April 12

Panic at the Summit: judges resign

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…Panic at the Summit….

With the increasing exposure of the way the 2020 Summit governance panel has been blatantly gerrymandered,[i] two judges have handed in their resignations.

Obviously they do not want to be associated with what is looking more and more like a rather infantile stunt.

A report by James Madden and Paul Maley in The Australian on 12 April, 2008 (“Judges abandon Rudd's summit” reveals that former Chief Justice Sir Anthony Mason and former High Court Justice Mary Gaudron have pulled out of the  Summit  governance panel which was scheduled  to adopt a charter of rights and what we are sure will be a rigged  path to some vague undefined  republic.

In a fix of Zimbabwe-like proportions , almost anyone prominent in the No case in 1999 was excluded . Yet the No case proponents won nationally, in every state and in 72% of electorates.

The governance panel is loaded with well known and “passionate “republicans.

Two prominent republicans appointed to the Summit governance panel had gratuitously abused  constitutional monarchists , accusing them  of lying, of fraud and of speaking “arrant nonsense.”[ii]   

Both based their republicanism on a so called constitutional rule which does not exist.[iii]

A high profile former politician and now priest actually included a summit republican call at Easter.[iv]

 John Hartigan – chairman and chief executive of News Limited, publisher of The Australian says the role of the Summit will be to "break away from these partisan groups that throw their ideology from the sideline and get nowhere".

Mr. Hartigan, it’s not going to fill that role with this appalling gerrymander. The governance panel is dominated by one highly partisan group, and you should not lend your name to that. 

We have long suspected  that only one view will be allowed at the 2020 Summit, at least on the crucial question of governance.

…an antipodean Supreme Soviet?…


We have likened it with justification to the Supreme Soviet. This goes against fundamental Australian beliefs.

It is a disgrace.

It is disappointing that the proponents of the Summit have form in not allowing in contrary opinions.[v]

The 1993 Republic Advisory Committee chaired by Malcolm Turnbull was a sad precedent. Paul Keating had made it a strict condition that all members, without exception, be committed republicans. Those appointed included 2020 Summit co-chair, Dr. Glyn Davis.

In 2002, when he was vice-chancellor of Griffith University, that university, The Australian newspaper and the Australian Republican Movement   convened together the “Australian Constitutional Futures Conference.” 

Although hosted by a taxpayer funded university, no one who was not a committed republican was invited to speak.

The conference papers are no longer accessible on the Griffith University site.

No wonder.

One speaker, the prominent republican leader, Greg Barns,  referred to the monarchy as “rancid” and “corrupt,” “a menace to democracy” with “ a cavalier disregard for liberal values,”  a  ” corrupt institution … prepared to subvert the rule of law… and allow criminal activity to go unchecked within its walls.”

The monarchy, he said, has “little interest in anything other than self-preservation and that it will ride roughshod over the rule of law, if necessary, to achieve that aim.”

Yet no countervailing contribution was allowed from the other side, whose views, after all, prevailed in 1999.

The Summit’s report on constitutional change could be written now. It may well be in draft from for all we know.

As Professor  James Allan says, the governance panel has become  a "little charade" that would call for a charter of rights and a move to a republic.

What’s that about fooling the public some of the time?

     


[i] See this column,” Summit fails first test” 29 March, 2008, and “Debate gerrymandered” 8 April, 2008.  

   

  

[iii] Ibid

 

[iv] See this column,” Clergyman’s republican Easter Message” 23 March, 2008.       

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