Labor’s plans to undermine our Constitution
Be warned, Mr Albanese:
UNDERMINING THE CONSTITUTION IS PLAYING WITH FIRE
If integrity is an issue in this election, Mr. Albanese should abandon Labor’s plan, if it forms the next government, to do something unheard of in Australian history. This will be to divert resources taxpayers’ funds into the illicit purpose of actively undermining the Constitution. The fact is Labor is so fearful of the people rejecting a second referendum that they are proposing to engage in this act of desperation.
There is no justification in Labor seeking revenge for Whitlam’s dismissal half a century ago by stripping future heads of state of their reserve powers, including the reserve power to stop a prime minister from fundamentally breaching the Constitution. This is crucial to the proper operation of the Westminster system of responsible government that we inherited from Britain.
Nor is there any integrity in the alternative plot, unwittingly revealed by a Labor backbencher, to impose a politicians’ republic by circumventing the need for a constitutionally mandated referendum (‘King Kevin through the back door,’ Spectator Australia, 20 January 2020).
What is making Labor (and Coalition republicans) desperate is the gnawing fear that a second republican referendum is doomed. They should just accept the lesson of Australian history – you only get one chance to win a referendum.
When Australians say no, they mean no. There have been nine cases where Canberra has tried, sometimes on as many as five separate occasions, to persuade Australians to change their minds. All have failed.
The second reason why a referendum is most likely doomed is, as Turnbull famously wrote months before the last one, ‘nobody’s interested’. The latest untainted opinion poll (‘Australia Day Outrage’ Spectator Australia 6 February 2021) confirms a long-term trend. Before dividing as they always do when they see the model, only 34 per cent now support a vague republic.
Worse, there’s a timebomb there ticking away for the republicans. They have lost the young. Support among those aged 18-24 has collapsed to 24 per cent. 10 points below the average and lower than any other age group.
Just on that the republicans should give up and leave us alone.
This explains why, instead of leaving the question to future generations, Labor has become desperate. So, when Anthony Albanese succeeded to the leadership, he found that in his bloated shadow ministry there lurked a ‘Shadow Assistant Minister for an Australian Head of State’.
Presumably, Albanese realized this mouthful exposed Labor to ridicule. Every government, Labor or Coalition always tells foreign governments the Governor-General is the head of state. The Hawke government even risked a diplomatic incident with Indonesia over this.
Instead of dropping the portfolio, he changed the name to ‘Shadow Assistant Minister for the Republic’.
The fundamental point is that if Labor were to form the next government, in its desperation to achieve something unattainable, their lack of integrity will be monumental.
According to the founders’ pithy description in the Constitution, the exercise of government ‘extends to the execution and maintenance of this Constitution…’
How can an Albanese government fulfil its constitutional mandate to maintain the Constitution if it directs the whole panoply of modern government, a minister, his advisers, media secretaries, highly paid politicised public servants, an army of taxpayer-funded consultants, and vast dollops of taxpayer funds, to undermine constantly and with political bias, a fundamental and ancient constitutional institution offering leadership above politics, the Australian Crown?
Moreover, this is the one institution that the people, by a landslide, nationally, in all states, and 72 percent of electorates, have voted to keep.
Following this divisive agenda blatantly offends the constitutional mandate to maintain the Constitution. This will not be an exercise in integrity. This will be an exercise in subversion.
[This is an edited extract from ‘Integrity be damned: Labor’s plans to undermine our Constitution,’ Spectator Australia 30 April 2022 ]