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Monday Message Board

February 14th, 2005

It’s time for the regular Monday message board, where you are invited to post your thoughts on any topic. I probably won’t get around to commenting on the morganatic marriage of Charles and Camilla, but others may want to do so.

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  1. February 14th, 2005 at 09:37 | #1

    I’ll jump in.

    If NSW had of listened to John Dunmore Lang rather than Henry Parkes we wouldnt be suffering those royalist fools today. Wentworth was the worst thing that happened to Republicanism in the 1850s. After he advocated a titled upper house (Earl of Wooloomooloo? Baron von Cabramatta?) getting an appointed Legislative Council meant a massive sigh.

    The US Republic was the triumph of the Virginian state process, the Australian Westminster system – and the lack of an Australian Republic – was the failure of the NSW form of self-government.

    We are suffering from the titled fooldom of Wentworth and the inevitable republicanism of Parkes to this very day. That the Parker-Bowles garbage is in the Womans Weekly is a colourful representation of the failure of Parkes and the other “Bearded Men”.

  2. Chris
    February 14th, 2005 at 09:50 | #2

    Can anybody on the list inform me whether, now we have a Queen of Australia, any matching legislation will be necessary from Canberra or the states to remove Camilla’s potential children from the line of succession?

  3. harry clarke
    February 14th, 2005 at 10:17 | #3

    Charles and Camilla deserve each other.

    I wanted to comment on two press articles this morning — (i) in The Age pointing out that Victoria will extend the life of the most greenhouse gas polluting powerstations in the country at Hazelwood and (ii) an AFR article arguing the case for the nuclear option.

    Victorian citizens are grubbier in terms of their Greenhouse Gas emissions than the average American because of a reliance on dirty brown coal. Victoria has become the ‘Carbon State’ not the ‘Garden State’.

    The AFR piece by Leslie Kemeny is fairly propagandist and does not address the disposal issues beyond claiming nuclear power is safe and cheap. But it does relate the move to nuclear to environmental improvements. A stark statistic is that the use of nuclear fuels around the world cuts world CO2 emissions by 10 per cent. i think it is urgent that we rethink our intended long term reliance on coal.

    It also seems to me that there are complexities in allowing the sale of Western Mining’s Olympic Dam to the highest international bidder. This sale is occurring right when interest in uranium as a fuel seems to be resurging around the world. Will WMR, like Norths and MIM, be sold off for a song because Australian investors are too myopic?

  4. Katz
    February 14th, 2005 at 10:32 | #4

    The Queen of Australia may be unconstitutional. Follow me on this one.

    Under the provisions of the Royal Style and Titles Act 1973, a Commonwealth Act passed under the aegis of the Australian Constitution, the British monarch was henceforth to be styled “King/Queen of Australia”.

    But the person proclaimed monarch of Australia was required by the British Act of Succession 1689 not to be a Catholic or to be married to a Catholic. In other words there is a religious test applied to the Monarchy of Great Britain and ipso facto a religious test applied to the Monarchy of Australia.

    However, the Australian Constitution stipulates:

    Section 116: … no religious test shall be required as aqualification for any office or public trust under the Commonwealth.

    Patently the present monarch is monarch of Australia under an act of the Commonwealth. And she is monarch of Australia by virtue of a religious test.

    On the face of it, this is unconstitutional.

  5. Ronald Brakels
    February 14th, 2005 at 11:07 | #5

    A lot of people have made a lot of fuss about how Australia should have an Australian as head of state. I don’t see why we should limit ourselves. How on earth would it hurt to have a Papuan or other nationality as a head of state? If you argue that may not have the best interests of Australia at heart, I would ask how could you prove that an Australian had the best interests of Australia at heart? It’s not as if they would have the opportunity to do a lot of damage (unless of course they think that their power to dissolve parliment involves using acid).

    If you really want a republic to benefit Australians then the position of head of state should be auctioned off. If we can do it for electromagnetic spectrum, why not the presidency?

    Personally, my favorite method of picking Australia’s head of state would be to have a lottery of all the people living in Australia, whether citizens or not. Then whoever was selected could be head of state for a week. This seems the fairest, and dare I say it, the most Australian way to do it.

  6. February 14th, 2005 at 11:07 | #6

    I’d rather listen to k.d.lang than John Dunmore Lang.

  7. Paul Norton
    February 14th, 2005 at 11:15 | #7

    Two interesting articles on labour market deregulation have appeared in recent days.

    One, by George Megalogenis in the Weekend Australian, argues that the confluence of increased female workforce participation and labour market deregulation has enabled business to increase the share of profits at the expense of wages by increasing use of underpaid and unequally paid female labour. The link is: http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5744,12220334%255E7583,00.html.

    The other is by Ross Gittins in today’s Sydney Morning Herald. It lambastes Peter Costello, business and the economics profession for “telling porkies” to justify further labour market deregulation by the Federal Government. The link is: http://www.smh.com.au/news/Ross-Gittins/Porkies-used-to-back-industrial-relations-reform/2005/02/13/1108229855490.html.

  8. observa
    February 14th, 2005 at 12:34 | #8

    My observations here will have some bearing on the Republic debate, but include it within the broader spectrum of politics and Australian democracy in general.

    Issues and elections come and go, often with much heat generated by the protagonists and those of us who are perhaps addicted to the purer opium of the elitist, if not always the cruder opiates of the masses. We often hear aspersions cast upon the smoko room crowd that they are only interested in their plasma screens and the like. If only they were more engaged with the issues like I am, then surely they’d come to the same educated conclusions I have, or some such similar.

    As I look back over the years at the issues and elections that have come and gone, particularly in the Federal sphere, it would seem to me the smoko room seldom, if ever, got it wrong, despite the wailings of the elites. In respect of the last election, given the post election fallout with Labor, it would be hard to argue they didn’t get it right again.

    Who are these people? They are the same people who can vote Coalition for Canberra and Labor in all the States, if that’s who they view as the best choice among the offerings at the time. It was time for Whitlam and his reforms, then Fraser to address his economic illiteracy. When Fraser seemed to have no more answers they would embrace Hawke and then Keating, to float the dollar, say goodbye to insular protectionism, embrace a globalised world and wear the recession they had to have, as they struggled to pay their mortgages. When Keating became arrogant and took them for granted, they would turn to Howard and stick with him the longest, right through the hysterics of their educated elites.

    They have given Howard and his team their tick of approval in the past 4 elections. Now Howard led them from the front on two major issues, namely the GST and Iraq. Both these issues were contoversial. In the case of the GST, few govts introducing such a VAT tax survived the following election. Howard had the courage of his convictions in this respect and few could argue now, that the GST was not a bold and sensible economic reform of a dinosaur WST. The decision to join the COW invasion of Iraq was again politically bold, against popular opinion at the time. They would give him their tick of approval at the last election for his beacon of light foresight, despite no WMD rationale being found and before the promised free elections in Iraq, which ices the foresight cake. They would also see the same consistency and sense in military intervention in ET and the Solomons.

    The other major issue of Tampa and border protection was really a no-brainer for any govt worth its salt. To allow people smugglers to dictate who comes across your borders, was unlikely to be a realistic option for any Labor govt either. They naturally supported Howard, when it appeared obvious to them, that Labor was confused about its stance. Aha! cry the elites, at last we glimpse the real xenophobes that lurk among the plasma screens. Yes, those same plasma screens that showed them the plight of their regional neighbours to the effects of a tsunami, to which they and their govt, immediately dug deeper into their xenophobic pockets than all the other shining examples of national citizenry, their elites would so often compare and contrast them with.

    Essentially this smoko crowd can intuitively appreciate any problem, program or policy stance, without the need to disengage too long from more relevant pursuits like watching cricket or footy, or running the kids to sport. They don’t need to agonise endlessly for hours and assess every nuance of policy. They understand the nub of a problem intuitively and they have well developed bullshit detectors for any carpet-baggers about the place. That’s essentially why they have allowed a real leader and team manager like Howard to continue the groundwork laid by his predecessors, in turning this country from the Lucky Country to the Plucky one. Again I would ask the question: With hindsight and given the choices and options they faced at the time, when did the smoko room crowd ever get it wrong at election time?

  9. Philg
    February 14th, 2005 at 13:05 | #9

    I was interested to see what the blogs where saying about Mamdouh Habib and when I found nothing here I went to every so called Aussie political blog linked here.

    Not only did I find nothing on Habib anywhere in those links but I found that many of the blogs had no recent entries and a couple didn’t even exist anymore.

    Maybe it’s time for a bit of housekeeping John.

    Anyway, I’m off to continue my search.

    BTW, Four Corners might be worth watching tonight.

  10. February 14th, 2005 at 14:04 | #10

    The ALP has now turned to God, asking for miracles… ha haaaaaa!
    (I know these results are not worth the paper they’re witten on/self-selecting samples/unscientific, etc. But maaan this is soooo funny!)

    From New Matilda‘s latest Online Poll Results:
    Will Beazley refloat the Labor ship?
    Yes 141 ~22.2%
    No 231 ~36.4%
    Miracles happen 263 ~41.4%

    http://www.newmatilda.com/onlinepoll/viewresult.asp?QuestionID=20

  11. February 14th, 2005 at 14:13 | #11

    Let’s make sure the ALP caucus & “Kimmmeee!” know about this poll.

    Next thing you know, they’ll be doing a deal with the bible pushers, Family First and Abott for a joint ticket!

    Anyway, it’s about the only chance they may have for the next few elections…

    haaaa ha!

  12. observa
    February 14th, 2005 at 14:47 | #12

    Philg,
    There is a blog by right winger Tim Blair on the interview with Habib at http://timblair.net/
    He also links to the SMH newspaper article about it. The paucity of blogging is probably due to a bit of wait and see attitude on this as IMO there was a bit of something in it for both the luvvies and the lynch mob. Yes he was clearly distressed at his incarceration which could be the genuine tears of innocence, or the crocodile tears of the guilty who got caught for what he did not explain (which he says will all be revealed in a Court hearing to get his passport back) Tim is not exactly one of your more cautious, subtle bloggers in this regard.

  13. Paul Norton
    February 14th, 2005 at 15:30 | #13

    I recently read the Griffith University Code of Conduct for academic staff. In the section headed “Working With Integrity” there is the following directive:

    “You will not. . . conduct research in a manner that would comprise intellectual honesty and public interest.” (reproduced exactly as published on the web page)

    I wonder how well I’ve complied with this directive so far?

  14. February 15th, 2005 at 01:16 | #14

    More later, but for now – Katz, the monarch is not the holder of an office or a public trust.

  15. February 15th, 2005 at 07:17 | #15

    Philg,

    There are lots of blogs commenting on Habib – you are just moving in the wrong circles. :-)

    Try this one for a start.

  16. Katz
    February 15th, 2005 at 07:34 | #16

    That’s the beauty of it PML. I agree that the monarch of Great Britain, under the provisions of the Constitution Act, was not, at first glance at least, the holder of an office under the constitution because the power of that office brought the consitution into existence. (But see below).

    However, the office styled “Queen of Australia” was brought into existence under the constitution.

    On the first point, it should be noted that the referendum power exists to terminate the relationship between the monarchy and the polity of Australia. This results in a very bizarre ambiguity in the Australian constitution over the source of sovereignty.

    The monarch is thus accorded the status of sovereign for the time being.

    (Of course, when the constitution was debated by the founding fathers, by the British parliament, and no doubt by Queen Victoria’s advisers, there was no thought of the consequences of a referendum-driven effort to remove the monarchy.

    Another point: the Royal Styles and Titles Act 1973 was a Whitlamite initiative. One wonders whether it was motivated by the usual recklessness associated with those interesting times, or whether it was designed to be a constitutional time-bomb.

  17. John Quiggin
    February 15th, 2005 at 07:39 | #17

    Philg, I’ve got round to posting my (not v original) thoughts now.

  18. February 15th, 2005 at 12:50 | #18

    PhilG. I am not sure how you can’t find Habib in the oz blogosphere. He is a kind of running theme, often mixed with Hicks.

  19. February 15th, 2005 at 16:56 | #19

    Katz, that is not an office either. The term “office under the Crown” does not make the apex of the system itself into an office, and neither does the honorific “Queen of Australia” amount to – let alone be in essence – an office, any more than an AO is an office (say).

  20. Katz
    February 15th, 2005 at 17:23 | #20

    PML, the phrase is “office under the commonwealth”, not “office under the crown”. Your previous comments indicate that you recognise the difference.

    Australian taxpayers contribute to the royal establishment. In other words, the monarchy is in receipt of payment for its appropriate functions. AO’s receive no payments because they perform no office.

    In any case, my previous comments have been directed at the unconstitutionality of the “Queen of Australia”, not the monarchy of Great Britain.

    In order for constitutionality to be restored, Australia must again submit itself to the sovereignty of the monarch of Great Britain.

    In other words, Australia must take its monarchy sans the sugary sop to national sentiment embodied in the unconstitutional soubriquet “Queen of Australia”.

    Or else, perish the thought, find some alternative and constitutional symbol for our sovereignty.

  21. February 15th, 2005 at 21:07 | #21

    Katz, like I said, this subject really does need a full handling. Will you accept, provisionally, that the matter is not so clear cut as you suppose? I’m not trying to beg the question here, just trying to defer it for that fuller opportunity.

  22. February 16th, 2005 at 05:36 | #22

    Re the comment (post 5) from Ronald Brakels about Australia having a non-Australian head of state:

    Britain has a foreign head of state. The current sovereign is the senior member of a family from Hanover, imported in the 18th century. Queen Victoria, for example, was born abroad and her first language was German. Ditto that of her husband. The present Queen’s husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, was born a Greek royal, from a Danish family imported to rule over Greece in the 19th century; two of his sisters married German military men who became Nazis.

    Likewise, the “William” of King William & Mary, jointly installed on the English throne in 1689, was a Dutchman. His wife had the legal right to be Queen (at least, she had the necessary blood connection), but he refused to be a mere consort, insisting that no married man would allow such a thing. The fact that his troops were then surrounding London made his negotiating position an easier one for the English Parliament to accept (although it still took them almost a year to issue the official invitation for W&M to become sovereign, while the two sides argued the details).

    This is why Princess Diana’s family, the Spencers, could look their down noses upon the current royal family– the Spencers have been English aristocrats for centuries longer than have the Windsors, recent boat people that they are.

    As is clear with the current Princess Consort nonsense, the British governing classes make up the rules as they go along. THEY have no trouble accepting a foreign head of state.

  23. Adrian
    February 17th, 2005 at 11:54 | #23

    This is just a big distraction from the real story of this week, namely that Rod Bartons claims that Hill et al knew about prisoner abuse in Iraq well before the Abu Ghraib scandal broke. And also that he was told to qualify his WMD claims before the invasion of Iraq but still persisted with saying their is still the possibility they would be found even when it was common knowledge that none had ever existed. I cant believe this “story” of Camilla and Charles would even be taken seriuosly by most people. What a shame none seems to care abut the explosive claims made on Four Corners. This is just the kind of thing Howard loves. just the kind of thing which helps him win elections time after time. Australia is a nation of imbeciles at times, the media consistently know which buttons to push to keep them ambivalent.

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