I’ve come to regard Australia’s “White Australia Policy” as a far worse policy and far more successful practice of racist utopia-dom than South Africa’s Apartheid (‘separate growth’) Policy.
Australia was very much the world leader in this. South Africa – horrific as that regime was – was always a pale imitator of Australia. Much South African law and practices were modeled after Australian practices (e.g. pass card system, restricted legal status, massive civil surveillance etc).
Let’s review the evidence.
1. “Apartheid” at least had a separate growth plan for black South Africans. White Australia Policy is a no growth plan – a stark choice: “Genocide and/or Assimilation” is an un-growth plan. And there has been plenty of both Genocide and Assimilation over the past 200 years (as John Pilger has spent much of his career documenting – from Secret Country to Utopia Film etc – alongside many indigenous and other scholars). Assimilation and genocide (life, knowledge, culture) continue today in a myrad of forms from blunt NT intervention and mandatory sentencing (which, along with civic surveilance is being expanded to general population at an alarming rate) to more subtle forms of cultural, economic, legal and political practices that have been accumulating over the years and generations.
2. “Apartheid” was in many respects a legalised formal code of “White Australia Policy” practices. With “White Australia Policy” informality is its strength. Structure and forms, whether they be physical (bricks and mortar) or legal architecture (words and codes) have strength points but also weak points. Adopting informality, avoiding structure, eliminates weak points. Orwell, Huxley and many others have written on the power of language (right back to Confucius). You can’t attack an ideology that doesn’t have a name, especially as the ruling ideology shapes the language to remove, rehabilitate words that are the building blocks for free-thinking and radical opposition to the ruling ideology. He who controls the language controls the society including the thinking and the thoughts and expressions (written, art, cultural and behavioural) of that society and its members. This is Orwell’s lesson about NewSpeak and DuckSpeak – UnSpeak, Huxley’s Brave New World, etc. Like Hitler, the Sud Afrikaan Apartheidists were in many ways more blunt about what they were doing. They certainly weren’t self-delusional or subterfugers to the extent of Australian race culture, laws and politics. Giving it legal form exposed its vileness, including attack points to bring about discuss, debate and change.
3. Visit South Africa or Australia in the 1960s and both societies looked and worked and sounded pretty much the same way. Same climate, similar accented English, diets, habits and dress sense. Flora and fauna were different. So were the racial mixes in non-concentrated areas – but not in the posh areas. When South African Apartheid collapsed under its visibility and internal and external pressures, the racial mix was about 13 million blacks and coloureds (about 1m diaspora from India) and 3 million whites. South African white supremacy depended on laws (economic and politic) not “one vote one value” demographics. But it took less than 2 decades post-1788 in Australia for the black populations to be reduced from an unknown number of millions to a low of 300,000 and overbalanced by300,000 British convict-soldier colonists. No need for a separate growth plan for what according to official practices and unofficial customs of the dominant social group was “a dying race”.
4. Note the reality of the pre-1778 Australian continent (a land mass more than double the size of modern geopolitical India) and the sinister nature of “White Australia’s” preferred “solution” of constitutional recognition of individual indigenous persons rather than individual indigenous nations. The facts show 400 separate indigenous nations on the continent, with 100s of different language groups and sub-groups. But even today “constitutional recognition” the latest in a long line of constitutional swindles works, like a Vichy France Hitler Germany coordinated exercise – dealing with one pretend (white funded and fabricated) indigenous speaker group instead of the 400 genuine ones. White Australia Policy also mutated in 1967. The Colony of South Australia (alone of all the former colonies and with NZ first among nations) had granted women and indigenous (men and women) voting rights – as Malcolm Fraser mentions in the prepatraux chapters of his recent “Dangerous Allies”. These were abolished, at Federation. An Australian Act of Parliament was required in the 1960s so that Albert Namatjira, not recognised as a “person” under ordinary longstanding Australian laws, could get a passport so that he could travel to the UK for a London exhibition of his art works. In 1967, tracking with a lag the civil rights reform of the JFK-MLK civil rights era in the USA, most racist parts of the Constitution were deleted. Of course they had only been formalised at Federation in 1901, though practised governmentally and culturally from 1778 with vengeance. “The truth was erased, the erasure was forgotten, the lie became truth” as per the closing line in Orwell’s 1984.
5. Australia’s land title system “Torrens Title” fracks the title to the surface land from the ownership of the mineral wealth underneath is almost uniquely Australian. It was an 1860 panic reaction to Batman’s dodgy “blanket and beads” so-called “purchase” of Melbourne-Geelong lands from indigenous owners. As a title system, “Torrens Title” violates the “from the centre of the earth to the roof of the sky” title system in every country bar two on the planet – the title rights of the Englishman’s “home is his castle” under the Magna Charta (“Great Charter”) and the companion “Charter of the Forest” signed by King John at Runnymeade meadow on September 11, 1215. Never mind that Torrens title is repugnant to the Magna Carta and the UK Bill of Rights of 1688-9 that supposedly, but conveniently forgotten by our lawyers (as judiciary), never came ashore at Botany Bay with the soldiers and convicts or later settlers. Never mind that both Magna Carta and UK Bill of Rights made it ashore as background laws for the USA’s infamous Guantanamo Bay penal station. Only one country has ever adopted the same flawed (totalitarian) Torrens land titles system invented in Australia. No surprise that the only other nation to adopt Australia’s Torrens title system is our resource rich, indigenous oppressed, apartheid sister state, South Africa – our only copy cat down this path to land-authoritarianism. The Torrens title system is authoritarian national socialism writ large – writ into the legal fabric of the soil of the society. Drawing on Orwell’s 1984 we can call Australia’s (and South Africa’s copy-cat) Torrens title system of land laws an “un-title system” for an “un-think-full” society – minus the hyphens of course. Our Torrens system of land ownership via government controlled registration is certainly incompatible with much of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and its twin binding treaties of 1966 – International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICESCR). It also creates the opportunity for all sorts of legalised land frauds and thefts in our civil courts (especially our infamous family law courts, discussed below) and enables all sorts of corruption in high places when it comes to grants, confiscations, creations and other dealings out of mining tenements. We in Australia, and even re-indigenised South Africa as I understand it, have major fraud and corruption problems stemming from our faulty human rights violating land titles laws. We need a land liberation movement to liberate land – not just people, but the soil itself – from clogs of lawyer inventionism and lawyerised racism and class law fare. Any fracked- or mined- or “lock the gate” farmer will tell you this, even if they can’t see and express it this clearly. Even billionaire pastoralists like Andrew “Twiggy” Forest, who couldn’t stop mining on “his” pastoral lands, needs land rights and is a poignant demonstration that nobody – not even the mega rich – has land rights in Australia today except temporarily to the extent commensurate with their political affluence – and even billionaire Twiggy Forest’s political affluence can’t breach that gap.
6. I prefer to avoid reductio ab Hitlerian arguments. But comparisons between Hitler’s White “Ayrian” ideology, South African “Apartheid” and Australia’s “White Australia” are natural, unavoidable and even necessary. I must point out that Hitler was fast to adopt the British-Australian Westminster system of fusing the Executive and the Parliamentary arms of the State. Doing so, Hitler effectively turned his nation’s parliament into a puppet of the permanent bureaucracy / judiciary of lawyers, turning the ritual of elections into a farce and a facade – as Aldous Huxley describes in his “Brave New World Revisited” set of essays. Hitler did this via his “Enabling Laws” as soon as he could after seizing political power by force and deception. Thereafter most Nazi laws were made by “regulations” by-passing Parliament entirely (as they do in the British, Australian and other Westminster systems of non-democratic government). Hitler adopted the Australian-South African “racial supremacy” domestically – but was Hitler any more fierce than the Australian practices? I’d argue that for subtly and longevity and success rate the Australian method surpasses the South African and German imitators. In purely domestic terms, over two centuries not just two decades, successive bi-partisan “White Australia” regimes have been more ferocious in racist practices and results than Nazi Germany. And the Nazis loved the shameful “eugenics” quackery, which was of course “invented” in Australia (Melbourne University, no less). Hitler’s downfall was to apply “White Australia” style practices externally (the horror of his “internal” race wars largely came to light only after the unconditional surrender of the Nazi regime). But even Hitler did not get as far as embedding racism into the very legalise language of the land laws like post-1860 Australia has and as South Africa copied us.
7. What impact has White Australia Policy and practices had on Australia’s non-indigenous peoples? Let’s start with migration-seekers to Australia, whom I include in a broader class of “exogenous peoples”. Specifically, let’s focus on the smaller set of humanitarian migration-seekers – what we call “asylum seekers” and, if their claims are proven genuine, we redesignate as “refugees”. Contrast the benign Whitlam and Fraser years of racial progress. These were followed, post-Hawke, by Keating’s mandatory detention centres, Howard’s “Pacific Solution”, Gillard-Rudd-Gillard’s “Malaysia Solution” and now Abbott’s “Operation Sovereign Borders”. These are all external projections of Australia’s White Australia practices onto the world stage. Small wonder the universal condemnation at home and abroad for flexing racism against exogenous peoples, that successive Australian administrations have traditionally flexed in spades against indigenous peoples.
8. Next, let’s consider focusing on non-indigenous and non-exogenous peoples whom I call “endogenous peoples”. These are people like me (a 6th generation colonist) whose ancestors arrived post-1778. Australia is the only nation in the world today that does not have a formal constitutional (or equivalent, national legislative) bill of rights – so no constitutional checks and balances against rampant oppression by those exercising government and judicial powers and most times no legal standing to formally protest those abuses and no legal protections from further rounds of reprisal abuse for speaking up against those powers. My noted fellow legal brethren Geoffrey Robertson and George Williams used to note a decade ago that Australia’s co-recalcitrant nations were Burma and Chile. 3 odd-fellows among 192 nation members of the UN. But both Burma and Chile now have constitutional human rights guarantees. Only Australia does not. Australia is also the only country in the world that keeps the old feudal law that it is against the law to sue barristers who mess up in court. This was always unique to the British Empire (though never part of Scotts law). Barristers (being upper class elites) were above being sued by commoners under common law or Kings law. From “Lex is Rex” and the “King can do no wrong” to “Rule of Lawyers” (as Geoffrey Roberston coined it in his “InjusticeGames”) and “Barrister Advocates can do no wrong.” The UK House of Lords abolished this legal elitism by 15:0 in 2000, bringing some 10,000 UK and Welsh barristers subject to universal professional negligence laws for the first time. Over the hundreds of years that the Barrister advocate immunity existed, it never applied to more than 5,000 or so English and Welsh Barristers. It was never part of the British “injustice game” of the law that 100,000 British and Welsh litigation solicitors be exempt from professional negligence laws like their upper class barristers were pre-2000. After that 2000 House of Lords decision ( a collection of two family lawyer negligence complaints and a small debt collection complaint, reported under the latter title of A J Mitchell and Son), from 2000 to 2004 Australian litigation barristers remained the sole bastion of this feudal class elitism and gross violation of “rule of law”. Then in 2004, Victoria Legal Aid and another Victorian lawyer-ed up government agency violated Attorney-Generals Guidelines and misused millions of legal aid dollars with a contrived, lopsided test case (D’Orta-Ekenaike v Victoria Legal Aid and (a Barrister)). In 2005 Australia became the first and only nation in the world where it is now against the law to sue any of our 70,000 litigation solicitors (not just 7,000 barristers) if they are “negligent (or worse)” in the court room. Combine this with the reality that for 5+ generations 90% of parliamentarians, 95% of public service heads, and 100% of judiciary are all lawyers (same surnames crop up generation after generation right back to even before Federation). D’Orta caps this institutional “Bunyip Aristocracy” of the lawyer elite, and is far more powerful and effective that Abbott’s recent creation of “Knights and Dames” (I needn’t reference Hitler’s Nazi knights and dames system, do I?). Clear signs that, our convict class system (of ruler and indentured class) has grown informally, and now taking formal legalised shape) into a lawyerocracy – not just racism but classism).
9. On the one hand Australians are told we don’t need a bill of rights because our judiciary and our great common law tradition and constitutional conventions protect us. Yet at the same time when we seek protections we are told by the lawyers (as judiciary) that “there is nothing in the Constitution to stop these D’Orta laws” (6 out of 7 High Court of Australia Judges – lone dissenter being Hon Michael Kirby J) or by lawyers (as executive) that freedom of speech and freedom of the press are not guaranteed by our constitution (Justice Ray Finkelstein QC sitting as the Finkelstein “Royal (sic) Commission”). We are deluded (adjective) and deluded (transitive verb) at every level.
10. To see this class warfare at work, you need only visit any courtroom in Australia, any day of the week. You will see that indigenous people are vastly overrepresented in criminal and civil justice systems, including our unconstitutional, killer family courts (which operate on an industrial scale human rights atrocities and ‘stolen generation’ style separations. In family courts alone, 100,000 plus new families (mostly endogenous peoples, but indigenous are grossly overrepresented) have their estates drawn and quartered, their lands aboriginated and their children stolen, to feed 30,000 or so of our 100,000 lawyer elite – all bankrolled, or seed capital-ed using taxpayer funds to the tune of $4 billion ($40,000 per family). Senators and MPs openly refer to the family courts as “the abattoirs” yet not one of them does anything about it. Just 4 parliamentary speeches by 3 different MPs in 2 decades (MHR Pauline Hansen 1996, Deputy Speaker Alain Rocher 1997, MHR George Christensen 2012, Senator John Madigan 2014. But no Parliamentary action to shut these abattoirs down. Ex-PM John Howard in his airbrushed autobiography describes the (Whitlam era) Family Law Act 1975 as the biggest mistake / regret of his political career. Family law genocide is a plus $40 bn pa industry. Wills and Estates are an $80bn pa industry. All run by lawyers for lawyers – “Soylent Green and Gold”. The Wills and Estates industry is the biggest in Australia. The Family Law industry rivals Mining as our second biggest industry, overshadowing agriculture, manufacturing and tourism. Refugee Abuse and Indigenous Abuse are lucrative multi-billion dollar industries with the added lucre of 100% captive (taxpayer) funding. Such economic and political corruption is not the cancer in the system; it is the heart muscle, the raison d’être, the veins, arteries, blood stream and digestive tract for the system.
11. Australia’s lawyer elite, a mafios styled lawyerocracy, have not only freed themselves from legal duties of care in the court room, lawyers have also freed themselves from external regulation – even from self-regulation. Legal regulatory are are established. There are 7 or more in every State. They are lavishly funded at taxpayer expense and staffed with nepotism. But rather than regulating the lawyers, in true institutional mafia form they abuse these resources to protect, enhance and exploit the very corruption that their oaths of appointment, charters and constitutions proclaim that they are supposed to prevent.
12. And the reins of power are completed, the concentration of the 3 powers of the judiciary, the executive and the parliamentary in the hands of a common and self-reproucing lawyer class elite is complete. We have lawyers alone selecting (not even electing) all senior judicial appointments (the ‘nomination by the elected MP / Attorney-General is mere ritual). Ditto all chief public agency appointments are lawyers. And of course the two dominant political parties are both conservative parties full of lawyer elites. The surnames of our incumbent judges, public agency chiefs and parliamentarians have hardly changed at all across four or five generations. Not just and no longer “the sixty families that own Australia” that were identified in the 1950s, the dominance of Australia’s powerful ruling lawyer families can be seen as far back as six, seven, even eight generations.
A. Lady Aung San Suu Kyi famously wrote from internal forced exile that power corrupts – power corrupts those who wield it and it corrupts those who it is wielded against.
B. Stuck in time and in geography between the “Old World” of Europe and the “New World” of the Americas, Australia is a “Brave New World”, an 18th century penal colony re-minted as a 19th century nation state that has not shaken off the brutality of its elite-convict class legal divide and assimilation-genocide origins. Our indigenous gaps, our glass ceilings, our bamboo ceilings and our class ceilings have seeped from our penal colony structure into our collective and individual psyches and psychologies.
C. Australian society today, when seen clearly a hover position directly above the political and psychological walls of our the racial and class divides, illustrates just how deeply power can corrupt every pore of our existence and our reality, power shaping and driving without us even being aware of it, our thoughts and perceptions, and our non-thoughts and non-perceptions of ourselves and the world around us.
D. As I have been doing for the past many years, I am happy to give my time, skill and 25 plus years top-tier corporate, government and legal expertise freely to any indigenous, exogenous and endogenous peoples movements who are want to make a difference by educating and fixing these human rights atrocities. Until we do, nobody in this continent is a true citizen, we are all denizens. We all have the potential – especially but not just indigenous, exogenous and non-lawyer elite endogenous, to be aboriginated of our lands, liberty and life with legal, constitutional and institutional impunity with relative ease by our endogenous lawyer elite.
James Johnson CHR
Writing on the Path to Democracy
11 July 2014