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LetterToLalor20100826

LetterToLalor20100826

Ratings: (0)|Views: 62 |Likes:
Published by James Johnson
My fellow constituents of Lalor (and other interested Australians) By Twitter and Facebook MY BLOG ON WHITLAM ON THE CONSTITUTION AND THE LIMITED ROLE OF THE GOVERNOR-GENERAL IN AUSTRALIA'S CONSTITUTIONAL DEMOCRACY AND CEREMONIAL MONARCHY I am writing this letter to encourage and stimulate more open public debate over the role of the British Crown in our Australian political and constitutional systems of parliament, courts and government. I have been fortunate enough to read most of Australia's national and capital city newspapers for these past 4 days. I have to say that the press coverage of our wonderful election result is amongst the best newspaper journalism in [my 46 years of] Living Memory.
In particular I am writing to put in the public forums the opinions of the many distinguished constitutional scholars, journalists, historians, lawyers and politicians who have shaped my views on the role of the Vice-Regal delegate of the British Crown in Australia, Her Excellency Governor-General Lady Quentin Bryce may play in our truly unique Australian system of constitutional democratic government.
My letter, and these present discussions are going on against the background of Australia enjoying its first 'hung' parliament of the Post-World-War-II period. Over the past week many men and women, including distinguished constitutional academics and professors of law have come forward to express opinions on the constitutional functions, powers and duties of the Governor General of Australia.
I should say at the outset that I have very little original ownership of my views. My opinions I express in this letter are largely a synthesis of ideas and insights from many of Australia's and the world's finest constitutional scholars. These include Australians such as E.G. (Gough) Whitlam, Emeritus Professor Donald Horne, Professor Peter Botsman, Professor Bede Harris, Robert Hughes, and Professor Manning-Clarke. Further afield across time and geography they include such luminaries as Sir Thomas Moore, John Cooke, Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Abraham Lincoln and W Cleon Skosen. I refer to some of the writings of and about these original thinkers and scholars in the reading list at the end of this letter...
My fellow constituents of Lalor (and other interested Australians) By Twitter and Facebook MY BLOG ON WHITLAM ON THE CONSTITUTION AND THE LIMITED ROLE OF THE GOVERNOR-GENERAL IN AUSTRALIA'S CONSTITUTIONAL DEMOCRACY AND CEREMONIAL MONARCHY I am writing this letter to encourage and stimulate more open public debate over the role of the British Crown in our Australian political and constitutional systems of parliament, courts and government. I have been fortunate enough to read most of Australia's national and capital city newspapers for these past 4 days. I have to say that the press coverage of our wonderful election result is amongst the best newspaper journalism in [my 46 years of] Living Memory.
In particular I am writing to put in the public forums the opinions of the many distinguished constitutional scholars, journalists, historians, lawyers and politicians who have shaped my views on the role of the Vice-Regal delegate of the British Crown in Australia, Her Excellency Governor-General Lady Quentin Bryce may play in our truly unique Australian system of constitutional democratic government.
My letter, and these present discussions are going on against the background of Australia enjoying its first 'hung' parliament of the Post-World-War-II period. Over the past week many men and women, including distinguished constitutional academics and professors of law have come forward to express opinions on the constitutional functions, powers and duties of the Governor General of Australia.
I should say at the outset that I have very little original ownership of my views. My opinions I express in this letter are largely a synthesis of ideas and insights from many of Australia's and the world's finest constitutional scholars. These include Australians such as E.G. (Gough) Whitlam, Emeritus Professor Donald Horne, Professor Peter Botsman, Professor Bede Harris, Robert Hughes, and Professor Manning-Clarke. Further afield across time and geography they include such luminaries as Sir Thomas Moore, John Cooke, Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Abraham Lincoln and W Cleon Skosen. I refer to some of the writings of and about these original thinkers and scholars in the reading list at the end of this letter...

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Published by: James Johnson on Aug 26, 2010
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08/25/2010

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H
 
J
AMES
J
OHNSON
A
USTRALIAN
H
OUSE OF
EPRESENATIVES
I
NDEPENDENT
C
ANDIDATE FOR 
L
ALOR 
Thursday 26 August 2010My fellow constituents of Lalor (and other interested Australians)
By Twitter and FacebookMY BLOG ON WHITLAM ON THE CONSTITUTION AND THE LIMITED ROLE OF THE GOVERNOR-GENERALIN AUSTRALIA'S CONSTITUTIONAL DEMOCRACY AND CEREMONIAL MONARCHY
I am writing this letter to encourage and stimulate more open public debate over the role of the British Crown inour Australian political and constitutional systems of parliament, courts and government. I have been fortunateenough to read most of Australia's national and capital city newspapers for these past 4 days. I have to say thatthe press coverage of our wonderful election result is amongst the best newspaper journalism in [my 46 yearsof] Living Memory.In particular I am writing to put in the public forums the opinions of the many distinguished constitutionalscholars, journalists, historians, lawyers and politicians who have shaped my views on the role of the Vice-Regal delegate of the British Crown in Australia, Her Excellency Governor-General Lady Quentin Bryce mayplay in our truly unique Australian system of constitutional democratic government.My letter, and these present discussions are going on against the background of Australia enjoying its first 'hung'parliament of the Post-World-War-II period. Over the past week many men and women, including distinguishedconstitutional academics and professors of law have come forward to express opinions on the constitutionalfunctions, powers and duties of the Governor General of Australia.I should say at the outset that I have very little original ownership of my views. My opinions I express in thisletter are largely a synthesis of ideas and insights from many of Australia's and the world's finest constitutionalscholars. These include Australians such as E.G. (Gough) Whitlam, Emeritus Professor Donald Horne,
MAIL:PO Box 6137 Point Cook Vic 3030 james@jamesjohnson2020.com:EMAIL TELEPHONE:1300 [Yet to be advised]www.jamesjohnson2020.com :WEB FACSIMILE:1800 [Yet to be advised] JamesJohnson2020:FACEBOOKSMS:0401 865 914 @JamesJohnsonCHR:TWITTER
DEFENDING THE AUSTRALIAN CONSTITUTION *** WORKING FOR TRUTH, JUSTICE AND A NEW AUSTRALIAN WAY
 
Professor Peter Botsman, Professor Bede Harris, Robert Hughes, and Professor Manning-Clarke. Further afield across time and geography they include such luminaries as Sir Thomas Moore, John Cooke, ThomasPaine, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Abraham Lincoln and W CleonSkosen. I refer to some of the writings of and about these original thinkers and scholars in the reading list at theend of this letter.
Opinion 1: Should or could the Governor-General be embarrassed in the present political circumstancesby reason of her son-in-law Mr Bill Shorten being a Member of the House of Representatives and amember of the Australian Labor Party? Clearly Not, given the Governor-General's role and theMonarchy's role in our government process is 100% ceremonial and zero percent functional
On 23 August 2010 Lady Quentin Bryce issued a formal media statement which, in its 18 words exactnessreads: “The Governor-General is seeking advice on concerns raised about her personal position in the currentpolitical circumstances.”My opinion is that Lady Bryce is 100% right to seek counsel on her position. It is proper and cautious for Her Excellency to obtain legal advices (that she may freely choose to follow or to ignore) having regard to all sorts of suggestions in the daily media (including today) suggesting an unavoidable conflict of interest in her (imagined)functional role in Government. The suggestions that her Excellency the Governor-General should resign saymore about the egos of those suggesting such drastic action, than a true and impassionate assessment of theconstitutional situation.In my opinion the Governor-General, Her Excellency Lady Quentin Bryce has no reason for fearing an actual or potential conflict of interests arising from the fact of her being the mother-in-law of an ALP member of theAustralian parliament, so long as the Governor-General recognises that her role, and the role of the AustralianCrown Monarch whom she represents is purely ceremonial and devoid of functional powers. And whatever legalor constitutional improprieties that her son-in-law might have committed for his role in the betrayal of KevinRudd and the installation of Julia Gillard, those are Mr Shorten's improprieties and cannot reflect in any way onthe ceremonial role and dignities of the Governor-General's office.In my opinion the extraordinary vice-regal intervention by the former Governor-General in 1975 (discussedbelow, in former Prime Minister Gough Whitlam's own words) was an aberration of a less sophisticatedgeneration of governmen and governwomen. I believe that the wrongful interference by the ceremonial Crownin the functions of the parliament that occurred in 1975 would not occur in the British political system today, nor will they occur again in the Australian political system.My reasons (including the published thoughts of former Prime Minister Gough Whitlam) are outlined below.I believe that the advice that the Governor-General, Her Excellency Lady Quentin Bryce will in due coursereceive will be to the effect that as the role of the Monarchy in Australia's constitutional democracy is purelyceremonial she has no active governmental duties or functions to observe. Therefore her ceremonial dutiescannot possibly come into conflict with any of her family relations or family rights or responsibilities or privilegesor actions. Nor do her family relations disqualify her from accepting or performing or keeping her ceremonialrole as the Crown representative of the Queen Monarch for the purposes of the federal Australian governmentand the ceremonial role reserved for the Governor-General's office under our federal Constitution.If the advice that Her Excellency receives is as robust and wide-ranging as I expect it to be, it will include awarning that Her Excellency should not think of exercising any functional governmental powers or intervening inthe Australian federal parliamentary processes, like her predecessor Sir John Kerr sensationally did on 11November 1975. If Governor-General Lady Bryce did have active governmental duties to perform under theConstitution, then their exercise would unquestionably raise concerns of apprehended bias according to High
MAIL:PO Box 6137 Point Cook Vic 3030 james@jamesjohnson2020.com:EMAIL TELEPHONE:1300 [Yet to be advised]www.jamesjohnson2020.com :WEB FACSIMILE:1800 [Yet to be advised] JamesJohnson2020:FACEBOOKSMS:0401 865 914 @JamesJohnsonCHR:TWITTER
DEFENDING THE AUSTRALIAN CONSTITUTION *** WORKING FOR TRUTH, JUSTICE AND A NEW AUSTRALIAN WAY
 
Court judgments (such as leading case of 
Johnson v Johnson (2000) 201 CLR 488
) which are of universalapplication across all the arms and up and down all of the tiers of government, the judiciary the executive (theMinisters and public service agencies) and the parliaments. On this mistaken view of a non-ceremonial role for the Crown), these apprehended bias principles would apply to the Monarch and Her representative as well(since they too are bound to comply with our Constitution).Ordinarily, a government officer, if he or she is morally, ethically and legally correct in the circumstances, whenfacing a situation of
Johnson principle
apprehended bias, would step down from exercising anygovernmental powers in those circumstances. On this (mistaken) view of a functional, non-ceremonial role for the Monarchy in Australia's system of government, the Governor-General could not simply step aside from thetask at hand as no other equivalent officer would be there to come forward to exercise those governmentalfunctions. On this mistaken view that Australia has a functional governmental role for the Monarchy (a view thatformer Governor-General Sir John Kerr sensationally acted on) it might be suggested that Queen Elizabeth theSecond might step in and exercise regal functions directly in her capacity as reigning Queen of Australia. Ibelieve that this will never happen and would give rise to all sorts of disastrous consequences for the BritishMonarchy, in Britain and in Australia (see below). The absurdity of the suggestion of direct Royal intervention inthe affairs of the Australian Parliament puts pay to the absurdity of the suggestions that the Governor-General,or the Monarchy more broadly might have a functional role to play in Australia's federal government processes.
Opinion 2: Why does the Australian Monarchy, the British Queen's Governor-General play a purelyceremonial role in Australian Politics, according to the Australian Constitution?
Complex issues arise under Australia's written and unwritten constitutional laws, under international law, under divine law (We don't say “God Bless the Queen” as a panacea against the common cold), and under basicprinciples of natural justice. These complex issues and conflicts have nothing to do with the final outcome of the21 August 2010 election. They are structural deficiencies that were planted in our constitutional framework rightback at the end of the 19
th
Century, at the birth of Australian Federation.None of these issues arise so long as the Australian Monarchy, including our Governor-General recognise itspurely ceremonial role in Australia's constitutional democratic government processes.My opinion is that the [British/ Australian] Crown has no constitutional power to interrupt and therefore shouldnot interfere in the will of the Australian people, as reflected in the ballot outcomes from the 21 August 2010House of Representatives General Election and Senate half election.In times of constitutional crisis (which arise almost daily for me, given my line of work), I always refer back atsome point to our greatest constitutional scholar, E.G. Whitlam. 99 not out last month, Gough first distinguishedhimself in 1957 when he delivered the Chifley Memorial Lecture at the University of Melbourne on “TheConstitution versus Labor.” His work “On Australia's Constitution” is the first and last word on the Australianconstitution and so-called conventions. And his words have only sharpened and not been blunted by thepassing years.On pages 10 and 11 of his self-penned introduction to “On Australia's Constitution”, Gough Whitlam writes in1977 (with the constitutional wounds of 11 November 1975 still fresh):“That brings me to the question of the monarchy itself. I have, as I think is well known, thegreatest admiration for the Queen; her present style and title of Queen of Australia wereadopted at my instigation. It is certainly no reflection on her ability, her record or her personality to point out that the actions of the Australian conservatives have made the positionof the monarchy in Australia untenable. Indeed it has been because the Queen's own conducthas been above reproach that the machinations of her current representative in Australia, and
MAIL:PO Box 6137 Point Cook Vic 3030 james@jamesjohnson2020.com:EMAIL TELEPHONE:1300 [Yet to be advised]www.jamesjohnson2020.com :WEB FACSIMILE:1800 [Yet to be advised] JamesJohnson2020:FACEBOOKSMS:0401 865 914 @JamesJohnsonCHR:TWITTER
DEFENDING THE AUSTRALIAN CONSTITUTION *** WORKING FOR TRUTH, JUSTICE AND A NEW AUSTRALIAN WAY

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