Have you ever read it? Willingly, I mean. No? I’m not surprised .You’re really not meant to. The fewer people who know about the constitution the better and the less they know, the better. So, if hardly anyone knows or cares, why bother? Does it make any difference? Well, if the aborigines want to be included, and others want a Bill of Rights, some must think it has relevance. And then there are the Republicans. So let’s have a look, and a think.
The constitution is basically the rule book. Out of squabbling colonies, pro- and anti- free traders, came a compromise. New Zealand said “no thanks” and WA almost did. After several public meetings, what we have now was agreed to and in 1900, became UK law, That’s where the problems began. In 1901, Victoria died and, it seems, without giving Royal Assent to the bill. Despite this legal aberration, not corrected until 1917, the colonies went ahead anyway. Typical Aussies.
Like all compromises, there were flaws. The new entity, Australia, would be governed by three tiers: the High Court, the Senate and the House of Representatives. The colonies became states. This threw uniformity out of the window; the most absurd example being railway gauges: each state had its own, narrow or broad, so at the borders, rolling stock had to be changed which became a massive impediment to transportation. These differences were, and still are, repeated across the gamut of state and federal powers. Australia does not have a uniform health, education and legal system. How confusing are the road rules?.
Sitting on top is the High Court, supposedly a separate entity under the concept of separation of powers. But is it? Parliament determines appointments to the bench which, as in the USA, means political bias. The electorate has no direct say. The same is true of the appointments of Governors-General and many other taxpayer funded positions. But the biggest weakness is that the HC cannot initiate anything. Despite being the final word on the legality or otherwise of laws passed by Parliament, they have to wait until a law is challenged. Forget “The Castle” – have you any idea how much this costs? It is beyond the financial resources of most voters who are affected by these laws. In short, the HC is nothing more than a forum for vested interests to influence legislation. One example will suffice:
In the post WW2 era, the USA flooded Europe with cash to rebuild. Out of generosity? Don’t you believe it. To reinforce this, they created the World Bank, the IMF, and the Central Bank system, all responsible to the US Congress. In the 1950s, Ike leant on both Menzies and Evatt to set up an Australian central Bank which they duly did in 1959 with the Reserve Bank. Up until then, these responsibilities, of stabilising the currency and regulating interest rates, had been vested to the Commonwealth Bank and overseen by parliament – usually, the treasurer. This structure was the brainchild of Senator King O’Malley (Tas) who also initiated the foundation of Canberra, and complied with the federal powers of the constitution. The 1959 Act undid this and led to the sell off of the CBA by the Keating Government – another disaster. Now, the so-called “independent” RBA owes allegiance only to the US dominated Central Bank system, run by the US Federal Reserve. When that act was passed, Australia became a US economic colony. This has never been challenged in the HC and should be.
The Parliamentary tier is another flaw. There is no way that our system can be remotely associated with the concept of “democracy” – one vote one value. Not one so-called democratic body complies with this basic principal. From the Senate ( the anomaly is obvious) to Local Government, democracy does not apply. The voting system as determined by Parliament (State and Federal) deliberately favours the two party system. Of late, voters have woken up to this fraud, but can only influence Upper Houses leaving the Lower Houses, which form government, largely untouched. Queensland is the exception having abolished their upper house with negative consequences.
It is easy to be critical, harder to propose alternatives. However, here goes:
- All taxpayer-funded positions must be scrutinised by non-parliamentary bodies who are themselves appointed by non-parliamentary bodies
- The HC must be able to scrutinise all legislation when passed into law by Parliament
- Reform of the AEC and the whole electoral system is long overdue
- There MUST be a standing Royal Commission with full legal powers with the brief to monitor the whole system, local government to the G-G.
thanks for listening