Features Australia

Aux bien pensants

13 November 2021

9:00 AM

13 November 2021

9:00 AM

Restoring constitutional governance in emergencies

Australia’s elites are now engaged in a travesty of public policy, so-called net zero emissions. Yet once Australians realise what it will cost, they are next to unanimous in their opposition. Meanwhile, the media have finally realised that most of the elites, especially the assorted shysters at Glasgow, enjoy CO2 footprints many times that of the rank-and-file. To justify this, they hide behind ‘offsets’, the global warming equivalent of tax avoidance or even evasion.

Worse than their hypocrisy, the elites also know that despite the formidable cost of net zero on the people, this will have zero effect on the temperature, while ensuring  Beijing’s genocidal multi-billionaires make a killing which the shysters hope to share. The elites brazenly hide these truths. Although taxpayers must fund the $20 billion Scott Morrison intends to waste on pie-in-the-sky schemes, he conceals the modelling he relies on as if it were a state secret.

One of the constant fictions used by politicians is that Australians are demanding action on climate change. In a poll by Resolve Strategic for the Sydney Morning Herald/Age, Australians were asked a rare question: ‘To what extent are you prepared to accept a personal cost in order to support action to reduce Australia’s emissions?’ Only 8 per cent (11 per cent Labor, 3 per cent Coalition) ticked ‘I am prepared to accept a significant personal cost’. That cost will be enormous; Morrison’s enemies on the left are now accusing him of hiding this.

While 15 per cent were undecided, 8 per cent said they were not prepared to accept a significant personal cost, but think others should. They clearly have the shysters firmly in mind. The 27 per cent who are not prepared to accept any significant personal cost, and think others shouldn’t, are already obviously aware net zero is a fraud.

This poll confirms that when the majority wake up to this, they will be unforgiving. With widespread Clive Palmer-funded advertising for Craig Kelly and the UAP, and with Alan Jones freeing himself from media managers, don’t be surprised if this is sooner rather than later.

Neither Adolph Hitler in 1933, nor Indira Gandhi in 1975, had the power to impose a state of emergency. They had at least to persuade an admittedly hopeless president, one senile and one a political rubber stamp, to do their bidding to make them dictators.

The Public Health and Wellbeing (Pandemic Management ) Bill, being rammed through the Victorian Parliament, will allow Daniel Andrews to do what neither Hitler nor Gandhi could, to impose his own state of emergency.

Apart from his government having by far the worst record in Australia in managing the Wuhan virus, and the largest number of unnecessary deaths, the Premier will be able, through his health minister, to exercise what the Victorian Bar warns will be an effectively unlimited power to rule by decree, for an effectively indefinite period, and without effective judicial or parliamentary oversight. The Bill even enables the minister to make orders targeting people on the basis of their political beliefs.

The Bill offends the very basis of the Westminster system which is that the prime minister or premier is merely primus inter pares, first among equals, in a government politically responsible to Parliament, appointed and dismissible by the Crown and ruling through advice to the constitutional guardian, the sovereign or her viceroy. When we imported much of our constitutional structure from the United States, it was the overwhelming decision of our founders, endorsed by the people, to reject the hallmark of the American system, the single person executive, president or governor. This was despite the fact that this office is limited in the United States by specially designed checks and balances.

Members of the Victorian Parliament and, in particular, those in the house of review (the Legislative Council) should be swayed neither by government pressure nor persuasion. This Bill needs careful consideration particularly with the obvious need to restore constitutional governance in Australia even during emergencies.

With the country returning to normal, it is surely time to reflect on how the nation handled the pandemic. It is unacceptable that decisions of such magnitude as closing down the NSW construction industry at a cost of $1.4 billion, without any supporting health advice, could be effected by a minister alone signing an order in his office. Such matters would once go to the Executive Council where the Governor would need to be assured that what was proposed was within his lawful power to approve. The order would have to be tabled in Parliament where either house could disallow it. These checks and balances applied in colonial times and even when we were at war. This is a significant part of the accumulated experience and wisdom which made Australia one of the handful of countries which constitute the world’s oldest continuing democracies.

Australians for Constitutional Monarchy fought the 1999 referendum for several reasons. But what was common to us and our allies was that what was being proposed was not a republic. Many of us believe, including John Howard and Tony Abbott, that we are already a republic, a crowned republic. What was on offer in 1999 was a politicians’ republic, in which the normal checks and balances would be significantly diminished. It would have been the only republic in history in which the president would be dismissible by the PM without notice, without grounds and without any right of appeal.

ACM is, as Tony Abbott has declared, ‘one of the constitution’s fiercest defenders’. With that in mind, and without taking any position on the various pandemic measures, ACM is now calling for a re-examination of the processes of constitutional governance during emergencies.

An opinion from an eminent former judge, the Hon. Kenneth Handley QC, has been posted to the ACM website. This will be a principal theme of the ACM’s National Conference, the 22nd since the referendum, to be held  on 6 December 2021. Details will soon be posted.

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