Monday, 22 July 2019

The USA has a First Lady but does Australia have one?

Well, on 10 July 2019, 10 News First's Amber Austin-Wright believes so (see movie below).

This novel belief occurs from time to time in the media. However, they are so wrong!

Firstly, Australia is not a republic, rather, it is a Constitutional Monarchy and has been so since Federation on 1 January 1901.

That said, Amber should take a look at Australia's Table of Precedence of 5 October 1982 (see below)

The Prime Minister is third on the list; that would make the wife of the Prime Minister the 3rd Lady and not the First Lady would it not!

And here's another point. What if Australia were to be a republic what then? Surely the wife of a President of an Australian republic would be the First Lady and not the wife of a Prime Minister.

Two more people from the media now assert that the wife of the Australian Prime Minister is "the first lady". They are 2GB's Luke Grant and Nine News UK Correspondent Amelia Adams. The following is a small burst from a discussion they had about the recent G7 summit in Biarritz, France.

When will the media learn?

Further information about the Table of Precedence is available here.

Thursday, 4 January 2018

The Red Bandana Man Kerrtsies to Professor Jenny Hocking

Recently,  Peter FitzSimons wrote an article titled "Monarchists can't pretend the royals are just a symbol" and which was published in the Brisbane Times on 16 October 2017.

FitzSimons stated "As revealed by The Herald,  after extraordinary sleuthing in the bowels of the British archives, Professor Hocking describes how Sir Michael Palliser, who was the incoming permanent under-secretary of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, turned up in Canberra four weeks before the Dismissal to meet Sir John Kerr and the British High Commissioner, Sir Morris James."

It is true that on Friday, 17 October 1975  both gentlemen did in fact call on the Governor-General. Those with some Vice-Regal nous would refer to these people as "callers" and part of some days would be set aside for such meetings - it's quite a normal procedure for the Governor-General and each of the State Governors. On that morning, Palliser and James were hotly followed by the High Commissioner for Canada,  the Ambassador of Ireland and a Mr Lang, head of the West Europe section of the Department of Foreign Affairs (see below).
Government House Vice-Regal Notes  for Friday, 17 October 1975
These meetings would have be relatively short, and apart from the Governor-General himself and those he spoke with, others would not be aware of what was said in any of those meetings.

It would be an extremely long bow to draw to suggest that Palliser and James discussed such matters as detailed above and outlined by FitzSimons.

FitzSimons further stated "Here we have two unelected Brits, discussing with one unelected Australian, the fate of Australia's duly elected government."

How would he know what was discussed at that meeting?

In his book Monarchy and the end of Empire, The House of Windsor, The British Government, and the post war Commonwealth, Philip Murphy writes:

"Kerr took the decision to dismiss Whitlam without consulting the Queen, and only informed the Palace retrospectively. In the early hours of 11 November, Sir William Heseltine, the Queen's assistant private secretary, received a telephone call in London from Kerr's private secretary, David Smith, informing him of the news.  Heseltine attempted to rouse Martin Charteris without success, and he decided against waking the Queen. Before Heseltine had the opportunity to pass on the news, Charteris took a call from Whitlam, and greeted him as 'Prime Minister'. Although initially irritated at having been caught out in this way, Charteris later agreed with Heseltine when they spoke for the first time at about 8.00am, that his innocent mistake might actually have proved helpful in demonstrating to Whitlam that the Palace was not engaged in plotting the downfall of the Labor government. Heseltine and Charteris then went and jointly conveyed the news to the Queen so that she would not learn about the matter from the morning's news."

Given that and given that there was no universal outrage around Australia as a result of FitzSimons' assertions, it can only be said that this was another of those red bandana wet blanket moments!

Saturday, 24 June 2017

The People Have Lost Faith In Their Elected Public Servants

It’s nearly a year since the last Federal election was held. The Liberal/National coalition was beset with a loss of 14 seats leaving the coalition with 76 seats; just one above 75 to gain government.

It was a win by a whisker!

Under Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership, and with the use of a presidential style logo bearing Malcolm Turnbull’s name (the Australian flag was tossed aside), the coalition managed to lose 14 seats which pales into insignificance when compared with that of the former leader of the coalition, Prime Minister Tony Abbott, where the coalition managed to secure 17 additional seats  at the previous federal election!

Ever since Turnbull tripped over the line, it appears that the electorate at large has become disenfranchised, not only with the coalition but with labor as well.

The people now appear to be entirely lost with the electoral process and have also become disenchanted with the apparent incompetence of our federal, state and territory elected public servants.

The focus during election campaigns has tended to be swamped by the leaders of the political parties rather than with those people who are putting themselves forward for a chance to represent the people of the various federal electoral divisions.

A point to make here is that, like the phrase “head of state”, the phrase “prime minister” does not appear in Australia’s constitution.

In other words, there is no provision in the constitution for the people to elect their Prime Minister. 

At election time, the job for the people is to elect a person to represent them in their particular federal division of which currently total 150.

That said, maybe there are other ways the people could be better engaged with the electoral process. Here are some ideas that could be considered.

First up, the launches of each of the political parties manifestoes should occur simultaneously so that the stealing of ideas is restricted.

A. The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC), at public cost, should be responsible for the organising of “Town Hall” meetings in each of the electoral Divisions so that each of the candidates for a particular Division can:

1. Inform the people of any political party they represent and/or have represented in the past or state that they are an independent candidate.

2. Present a 5 minute presentation of their Manifesto to the people of that Division.

3. Be subject to questioning by the people of that Division for no more than10 minutes.

B. These meetings should be held simultaneously across the country and that the only people who can attend those meetings must be on the electoral role of that particular Division.

C. The AEC is to provide a pamphlet to all attendees of the meeting and is to detail the information of each candidate including a photo of the candidate, political party alliance, contact details and a summary of their manifesto. An electronic version of the pamphlet is to be made available on the AEC website.

D. A video and/or audio record of the meeting is to be made and can only be aired/screened/streamed on the next day after the meeting and is to be made available up until polling day.

All other costs for running as a candidate shall be the sole responsibility of the candidates themselves. This action is to prevent people from  running for office and gaining monies if they don’t win the vote in their Division as is the case now.

Sunday, 10 July 2016

Stranger than Strange: What is our Malcolm up to now?

Back on 11 November 2015, Prime Minister Turnbull was asked the following doorstop question from the media:
  • Prime Minister, on the Dismissal - we all say things we regret when we're 21, but do you still think the Governor-General is, I quote, “an unelected ribbon cutter" and did this event form your views on an Australian republic?
The Prime Minister responded:
    • Look I think if the Queen's reign comes to an end and the Constitution is in the form it is today, Prince Charles will become our Head of State.   He's not our Head of State. I see the Opposition Leader referred to him as a visiting Head of State.   He's not the Head of State.   The Queen is the Head of State, Prince Charles is her heir and our Constitution, as you know, says that the Queen in effect our Head of State, is whoever happens to be the King or Queen of the United Kingdom.   So if Charles becomes the King of the United Kingdom, as I’ve got no doubt he will be, unless our Constitution has been changed, he will become the King of Australia.   

    From this, we can ascertain that, in Malcolm Turnbull's eyes, the Queen of Australia is our Head of State.

    That said, and more recently as 2 June 1916 with the repatriation of 32 war dead from both Malaysia and Vietnam - including two spouses and 6 children - both Bill Shorten and Malcolm Turnbull chose not to attend the "bringing them home ceremony" held at RAAF Base Richmond, NSW.

    However, Bill Shorten did apologise for not attending the repatriation of Vietnam war dead ceremony but Malcolm Turnbull, who also did not attend, simply stated "The Australian government, the Australian people, were represented by our head of state, by the Governor-General, Peter Cosgrove, who is the highest office holder in our nation and who served in Vietnam and won a Military Cross there."
    Listen to Radio 2GB 2:00PM news of Friday, 3 June 2016 for verification:

    On the Alan Jones show on Wednesday, 8 June 2016, Malcolm Turnbull confirmed that the Governor-General, Sir Peter Cosgrove, is definitely Australia's head of state.
    For further verification listen to Radio 2GB Alan Jones show on Wednesday, 8 June 2016

    But Malcolm Turnbull does have form.

    The Seven Network's Face to Face programme (Sunday, 23 November 1997) chaired by David Koch and helped along admirably by John Stanley (2UE) and Louise Dodson (Financial Review) successfully managed to give Malcolm Turnbull (Australian Republican Movement) a free half hour of self-indulgence to inform us, amongst other things, that a republic is NOT inevitable.

    For verification watch the following movie.

    In the ABC-TV 7.30 Report interview with Malcolm Turnbull conducted by Kerry O'Brien. Monday, 29 November 1999, Malcolm Turnbull now claims that a republic IS inevitable! The programme focused on his latest Book.

    For verification watch the following movie.

    It is hard to understand where Malcolm is at on the republic issue.

    So the latest thing is that the Governor-General, Sir Peter Cosgrove, is our Head of State. Sir Peter is also an Australian.

    As the Queen's representative, Sir Peter is also the Commander-in-Chief!

    If that is the case then we have an Australian as Head of State and that there is now no need for Malcolm to pursue the republic dream anymore.

    The Australian Republic Movement's Peter Fitzsimons must be spitting chips!

    One can only wonder why the 4th estate hasn't cottoned on to this.

    Thursday, 19 February 2015


    Back on 31 March 2014, Judith Kerr, in an article in the Redland City Bulletin, advised that (Andrew) Laming airs republican view.

    The article went on to say in part:

    Andrew Laming, the member for the Federal Division of Bowman, declared that he was a republican just five days after Prime Minister Tony Abbott reinstated knights and dames into the Australian honour system.

    Mr Laming said the best thing about being a republican was enjoying a steamy autumn day by the pool in Redlands while other MPs were in Canberra for the swearing in of the country's 26th Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove on Friday.

    Sir Peter was the first man to be knighted under Mr Abbott's revived honours system.

    On Tuesday, 3 February 2015 the following blog appeared on Andrew Laming's website:

    Federal Member for Bowman Andrew Laming has today announced he will introduce a Private Members’ Bill, abolishing Knights and Dames from the Australian Honours System.
    Mr Laming said today’s decision to make the Order of Australia Council solely responsible for honours awards, including Knighthoods and Dames, was “inadequate”.
    “Today’s announcement has failed to address the concerns and feelings of the electorate at large,” Mr Laming said.
    He said the bill would call for the termination of any future Australian knighthoods and dames, while retaining all current recipients of the honour.
     The bill would reaffirm the Order of Australia (OA) as the nation’s highest award, as was the case with the previous system, he said.
    “I will be submitting this bill to the Selection Committee in the coming days,” Mr Laming said.
    But what is Mr Laming wanting? He has said that "to make the Order of Australia Council solely responsible for honours awards was  "inadequate". Clearly, he believes that some other organisation, e.g. the Parliament, be involved.
    He also seems to be confused about what the Order of Australia is. One thing it is not is an award in itself. It is an order established by Letters Patent under the Queen's sign manual. The Order consists of several levels i.e. Knight/Dame, Companion, Officer, Member and Medal of the Order. Mr Laming should also note that the Victoria Cross for Australia is the highest award in Australia's Honours system!
    The recent spill of the Liberal Party on 9 February brought to light the numerous back bench republicans such as the likes of Mr Laming and his front bench republican friends  Malcolm Turnbull and Julie Bishop. Coupled with the Australia Day's honour to Prince Philip, these people, along with much of the media in complete hysteria and sounding like a bunch of squawking sulphur crested cockatoos on the fly, left much amusement for others.
    On reflection, Mr Laming should consider this. At the 1999 republican referendum the constituents of the federal division for Bowman handed in a resounding 61% NO vote; additionally, there was not one Polling Place that gave a YES vote!
    Maybe Mr Laming would like to reconsider his desire to submit his bill into the Parliament given that information.

    Monday, 16 September 2013

    Can MALCOLM TURN BULL into GOLD Ingots?

    Can Malcolm turn bull into gold ingots?

    Probably not; but he certainly can spin!

    Back in June 2013, Malcolm Turnbull, the Liberal Party’s failed opposition leader, and Australia’s best “worst” treasurer ever, Wayne Swan, fronted up together to a media pantomime to spruik a “fresh” push for a republic.

    Wayne Swan warbled his defence of a republic with little or no technical reason for change but pointed to a recent OECD survey which indicated that Australia is the best place to live. That being the case, why would one want to change the existing stable form of government that allowed for such an assessment?

    Malcolm, on the other hand, played on constitutional technical aspects to try and convince us to make change to a republic and also offered up the cyber sphere as a probable way to seek more engagement to achieve that end.

    But Malcolm's assertions about the history of the evolvement of the Australian crown are obscure and don't reflect reality. Anything said by Malcolm at this pantomime meeting becomes transparently void if one reads the Final Report of the Constitutional Commission 1988. This report was authored by Sir Maurice Byers CBE QC, Professor Enid Campbell OBE, The Hon Sir Rupert Hamer KCMG, The Hon E G Whitlam AC QC and Professor Leslie Zines and offers the correct pathway of evolvement of Australia from colony/dominion to an independent and sovereign country.

    The 1988 Constitutional Commission also stated that:
    The disappearance of the British Empire has therefore meant that the Queen is now Sovereign of a number of separate countries such as the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea, amongst others. As Queen of Australia she holds an entirely distinct and different position from that which she holds as Queen of the United Kingdom or Canada. The separation of these 'Crowns' is underlined by the comment of Gibbs CJ in Pochi v Macphee[104] that 'The allegiance which Australians owe to Her Majesty is owed not as British subjects but as subjects of the Queen of Australia.'
    But Malcolm's rash and insane support for Global Warming and hate of the Australian crown is buried in his DNA.

    He wants the crown out of the way so that Australia can be absorbed by some monolithic global government and supports Global Warming so that companies such as Goldman Sachs can make money out of markets such as the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme and which has done so since its inception in 2005.

    The moral of the story here is that you should never believe everything that Malcolm Turnbull says is the gospel truth!

    Friday, 14 June 2013

    Challenging Constitutional Changes

    When it comes to constitutional change, very few Australians would understand the significance of the numbers 44 and 8.

    Those who dabble in constitutional matters know only too well what these figures represent; the first is the number of proposals that have been put to the people of the Commonwealth (of Australia) for approval to change our Constitution, the latter is the number of proposals that have been approved in accordance with section 128 of the Constitution.

    Not exactly a great batting average given that the Federation has been in place for some 112 years! 

    Indeed, the Hon W Trenwith, Minister for Public Works (Victoria), at a luncheon held in Sydney on 5 January 1901 to celebrate the Federation of the Commonwealth of Australia stated the following in respect of the Constitution (The Inaugural Celebrations of the Commonwealth of Australia, William Applegate Gullick, 1904, Page 175):

    “ ...... that while it is not too pliant and cannot be easily altered, it provides the machinery for doing anything the people of the continent may desire

    Noting that all of the eight referenda passed to date have achieved more than 54.38% Australia-wide, four additional proposed referenda, which achieved more than 50% overall, did not gain the necessary majority of states in each case.

    All of the eight successful referenda received bipartisan support and 50% of the eight successful referenda were conducted concurrently with an election. The bulk of these proposals were under the sponsorship of conservative governments.

    However, bipartisan support doesn’t automatically guarantee that a referendum will succeed.

    The 1977 referendum on Simultaneous Elections gained 62.22% of the votes but was not carried in a majority of states. This failed referendum and two other failed referenda, Parliament Nexus (1967) and Aviation (1937), also received bipartisan support (G Grainger, K Jones, The Australian Constitutional Monarchy, ACM Publishing, 1994, Table 2).

    While it is acknowledged that a referendum could be passed with the smallest of margins it may require that each of the 6 states approve the referendum. This matches the establishment of the Constitution itself in the late 1890s.

    While only 52% of the people supported the Australian Constitution then, and despite that most women and many aboriginals were excluded from voting (G Williams, The High Court and the People, Tomorrow's Law,  Federation Press, 1995, 271), the constitution was approved in each of the 6 colonies.

    Currently, there are two proposed changes to the constitution in waiting. They are for the recognition of Local Government and recognition of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

    A third proposal is an amendment to the Referendum (Machinery Provisions) Act to allow for the conduct of citizens initiated referenda. This is a proposed amendment to an existing Act of the Commonwealth Parliament and, therefore, is not a referenda in itself.

    Additionally, and well away in the background, the chattering classes are still venting the need for some, as yet undefined, republic.

    The concept of constitutional recognition for local government has been put to the Australian people on two occasions; first in 1974 (46.85%) and then again in 1988 (33.48%).

    Both of these failed proposals were under the sponsorship of the Labor Party (G Grainger, K Jones, The Australian Constitutional Monarchy, ACM Publishing, 1994, Table 2).

    On 9 May 2013, Prime Minister Gillard announced that a referendum will be held on election day (14 September 2013) on the constitutional recognition of local government.

    The actual wording of the referendum question and the actual proposed changes to the Constitution are not yet known. None-the-less, the unintended consequences of such a bill could prove to be quite damaging. Local Government is a creature of the States and any change as proposed could lead to conflict between the States and the Commonwealth. Ironically, the Commonwealth is also a creature of the States (Colonies)!

    The possibility of this getting up on a third attempt is remote given the results so far. The people of the Commonwealth will be unlikely to shower more power on the Commonwealth Parliament given the ever increasing incompetence and mismanagement of taxpayers money by the incumbent government. 

    However, the indigenous proposal may have a chance - but not in its present format as proposed by the Expert Panel.

    It should be remembered that the 1999 preamble proposal suffered a more disastrous defeat than that of the republic proposal which was battered to near death by the Australian people.

    The Labor government has given support for such a proposal as has the Leader of the Opposition. Tony Abbott has promised to bring forward for consultation a draft amendment to the Constitution recognising Indigenous Australians within 12 months of office should his party gain government in September.

    Much, if not all, of the Expert's Panel recommendations could be retained in a revamped version which may ensure support of the indigenous Australians. Equally, the several proposed changes should be desirable enough to gain an effective compromise and, therefore, bring a majority of Australians on board for a successful conclusion.

    One major consideration would be to annex the Statute of Westminster and both the Australia Acts as schedules to the constitution. Most Australians would be unaware that with the power from the Australia Acts, the Commonwealth Parliament, by Acts supported by the state Parliaments, can amend the provision in the Statute of Westminster that precludes it from amending the Commonwealth Constitution, the covering clauses or the preamble (Richard E McGarvie, Democracy, choosing Australia’s republic, Melbourne University Press, 1999, Page 257).

    Undertaking this proposal would ensure that the people of the Commonwealth would have total sovereignty over their constitutional arrangements. It could also give access to the existing preamble via section 128 of the constitution to include a suitable statement about the indigenous peoples along the lines stated in the Expert Panel’s item of recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people's

    There are two ways of doing this. One way would be to undertake the two referenda on two separate occasions with a referenda on the annexing of the Statute of Westminster and the Australia Acts to the Constitution being the first cab off the rank. For a variety of reasons, referenda are rarely put to the Australian people. Given that there is a “hole in the bucket” in respect of the Statute of Westminster and the Australia Acts, a referenda on this issue should be placed before the people as soon as practicable. 

    Alternatively, the two referenda outlined above could be conducted concurrently but would require the indigenous referenda to be subject to the success of the referenda on annexing the Statute of Westminster and the Australia Acts. This process would be more convoluted. However, there has been a precedence!

    In 1999, all of the six states passed an Act to request the amendment of the Australia Acts in connection with proposed constitutional arrangements to establish the Commonwealth of Australia as a republic. This would have allowed the States to become republics in their own right. The commencement date for those six Acts was on the day after the day on which the Constitution Alteration (Establishment of Republic) 1999 bill of the Commonwealth received Royal Assent. These State Acts never saw the light of day because the Constitution Alteration (Establishment of Republic) 1999 bill failed at the referendum!

    Returning to the Indigenous proposal, the repeal of sections 25 and 51(xxvi) may not be contentious. However, the Experts Panel proposal for the recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, prohibition of racial discrimination and recognition of Indigenous languages are quite a different matter and in their current format could cause the entire proposal to fail ignominiously.

    The first four paragraphs of the proposed recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people's are quintessentially of preamble substance but under this arrangement will form part of the constitution itself. These paragraphs should, preferably, be placed within the existing Constitution Act preamble. 

    The last paragraph of recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people's gives the Commonwealth parliament the power, subject to the Constitution, to make laws for the Indigenous peoples. This broad sweeping aspect has a very strong prospect of being contentious enough for a majority of people to resist change because of what could be perceived as a double standard.

    None-the-less, if the second paragraph of Prohibition of racial discrimination was moved to replace the existing 51(xxvi) and a sunset clause provision included, the people may accept such an arrangement. 

    The provision of a sunset clause should not be too extensive and government should be required to initiate a proactive plan to accomplish the desired results within the nominated timeframe. A period of around 20 to 25 years may be acceptable. An end date would be essential to, although not guarantee, acceptance by the people.

    The first part of Prohibition of racial discrimination may be acceptable to the people. However, it may be better placed under Section 117 (Rights of residents in States) as 117B. Mysteriously, the word “creed” has not been included as as one of the “grounds”. Serious consideration for the inclusion of the word “creed” may be necessary to ensure substantial support of the people.

    The second part, and probably the most contentious, would be akin to opening Pandora’s box to reveal its duplicitous intent. It could also prove to be financially deleterious! While it could be argued that this is an essential requirement to meet Indigenous needs, it appears that the more global intention of this part would lead to failure in its own right. If the inclusion of this part is absolutely necessary, it should be restricted to the Indigenous people only and should also be subjected to the sunset clause already discussed above.

    Finally, the Recognition of languages section in its current form could cause substantial problems. This may be eased by requiring that the English language to be the only language to be used in all jurisdictions (e.g. Commonwealth, State and Territory Parliaments, All Courts, Local Councils) and other areas where commonality is paramount.

    As the Experts Panel’s draft now stands, some opposition may be attracted from within the Parliament causing a “yes/no” booklet to be sent to all voters. The essential elements that would strongly help the “no” case are the Expert Panel’s recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people's in toto and the second part of Prohibition of racial discrimination as they now stand.

    Drafters should also not place too much faith on the referendum question which is yet to be drawn up. The Constitution is quite clear in that the “electors voting approve the proposed law”. The question is merely a vehicle for change and not a proposed change to the law in itself. Accordingly, Australian voters should be seen as an intelligent lot and that they will make their decision based on the proposed changes laid before them and not on the style and form of the question asked.

    That said, much work still needs to be done. Those responsible for drafting any change to the constitution to allow for recognition of the indigenous peoples need to be extremely mindful of Quick and Garran’s poetic assertion “to delay change until there is strong evidence that it is desirable, irresistible, and inevitable”.

    With the proposed annexing of the Statute of Westminster and both of the Australia Acts to the Australian Constitution, the people of the Commonwealth would finally become the beneficiaries of total sovereignty over their constitutional arrangements.

    This rightful gift to the people of the Commonwealth, along with extensive re-arrangement of the Expert Panel’s draft bill, may just help the indigenous proposals get across the line at a referendum. 

    Much goodwill on all sides will need to be forthcoming for this to happen. Ultimately, the people of the Commonwealth will ask themselves “What’s in it for me?”. After all, it is their Constitution and not that of only the politicians and lawyers!