April 14

Against both God and King

 

He is a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire, and a Companion of the Order of Australia. Addressed as a Knight, he is  father to a well known Jesuit priest and lawyer Professor Frank Brennan SJ AO.

He is Sir Francis Gerard Brennan, AC, KBE, QC, formerly Chief Justice of Australia.

….constitution  without God or King…

 

Not only does Sir Gerard wish to remove the Crown from the Constitution, he would also remove Almighty God from the Preamble to the Constitution Act.     

Rather than the people, humbly relying on the blessing of Almighty God, and agreeing to unite in one indissoluble Federal Commonwealth under the Crown… and under the Constitution – as they said they did over a century ago, a new fiction will be created.

Instead of relying on God, the people are to pretend to give themselves in the 21st century the Constitution adopted by their forefathers in 1900, but with an ungainly  politicians’ republic grafted onto it.

….effectively direct election?…..

Sir Gerard proposes a President elected by an elected electoral college. If the American experience is any guide, this effectively means direct election by the people.

The difference from the US is that the larger states will be less influential. And will the states require the electors to vote the way they promise, as some US states do?

Conservative republicans are wary of a president with a mandate. They only gradually realised in the nineties that the perhaps greater problem is their powers.

That is why one of our greatest constitutional lawyers, the late Professor PH Lane warned against trying to graft a republic onto a monarchical constitution.

…many more politicians…

 

If the Brennan model is followed in the states and mainland territories,  we'll be electing many more politiicans whose role will be to elect a few more politicians. 

That is about seven more elections every three or five years on top of the ones we already have.  Australians will rejoice at the prospect.

 Each group of these politicians will then be involved in seven or more elections for more politicians – presidents, vice presidents, governors, lieutenant governors etc. 

Don't forget the superannuation and the travel, cars and offices for life.  And  the taxpayers will no doubt be funding these endless  election campaigns.

And when it comes to funding, let's not forget that in the nineties there was even a government plan to build a lavish Presidential Palace in the national capital. 

You see plain old Government House was just not up to it.  It was hurriedly abandoned when the story leaked.

Or was it just put on ice? 

…one hitch…

All of this wonderful future can only occur  if the people agree to having many more elections, more politicians and spending more of their hard earned taxes.

To get that agreement, a series of up to twenty seven plebiscites and referendums are to be called ( twenty eight with the Flag).

It all  depends on which republican you ask.

There is a bitter division among the republicans over the number of plebiscites.   A second series on the model is seen as fvouring one model. The other republican faction won't have that.

In the meantime, and except for the Greens, the politician republicans are now saying they are putting  it all off until the end of the reign. When they are safely out of Parliament.

No matter how much the republican movement kid themselves with a rogue poll, the politicans know that  nobody in "Struggle Street" is interested.

The politicans also fear that if they raise the issue again, it will be greeted with widespread hostility among the rank and file.

…putting  the president on a leash…

 
 
The republican constitution would specifically require that the President act on the politicians’ advice, except when exercising the reserve powers which were used to dismiss Gough Whitlam in 1975.

There, the President would be supervised by a shadowy Council of State.

Members of that will be restricted to former chief justices, presidents and governors.

…in the Banco Court….

I could not go to the address, but understand it was received politely. But a leading republican was heard to say afterwards he would lead the fight against it.

 

… appalling proposal…

Even if his bill were approved, Sir Gerard does not plan for it to  take effect until sometime in the future.

This could be a long time. It is to take effect on the  “termination of the reign of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II.”

.

This is not made because of some new found delicacy on the part of Sir Gerard about the feelings of The Queen.

This is not the feeling which a highly confused Amanda Vanstone recently attributed to monarchists – as if monarchists would be party to something so disgraceful.

The Queen’s feelings did not for a moment stop Sir Gerard joining with Sir Anthony Frank Mason, AC, KBE, QC and Sir Zelman Cowen, AK, GCMG, GCVO, QC in penning the front page so-called "Three Knight’s Letter" to The Australian in 1999.

(The response from three monarchists was well buried in a later issue.)

The republican knights called for the immediate adoption of the republican model on offer.

But for the people, that would have taken effect immediately .

No, the reason for proposing a vote now to take effect at the end of the reign is that “ it might well accord with majority opinion.”

In other words ‘ Look we failed in 1999. If we have the vote now but delay it until The Queen leaves this world, we may have a better chance.”

No you won’t Sir Gerard.

A device to keep the monarchy alive only as long as The Queen lives is not only distasteful, it is appalling.

It will be seen as such by all right –thinking Australians.

 


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