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5 June 1992. Thought for the Week: "The outstanding instance of this ('black magic') is the hypnotism which has been exercised over the whole world by the financial system, so that almost without exception people have come to believe that bits of paper are more important than fields of grain, and figures in a book are a measure of the solid worth of a human individual and the only passport to a tolerable existence. But the hypnotism of finance, while perhaps the most important exhibit of black magic or the misuse of suggestion, is by no means alone, either in the mediaeval or the modern world."
C.H. Douglas, in Whose Service Is Perfect Freedom.
PUT REPUBLICANS UNDER THE SPOTLIGHT
by D. Thompson
While Sir Harry Gibbs and colleagues Dame Leonie Kramer and Alderman Doug Sutherland are to be congratulated on this new initiative, Australians loyal to the Crown must carefully consider their strategy in defending it. The debate should not be concentrated on the Monarchy the ground should be shifted, and focused on republicanism. It is not "Monarchy" that is a controversial issue. It should be emphasised that republicanism is the controversial issue, it is not taken for granted as the alternative to Monarchy.
The debate can be completely changed if the republicans can be forced to justify any demands that we change our system of government. Why a republic? Why a President? What sort of President, how is he to be appointed, what powers should he have over the people and how long should be his term? Or, as the distinguished Social Creditor, Dr. Geoffrey Dobbs, asks, are Australians to get rid of the Crown, and then buy "a pig in a poke" - any old political set up concocted by the set of politicians in 'power' at the time? Why not a dictatorship?
Do we want a republic after the German model, the U.S. model, or perhaps the Ugandan model? Once searching questions are raised, it is possible to begin to drive wedges into the republican movement, and exploit inevitable divisions among their ranks on proposed changes. For example, do Australians adore and trust politicians so much that they want one as the Symbol of the Nation? Should the Symbol of the Nation really be submitted to the dogfight of popular election every few years? If so, why not vote for other symbols, like the flag, every few years? Thus, at every point the republicans are challenged, and exposed to criticism, comparing their proposals to their disadvantage with the established, known, stable system of hereditary Monarchy which does not 'rule', as Dr. Dobbs points out, by interference with people's lives, but has residual powers only as safeguards against political chaos or oppression.
A REPUBLICAN CONSTITUTION
Winterton's proposal is therefore a dramatic departure from the present, and should be vigorously challenged. Leading republican Malcolm Turnbull is on record as declaiming that a president of a republic would have "no more executive powers than the present Governor General". However, in his republican constitution, Winterton offers a model in which a president would have far fewer powers than the Governor General now has. The Reserve Powers of the Crown almost completely disappear. It is these powers, which provide a bulwark against "the tyranny of Parliament". For example, Section 59, in which the Queen may disallow any law within a year of the Governor General's assent, disappears entirely in Winterton's draft. Section 60 also entirely disappears, and Section 58 partly disappears. These provide for the Queen withholding assent to laws, and laws reserved for the Queen's pleasure.
QUEEN'S POWERS "UNDEMOCRATIC"
In a penetrating letter to The Weekend Australian (30/5/92) Peter McDermott, Senior Lecturer in Law at Griffith University, points out that Professor Winterton's proposals would significantly enhance the powers of the Prime Minister at the expense of the Head of State - the President. Thus, the President would simply be a rubber stamp for an all-powerful executive. McDermott writes: "The real problem with the current (Winterton) proposals is that they would remove the reserve powers of the Crown which are a safeguard against unlawful executive action of a government that proposed to govern without supply, and correspondingly increase the powers of the Prime Minister. ... The doctrine of the divine right of kings is no more, but some politicians think until the next election that they have a divine right to pass all manner of laws that restrict our liberty."
Dr. Dobbs points out that unless republicans can agree upon a constitution, they will be revealed as being blindly anti-Monarchist. He writes: "In this process, many things will come up. They are certain to claim that an elected president is more 'democratic'; inviting a public discussion of the nature of democracy. Is it all a matter of small, numerical majorities achieved by rival propagandas? Was Sir John Kerr's power to refer a breakdown in government to the electorate 'undemocratic'? Was the electorate's strong endorsement of his action purely a matter of vote counting? Why are republicans so bitterly opposed to the power, which gave the people that opportunity, and what does this imply they will do if it is placed in the hands of a party politician? Kerr was a Labor nominee, but his action was that of the Crown. How they hated it!..."
APPLYING THE "BLOW-TORCH"
DRACONIAN ANTI-DISCRIMINATION ACT IN QUEENSLAND
In 1991 the Queensland Parliament passed (almost unnoticed) an anti-discrimination Act, which is just as draconian as anything passed in other States. The Act has not yet come into force, but a Mr. K.S. Levy, of the Queensland Attorney General's Department, anticipates that the Act will come into force in late June 1992. The provisions of the Act appear to make it illegal - and punishable - to discriminate on the basis of race, sexual preference, religion, marital status, ethnic origin, etc. It opens up the usual questions: Will landlords no longer be able to refuse to lease premises to couples in defacto relationships, or homosexual relationships? Will freedom of speech to debate controversial issues (like multiculturalism) be curtailed?
Questions are also raised about enforcement of
the Act. It provides for a Tribunal to hear complaints, which is not
bound by the usual standards of evidence. The Tribunal would have the
power to order the payment of damages as compensation. The proposed
Commission appears to remove the right of appeal to any court, and protect
its functionaries from any liability of their acts.
We suggest that Queenslanders urgently question their M.P's. about the new legislation. We are informed that the National Party has voted against it, but it is clear that they have not really opposed this Act vigorously. Urgent action is required.
STATE FORCED TO RELEASE KIDNAPPED CHILDREN
We have warned of the diabolical powers of State welfare departments over families since the accession to United Nations conventions like that on the Rights of the Child. The dawn raids on properties in Victoria and N.S.W. in which doors were kicked down, parents herded into separate rooms while their children were carried sleeping from their beds, and tearful scenes in courtrooms all confirm that no family is safe from the State. It was alleged by departmental staff that children were living in "rat infested" conditions with poor sanitation, and needed protection. An inspection of premises in which they lived indicated otherwise, with a N.S.W. magistrate confirming that living conditions were of a high standard. It was also alleged that children were subjected to sexual abuse. No evidence was ever produced. In fact, the same N.S.W. magistrate declared that the children seized were "delightful", "articulate" and "not having any suggestion of being terrified or horrified or under extreme stress".
It appears that families were under surveillance for some time before the children were taken. It should be noted that the children were taken, rather than the parents being charged with anything. The allegation was made that the group belonged to a sect - the Children of God. Indications are that the group held "fundamentalist Christian" views, and taught their own children at home. This, alone, may have been sufficient for the new commissars to step in, exercising horrifying powers that no bureaucrats should ever have. Irrespective of the merits of the beliefs of the parents in this case, it is a frightening demonstration of what may await parents who refuse to bend the knee to Big Brother.
RICHO OVERDOSES ON MATESHIP
Few tears will be shed for the political passing of Senator Graham Richardson. His service was distinguished by the perception that he brought the art of political thuggery to new depths at Cabinet level. In his resignation letter Richardson makes a number of interesting observations, including that "I have worked full time for the Labor Party for 20 years..." So much so, in fact, that like his former Prime Minister, his electorate was treated as numerical cannon fodder to enable Richardson to strut the political stage doing "deals" for "mates".
Mike Seccombe, writing in the Sydney Morning Herald (19/5/92) observed: "It is blindingly obvious to any follower of Richardson's career that it is built on favours and deals with vested interests and that his stewardship of the (Transport & Communications) portfolio was risky." It is ironic that in his resignation statement, Richardson appealed to principles for which he had previously shown little affection. He wrote: 'The whole basis of our system of justice is the certainty that no person is ever asked to prove themselves innocent. It has to be so, because it is impossible for anyone to prove they didn't know something. This basic principle of justice has evolved through centuries of application in free societies." Such principles were conveniently forgotten as a new wave of legislation passed through the Parliament, including new "human rights' tribunals, before which one is asked to prove one's innocence!
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