Once again Australia’s National Party Leader, Senator Barnaby Joyce appears to be guilty of the twin virtues of reading from my mind, and then speaking my thoughts better, stronger and louder than I voice them myself. I am referring to another outstanding column by Senator Joyce in today’s Canberra Times newspaper:
“.. we have this shambolic Australian war against the temperature orchestrated by a person who was supposed to be the former prime minister’s most loyal lieutenant .. “
” .. if statues could walk then I would have seen two remarkable men of metal [Curtin and Chifley] politically walking assiduously away from a struggling lady and her incompetent sidekick [Gillard and Swan].”
I share Barnaby Joyce’s fiscal conservative views – especially his anti-Keynesian, Jeffersonian balanced budget, small government, low taxes and constitutional libertarian ideas that encourage individual, family and community self-governance and a minimum degree of intervention or control by the State.
In my book, education and self-governance beat taxation and State controls. I’ve no wish to live in a 1984-style Australian “nation of Winston’s, loving and loved by a Gillard style of Big Brother (or, to be super “PC”, Big Sister) Government.” As Thomas Jefferson said (as did many of his contemporaries and many others, including Ronald Reagan, after him): “government, even at the best of times, makes for a very poor servant and an even worse master.”
But within a fiscally conservative budgetary framework, my social policies are progressive. My core values are the true labor values of family and community, reflecting my modest working class roots.
Julia Gillard is my direct political opponent at the next Australian Federal Election), an ALP political party apparatchik implanted into the Federal Electorate of Lalor when former Quiz-Show King Barry Jones retired from labor party service in 1998.
What an irony that I am more “true labor” than “faux labor” Julia Gillard and her incompetent side-kicks have ever been.
And I am a man of the people, an independent political candidate who abhors what extra-constitutional and (in my lawyer’s and economist’s opinions), anti-competitive, anti-democratic and even illegal (as in criminal) political parties have done to derail Australia from ever getting anywhere close to departing our Imperial (Rule Britannia, “the Queen in Parliament is Supreme”) prison society garb of shackles and robes and anywhere close to become a nation of truly and genuinely democratic equals (equals opportunities, not necessarily in outcomes).
Most of my political heroes are from different times and from different nations. They include the English heroes of the Magna Carta and the forgotten Charter of the Forests signed by King John at Runnymeade on 9/11 of 1215; the heroes of the short-live English Constitutional Republic of the 1640s; the heroes of the English and Scottish Declarations and Bills of Rights of 1688 and 1689; the heroes of the 1776 American war of independence and founders of the United States of America as a truly Constitutional Republic; the heroes of America’s Civil Rights Movements of the 1860s (anti-slavery), the 1950s (anti-McCarthyism), the 1960s (anti-segregation) and 2000s (tea-partiers); the heroes of the Irish constitutional republic of the 1920s; the heroes of the Indian Independence and constitutional republic of the 1940s; the heroes of South Africa’s movement for freedom from apartheid and the constitutional republic of the 1980s; the heroes of East Timor’s independence movement and constitutional republic of the 2000s; and today’s unnamed heroes for independence and self-governance in far flung corners of the former British Empire – fourth-world places like Somalia, Tamil Nadu and indigenous Australia.
Maybe Australia will one day have heroes and patriots of those statures too. Too much political spin and omission has been used to hide the true history of some of our greatest Australian patriots. I am referring to complicated and politically demonised men from complicated times, like Matthew Brady, Peter Lalor, Ned Kelly, Andrew Inglis Clark, Donald Mackay, Pauline Hanson, Marcus Einfeld, Michael Kirby and Julian Assange.
My (fewer) Australian political heroes are the likes of the Australian Labor Party’s JB Chifley, JJ Curtin, HV Evatt, EG Whitlam and (reluctantly, only partially, and even then only on the rebound from the lawyerist RG Hawke) another Whitlam contemporary (the Wyatt Roy of his generation) a young PJ Keating.
I could never idolise our first Prime Minister, the white-supremacist favorite of the ancient Queen Victoria, Sir Edmund “Toby” Barton – he who wanted a purely white Australia – “Australian for the White Man and China for the Chink” and the White Australia Policy that only began to be dismantled under the Holt administration of 1967 (when indigenous Australian’s were granted citizenship and voting status). Within 2 years of being appointed first Prime Minister by Queen Victoria, 6 months before the first Australian federal election of May 1901, Toby Barton handed the Prime Ministership to his pal Samuel Griffith and appointed himself to the plumb job for life (with no maximum compulsory retirement age) as one of the first judges of his administration’s (ie not the Constitution’s and not We the People’s) newly created High Court of Australia.
And I could never idolise the first Liberal Party Prime Minister (founder of the Liberal Party of Australia during his decade as opposition leader during the 1940s), RG Menzies – for the reasons the late Emeritus Prof Donald Horne articulates better than I could hope to do, in his “The Lucky Country” (1964) and his “Death of the Lucky Country” (1976) and his “How I Came to Write the Lucky Country” (2006) (published posthumously).
Nor could I idolise RG Hawke (a lawyer and Rhodes scholar like Tony Abbott, and a lawyer and one-time industrial relations lawyer like Julia Gillard), because by the time of his 1981 Prime Ministership, the Australian lawyer elite had completed its capture and takeover of the Australian Labor Party of Chifley-Curtin-Evatt-and-Whitlam – giving the ruling lawyer class the sure thing of two out of two political parties (full of lawyers to fill 98% of the parliament, 99% of the ministries and seniour bureaucracies, and 100% of the judiciary).
[Note: in the days prior to the Whitlam and Fraser administrations 90% of legal cases were judged by non-lawyers called “Justices of the Peace” with good common sense and local community connections. The prolifieration of universities and university law schools (initiated by the 3 years of Gough Whitlam administrations 1972 - 1975 had not yet begun to put pressure on the ruling lawyer class to remove these non-lawyer judges to make room for their own sons and daughters graduating from law school. Interesting and tragic for today's society, fewer and shorter laws were written back in our “The Lucky Country” days, before the university law school proliferations began and our society and economy started to burst at the seams with graduating lawyers needing to take over positions traditionally held by non-lawyers like Justices of the Peace who were only minimally trained in enough basic legal knowledge not to intefere with their overwhelming sense of local community identity and lifetime learned common sense.]
A prize-winning photograph of EG Whitlam, “Gough and Kerr”, taken at an 80s book launch of a biography on three times Archibald Prize winning painter Clifton Pugh, hangs in pride of place in my Chambers (on show over my right shoulder in my avatar).
I seethe for the constitutional crimes of the 1975 Whitlam dismissal – crimes (plural) that have been well recorded by the late Emeritus Prof Donald Horne in his “Death of the Lucky Country” (and retold by me recently via my WordPress blog).
And I seethe over the 2010 Rudd dismissal for the same reasons – another obscene affront committed outside of the parliament within one and the same unconstitutional political parties (the 2010 lawyers labor party, not its tweedledum twin the lawyers liberal party).
Both dismissals are in my opinion gross violations of the natural and constitutional democratic human rights of self-governance woefully denied to 22 million ordinary present day Australians, labouring under the shackles of a 1901 “lawyers constitution” – “The Great Constitutional Swindle” of Federation, as Professor Peter Botsman, the former Director of the Whitlam Institute in its hey-day, calls it in his 2000 constitutional counter-history of Australia of the same name.
I agree with Barnaby Joyce and the chorus of the majority of Australians who say that this incompetent Gillard administration and parliament have to go, and sooner rather than later.
All that is required is a mechanism for this long-overdue legitimate 2011 coup to reverse an illegitimate 24 June 2010 coup to be transfixed.
And as a constitutional lawyer of some note, I see no constitutional barriers or other reasons that our Governor-General cannot follow her Latvian (Presidential) peer and call for an election (or, as the ex-Latvian President did, via a two-step started by a referendum for the people to vote on whether to have an election to clean out its incompetent and corrupt administration and parliament). There is no reason for today’s Governor-General to go breaking the Constitution by committing the obscenity of herself appointing a Prime Minister (as Kerr appointed Fraser) and sacking a Prime Minister and Ministry (Whitlam and his Cabinet). After all, once an election is called, the administration and its parliament, go into a caretaker mode by convention anyway until the new administration is elected (and new cabinet and Prime Minister appointed).
The other, perhaps more likely and definitely more legitimate method would be for the independent members of the parliament (the few, true parliamentarians, since they are not under the dictation of political parties or ministries) to cross the floor and vote with the opposition parties to force an election as the “independents” did to the first RG Menzies (minority) United Australia Party administration in 1941 (about a year after the start of World War 2 – Menzies was exiled to the backbenches of the Australian Parliament in the early days of World War 2, just as Churchill (who Menzies in many ways resembled and idolised) was exiled to the backbenches of the UK Parliament after the gross carnage and incompetence of Churchill’s Galipoli invasion in the early days of World War 1.)
There is no reason the independent MPs would have to “sack” Prime Minister Gillard and appoint a new Prime Minister (though on matters of character wouldn’t Barnaby Joyce be a brilliant option for a (care-taker) Prime Minister, the first National Party Prime Minister since Deputy Prime Minister since John McEwan replaced Harold Holt after his Portsea disappearance – and,if it were possible, an even better option than a Tony Abbott (care-taker) Prime Minister).
Todays independents (including for present purposes the Australian Greens’ Adam Bandt, MHR for Melbourne) could offer Julia Gillard the middle ground that Kerr denied Gough in 1975, by allowing Gillard to go to the polls as a “care-taker PM” (as, strictly speaking, she did for the 2010 election), and leave it to the people to decide – just like former Governor-General John Kerr should have done, if only he had done his duty, his whole duty and nothing but his duty on the 11th day of the 11th month of 1975.
Of course, Federal Labor (and its political party implant for the Federal Electorate of Lalor, who could be Julia Gillard or could be whoever the party chooses to put in her place) could struggle at a by-election or full Federal Election held before 2013 because the Labor Party bureaucrats in “its” Australian Electoral Commission may not have yet have put in place Australia’s “Greatest Political Swindle”, the mother of all gerrymanders, planned for the re-cooking of the Lalor Electorate (by migrating it a full 30 miles south for 2013 election purposes). The 2013 Lalor Labor “gerrymander to end all gerrymanders” (announced in the middle of the August 2010 Federal election campaign, thank you very much apolitical bureaucrats of the Australian Electoral Commission) is even worse than the gerrymandering that increased Labor’s lead going into that 2010 Federal Election by an additional “notional” six seats. All those “notional” gains given to the Australian Labor Party (a hefty shifting of the goal posts) were of course lost at the ballot box. But the added advantage run by the AEC bureaucrats was enough for the Australian Labor Party to be in a knife-edge position to negotiate itself back into administration (without even having to give a single Ministry position to its Green junior coalition partners) and with a minority parliament much like RG Menzie’s conservative United Australia Party administration of 1939 – 1941.
Whatever the massive 2013 electoral boundary upheavals may spell for the Labor Party’s preselected candidates’ chances in Gellibrand (given by Labor to Nicola Roxon since 1998) and Geelong (given by Labor to Richard Marles since 2007), even in today’s troubled political times for Federal Labor, whomever gets the nod for Labor in Lalor could theoretically scrape home in Lalor under the 2013 revised electoral boundaries – conceivably an election held in the next 3 to 6 months might see Federal Labor returned with only two House of Representatives, Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd. And what a fascinating Shadow Cabinet of Two Gillard and Rudd (or Rudd and Gillard) would form. What a contrast that would be to Gough Whitlam’s first 1972 Cabinet of Two – being Gough Whitlam and Labor’s original Member for Lalor from 1969 to 1977, the irrepressible ex-Policeman (a different kind of lawyer, but a lawyer no less),Dr Jim (James Ford) Cairns.
It is only a matter of time before Julia Gillard, the Australian Prime Minster “who should never have been and shall never be again” is (1) dumped by her political party; or (2) dumped by “her” (actually, the Rudd administration’s appointee) Governor-General Her Excellency Quentin Bryce; or (3) is dumped by a simple majority of parliamentarians (including most of the non-political party aligned independent members of the House of Representatives. Unless she takes the 4th option and resigns recognising her continuing tenure as PM is untenable.
Whatever way the curtain falls on Gillard’s reign as Prime Minister, my only hope is that it happens in the way that causes less grief to the Australian people and our tentative baby steps towards a democratic political system, than the damage caused by the vile, unconstitutional and illegal Whitlam dismissal of 1975 and the vile, unconstitutional Rudd dismissal (and Gillard betrayal) of 2010.
Independent Federal Candidate for Lalor
Constitutional Human Rights Advocate
Solicitor and Barrister of the High Court of Australia
(Celebrating 20 Years of Legal Practice 1990 – 2010)
24 September 2011
Here is a bitly link to the full text of the column by Senator Barnaby Joyce, to which this blog is in appreciation and reply: http://bit.ly/mSwUxj