May 8

After the flag, Australia’s republicans target the church

It seems republicans not only want to shred the Australian Flag. They are now indicating they are unhappy with God. A republican conference in New South Wales has as its theme, “Secularising the Republic”.   

First among the targets of the republicans are references to God in our Constitution. But the reference to God in the Preamble to the Constitution Act sets out what is the essence the essence of our nation. Without this, the constitution  might not have been approved by the people.

 

It states “Whereas the people of New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Queensland, and Tasmania, humbly relying on the blessing of Almighty God, have agreed to unite in one indissoluble Federal Commonwealth under the Crown…” 

(The Western Australian referendum was held after the Act was passed, Western Australia nevertheless being admitted as an Original State under a Proclamation from Balmoral by Queen Victoria.)

The reference to Almighty God was inserted on the suggestion of most chambers of the colonial (i.e. state) legislatures and what two of our Founding Fathers describe as “great demonstrations of public opinion”, that is public support greater than for any other provision in the constitution.

This reflects the fact as with the English language and the rule of law under the common law, our Judeo Christian values were introduced with the settlement in 1788.

There is also a reference to God in the Oath of Allegiance in a schedule to the constitution, but there is provision for making an affirmation as an alternative.

The republicans have matters other than this in their sights: prayers in Parliament, taxation concessions for religious groups, and the funding of schools. Robyn Murray in the Southern Highland News (6/5) reports that the republican party conference will  be discussing  “how organised religions are exploiting the Australian Constitution.”   


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