Flat White

Cooperative federalism is dead

24 November 2021

12:07 PM

24 November 2021

12:07 PM

It seems that in the interest of ALP politics, Annastacia Palaszczuk, the Queensland Premier, decided earlier this week to further depress the Australian economy by imposing a $145 covid test on interstate visitors. The object of this test is not to protect anyone from the dread Wuhan virus. It is to ensure that there is a raging fight with the federal Liberal-National government which she believes will influence the voters in Queensland away from Morrison’s conservative style — particularly when she flicked the bill away from the visitors to Canberra.

A similar strategy was evident in the Daniel Andrews Victorian legislation which would have granted him extensive dictatorial powers while elevating him to the status of Chairman and beyond parliamentary control. Had the allegedly corrupt branch stacker, Adem Somyurek, not abandoned the Labor position, Andrews may well have succeeded in making a federal Australia ungovernable and brought down the Morrison government.

Ungovernable is precisely what Palaszczuk is aiming at. The bigger the fight between Canberra and Brisbane, the more likely it is that the only message Queenslanders will hear will be Palaszczuk’s squealing voice telling everyone how far she and her deputy, grunter Miles, are prepared to go in order to protect lives.

Both she and Andrews have such a lust for the perks of government and such an appalling understanding of the dangers to our Nation that their unprincipled lusts unleash, that the federal government ignores them at its peril. We have to go back almost 50 years to the time of the same self-serving unprincipled Premier of Queensland Joh Bjelke-Petersen who was quite prepared to sacrifice Australia in order to protect his own selfish interest dressed in the sheer nylon of Queensland.

Perhaps it is ironic that it is now two Labor Party Premiers who adopt the same unprincipled measures that their despised National Party adversary Bjelke-Petersen so skilfully unleashed on Whitlam.

In one important sense, Scott Morrison has brought this on himself; as a Liberal National Party Prime Minister, he actually trusted the ALP to play honestly and abide by civilised rules of cooperative federalism that the interests of all Australia deserved. Morrison never noticed that the ALP still cling, irrationally to Marx’s class struggle. They may have abandoned Marx’s solution, but the classs struggle rings loudly in the minds of the trade union class and their anti-capitalist green electoral power base.

However, it is not too late for the PM to act and he can win if he is prepared to fight. By fighting, I mean that he must now tell the Australian people that these two dictators are tearing the constitutional fabric of our federal scheme apart, that they are acting illegally and that he will defend the Constitution. He must convince the Australian people that if these Premiers get their way, it could mean the end of our Constitution and the end of our Nation. Our Constitution was drafted to protect our nation against just such people, but the Constitution has to be defended.

The imposition of an expensive covid test on interstate travellers is a breach of the Constitution, despite Palaszczuk’s attempt to put lipstick on the pig and dress it as a pandemic policy. That breach would not disappear if a cheaper test was imposed.

The Commonwealth should legislate to overrule Palaszczuk’s breach of our absolutely free interstate trade. As it is still possible that Andrews dictatorial law will pass the Victorian Parliament, provisions should also be included in the Commonwealth law to close off the possibilities for pandemic declarations under that State’s police powers.

Should either Victoria or Queensland force the Commonwealth’s hand, the Commonwealth must be prepared to fight the matter in the High Court. Perhaps it must also consider going to the people to obtain that authority, something that the two Premiers have not bothered to do probably because they know they would fail.

Despite my previous criticism, the Australian people deserve to know that the Commonwealth has, at all times, acted very reasonably and in accordance with the accepted notion of co-operative federalism; in some cases, far too reasonably. It is time to recognise that cooperative federalism is dead; it was killed off by the states’ lust for power.

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