and drew attention to the recently published book, Bank Watch, which outlined what everyone could do concerning banking practices. This book is now available from all League bookshops for $4.00 posted. Mr. Eric Butler said that his role was to outline a short-term programme which, while not adequate for solving all of Australia's long term problems, would unite the maximum number of people in favour of steps which would provide immediate relief to all sections of the community and, most important, lift national morale. "The first essential," said Eric Butler, "is to take steps to stop the nation from bleeding to death." Third speaker, Barry Tattersall, gave a brilliant exposition of how Australia's political system had been designed to operate, with electors effectively controlling their elected representatives, but how this had been perverted by the modern rigid party system. Barry Tattersall's exposition is so clear and readily understood that his address is to be published in booklet form as quickly as possible, for wide national distribution.
Of the many highlights of what in retrospect will be seen as an historic national event, none was more inspiring than the six young people who said they had to leave before the finish, but who before they left clustered round the literature table and between them bought approximately $200 worth of books, borrowing one from the other to obtain the widest possible range of books, and then taking a quantity of League Surveys for general distribution. Our congratulations to the local organisers who by hard work made the Horsham Rally a successful start for what will develop into a national campaign.
The tragedy of the Kurdish people highlights yet one more example of the problems of multicultural societies. Approximately 25 million people of Kurdish background have long sought to become a nation. While President George Bush is belatedly attempting to provide humanitarian support for the Kurdish people, he cannot wash his hands of some responsibility for the current tragedy. The Kurds clearly believed that, with Bush's open appeal to the people of Iraq to overthrow Saddam Hussein, they should seize the opportunity to stage a major revolt. But the Washington policy makers do not really want that revolt to succeed, fearing that the dismemberment of Iraq would leave the Middle East more destabilised than ever. The reality is that the military defeat of Saddam Hussein has, as we warned, increased, not decreased, the Middle East crisis.
NEWS & VIEWS
BANKS IN THE DOCK from
BANK OFFICERS MISLEAD COURTS
"So we have a Constitutional Convention seeking ways to change our Constitution behind closed doors. "Australians beware - the Constitution is your law over the Parliament, and it can only be legally changed by your say so in a referendum. Protest loud and long at this attempt to grab power without your permission. "Demand citizen initiated referendum power to correct faulty High Court decisions and stop connivance between the States and Canberra to transfer power illegally." (Denis Collins, Independent Member for Greatorex, Alice Springs)
Our Comment: Mr. Collins is not fully correct when he asserts that the Constitution can only be legally changed by referendum, as written in our Constitution. The key word is "legally". For example, the Constitution lays down the power of the States over waters. Section 100 asserts: "The Commonwealth shall not, by any law or regulation of trade or commerce, abridge the right of a State or of the residents therein to the reasonable use of the waters of rivers for conservation or irrigation. This has been upended by the Heritage Act, based on a United Nations Convention (a "treaty" between Australia and the United Nations) and validated by the High Court of Australia. Hence, the Australian Constitution has been over-ridden by a legal trick: the inspiration of the late Dr. Evatt, a former Leader of the Opposition back in the 1950s. We refer (above) of course to the Tasmanian Franklin Dam ruling from the High Court (end of comment).
"With the Constitutional Conference under way in Sydney it is timely for our learned leaders to consider a proposed safeguard for inclusion in the Australian Constitution. The safeguard is the citizens' initiated 'recall'. This mechanism would give us, the people, by way of petition (similar to citizens' initiated referenda) the right to remove bearers of public office who have failed in their responsibilities to the nation as a whole. "Maybe the powers of recall should be broadened to rid us of our hopelessly incompetent governments." (Tim Slater, Booragoon, W.A.)
"There can be no better proof that Bush's new world order is really the same old cynical realpolitik than the despicable treatment of the Kurds. I suppose it's because they haven't got any oil. Come to think of it, neither do East Timor, Tibet, Palestine, Sri Lanka, Mozambique, Sudan." (Colin Ford, Nimbin, N.S.W.)IDEALISTS SUFFER
"Isn't it nice when the A.L.P. and the Liberals agree on something? Both parties agree that families where mother stays out of the workforce to care for her children at home should not get a subsidy or tax reduction. "Meanwhile, those who dump their offspring in government childcare centres are heavily subsidised. If you believe in the traditional family, this country's major parties are committed to making you suffer for idealism. (Arnold Jago, Mildura, Vic.)
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