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Speech Transcripts, Excerpts and Audio Recordings
The Framers of the Constitution—Their Intentions Print E-mail
Saturday, 18 October 2003
The 2003 ACM National Conference
The YWCA Hotel Conference Centre

Sydney Australia

Transcript as provided to the Office of Research and Education


DR MCGRATH: Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen.


It gives me great pleasure to have this opportunity to speak at the launching of my Book “The Framers of the Constitution—Their Intentions.”


It is not inappropriate that the launch is described in the Program as a “Champagne Launch”. One need only refer to the Menues for the various formal dinners that accompanied the Conventions of the 1890”s, to appreciate that the Framers of the Constitution were not only highly intelligent men, but they were also men of taste and refinement, who appreciated the importance of good food and wine. Afterall it was not for nothing that Sir Edmund Barton, the leader of the 1897 Convention, was nicknamed “Tosspot Toby” by his enemies!

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Why the Crown still matters Print E-mail
Saturday, 18 October 2003
The YWCA Hotel Conference Centre
Sydney, Australia
Transcript as released by the Office of Research and Education


PROFESSOR FLINT: During the nineties, a survey undertaken by the Australian government showed that not many Australians knew much about their Constitution.

This may have since improved, but the peoples’ understanding is not helped by republican experts who denigrate it as a ‘horse and buggy’ constitution. It is interesting that few American authorities criticise the US constitution in similar terms, although it is twice as old as ours.
What is particularly unfortunate is that some of these critics, even professors of law, criticise our Constitution because it does not refer to such matters as the Cabinet or the office of the Prime Minister.

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Federalism and the Crown - The Odd Couple Print E-mail
Saturday, 18 October 2003
The YWCA Hotel Conference Centre
Sydney, Australia
Transcript as released by the Office of Research and Education


PROFESSOR MELLEUISH: The Australian system of government at the federal level is an amalgamation of responsible government and federalism. By responsible government is meant what the British in the nineteenth century called party government and is also referred to as the Westminster System. The government, and its officials, are responsible for their actions and expenditure to the Parliament and hence ultimately to the people who elected them. Federalism means that the power to make and administer laws is divided between a central government and provincial or state governments with each competent within its own particular sphere. Responsible government tends to concentrate power, federalism to separate and diffuse it.


Responsible government stands for democratic accountability, federalism for the liberal idea of the separation of powers and the diffusion of power generally. On first inspection it might seem that responsible government would be more likely to be associated with the ideals of monarchy and federalism with those of republicanism. However, when we look more closely we can see that both federalism and responsible government are elements of the development of constitutional monarchy.

The early advocates of the idea of sovereignty, such as Jean Bodin in France and Thomas Filmer in England, were opposed to the idea that sovereignty could be shared by a number of bodies in a political entity. Both were monarchists of the Absolute variety and were opposed to the idea of mixed government. Mixed government is the theory that the most effective system of government, and the one least likely to decay and degenerate, is one in which power is shared between the one (monarchy), the few (aristocracy) and the many (democracy). The struggle of Parliament against the King in seventeenth century England was not directed against monarchy as such. Rather it opposed the unified ideal of monarchy and sovereignty that concentrated power, in an unaccountable way, in the hands of the monarch. It favoured a mixed system in which power was shared.


In the wake of the Glorious Revolution of 1688 the English tended to understand the form of government that the Revolution had established as being mixed in nature. The key players were the Monarch, the aristocratic House of Lords and the democratic House of Commons. Certainly the French philosophe Montesquieu recognised that the British (as they had become after the Act of Union) had created a new type of political system. It was not a republic like Venice or ancient Rome, but neither was it a traditional monarchy like France.

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The Governor-General as Commander-in-Chief Print E-mail
Saturday, 18 October 2003
The YWCA Conference Centre
Sydney, Australia
Transcript as released by the Office of Research and Education


Air Marshal Evans AC DSO AFC : I find quite surprising, the level of interest shown in the relationship between the Governor-General and the Australian Defence Force. It is not, I assume, because we now have a retired military officer as Governor-General and Commander-in-Chief of the ADF. Or is there a dormant fear that he will call on the defence force to seize Government – have Phillip Ruddock locked in irons, John Howard banished to an internment centre on Norfolk and a complaint Chief of the Defence Force installed in Kirribilli House. However, the reality is that this concern between the Sovereign and the Parliament has been going on for centuries.
I am often amused by politicians – speaking of the primacy of the civil power – declaring that they would not want another Cromwell. Obviously, they overlook or are not aware of the fact that Cromwell was a member of parliament who seized power and became a General. Not the General who took over the parliament and later sentenced the King to death. Major General Jeffery might well remind our politicians of this fact from time to time.

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Crown as a symbol of unity in the Defence Forces and as a non-political source of allegiance Print E-mail
Friday, 17 October 2003
Address to the 2003 ACM National Conference
The YWCA Conference Centre
Transcript as released by the Office of Research and Education


VICE ADMIRAL LEACH AC CBE LVO: Executive Director, Ladies and Gentleman As a patron of the Australian Monarchist League, I am pleased to be with you today and hope that our two organisations – the Monarchist League and Australians For Constitutional Monarchy can work together even more closely in the future, because we have essentially the same aim.
It is even more important that we work together, with the announcement of a Senate Inquiry into an Australian Republic. This is in spite of millions of dollars having been spent on the issue of a REPUBLIC over the last decade and its rejection in the 1999 Referendum.

Of course, we will all be paying for this Inquiry with the community participation and the public hearings Australia-wide that have been signalled.
The Monarchist League has been active and successful in countering the previous government’s move to remove the portrait of Her Majesty the Queen from Government offices and diplomatic posts and changing the oath of allegiance. The Crown as a symbol of unity in the Defence Force is summed up well by the Navy motto “FEAR GOD, HONOUR THE QUEEN”.
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Civics Education - "Why Aren't Our Kids Being Taught Proper? Print E-mail
Friday, 17 October 2003
Belconnen Inn Conference Centre
Canberra, Australia

Transcript as released by the Office of Research and Education


MR DUDMAN: “If you go down to the school today, you could be in for a big surprise.”

All Australians need to know what is being taught at their local school in Civics Education. What are the kids learning about their own Australian Constitution, history, heritage, traditions and values?


Much of our history, heritage and traditions are being neglected or downplayed to accommodate “political correctness”. This is driven in part by political agendas from State Governments. In broad terms, government is pressuring Curriculum Committees to write material favourable to their political ideology. Pressure is in turn applied to school staff to comply.


Curricula are generally in two parts:


1. Core Curriculum
2. School Based Curriculum.


Core Curriculum, which is compulsory in each subject area, can be easily influenced by ideology because of different pressure groups. Radical ideas are often included and traditional values and history, which the community expects to be taught, are left out.

Secondly, there is School Based Curriculum, which is written for the needs of each individual school. The Principal and Staff write this material to suit the needs of their own school. Even though good work is done, important topics on Australian heritage and traditions are often neglected or distorted.


An example of this manipulation or distortion is a change of terminology.


“The discovery and exploration of Australia” in HSIE has been rewritten as “The European invasion of Australia”. Emphasis has been given to the so called conquest of indigenous Australians. The positive features of the “First Settlement”, “The First Fleet’s Journey, and the foundation of modern Australia have been downplayed and the “negative” has been emphasised. Many parents, friends and teachers are concerned about the negative influence this type of distortion has on the Civics Education of children and grandchildren.

Governor Phillip in fact went out of his way to be fair and compassionate towards indigenous Australians and respected their culture and lifestyle. None of this is emphasised in curriculum areas in many schools. In many areas the teaching of our history and heritage has become “apologetic” and not “factual”.
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Keeping the Crown in people's minds Print E-mail
Friday, 17 October 2003
Senator Minchin: Thank you for the opportunity to speak.


Congratulate ACM on the Conference, and all of you on your support for this vital organisation.


I’m a member of a number of community organisations dedicated to important causes – the Liberal Party; Sustainable Population Australia, Chapman Society, Lavoisier Group, Samuel Griffith Society, and of course the Adelaide Football Club.


But I regard the ACM and its cause as being at least as important as any of the other bodies I support.


I cannot think of anything more important to our legal, political and constitutional structure than our Constitutional Monarchy.


It is the bedrock, the foundation, the lynchpin of one of the most sophisticated and successful set of constitutional arrangements in the world.


I’ve been part of many successful election campaigns in my 26 years of active politics, but nothing has given me more satisfaction than our victory in the Referendum on 6 November 1999.


What was so significant about the success of the NO case was that it was a grassroots campaign, which overcame a mighty army arrayed against us – the media, the Labor Party, the Australian Democrats, State Governments and Oppositions, numerous significant Liberals and the intellectual elites.


Ours was thus a stunning and comprehensive victory.


But I offer 2 critical messages – supporters of our Constitutional Monarchy cannot be complacent; and we must be realistic, not romantic, about why we won.


Guarding against complacency is the prime responsibility of this great organisation, and I commend Kerry and David and other ACM leaders on the level of activity being maintained in the wake of the referendum.


It would’ve been easy to pack up and go home after the battle of ’99 – but you know as well as I do, the war of ideas goes on.


In fact Labor and the Democrats recently combined to pass a motion to have a Senate Committee inquire into the establishment of and models for an Australian republic. The Committee is yet to call for submissions, but when it does I urge you to have your say.

Australian supporters of a republic remain highly motivated and committed, and have enormous resources at their disposal.


It was intriguing to see Australian republicans drool over Peter Hollingworth’s recent difficulties. In the referendum campaign the republicans mocked our assertion that we already have in the Governor General an Australian Head of State, but as they sought to capitalise on Peter Hollingworth’s situation, they all willingly and self-servingly described him as Australia’s Head of State.


It was breathtaking hypocrisy on the part of so many of our antagonists in 1999.


But the commentary surrounding the sad demise of Peter Hollingworth must surely have confirmed for all time that the Governor-General is indeed our Head of State.


The process by which Peter Hollingworth was replaced by Major-General Michael Jeffery as our Head of State also demonstrated what an effective set of Constitutional arrangements we are blessed with.


But we can never be complacent about defending these from Republican attack.


I also said that we must be realistic, not romantic, about why we won.


There are no doubts many Australians who love the British Royal family and the magic of monarchy.


Many of us are delighted that an Australian woman is joining the Danish royal family, and the republican Australian media has taken a remarkable interest in that happy event.


Nevertheless, we should not kid ourselves that the NO case prevailed 4 years ago because of majority enthusiasm for the British Crown and royal family.


A key and distinguishing feature of Australians is our pragmatism.


My good friend and fellow Constitutional Monarchist Alexander Downer, has come to know the world intimately in his 7.5 years as our outstanding Foreign Minister.

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Successful Constitutional Monarchies in Modern Times Print E-mail
Friday, 17 October 2003
The YWCA Conference Centre
Sydney, Australia

Transcript as released by the Office of Research and Education


MR WILLIAMSON-JONES: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. I must thank Kerry and the ACM for inviting me to be here today and I must thank you for attending to listen to what I hope will be of some interest.


“Successful Constitutional Monarchies in Modern Times”


When the word “constitution” is used in regard to states, the Oxford English Dictionary defines it as “mode in which the state is organised” and “body of fundamental principles according to which the state is governed”.


Usually, when one speaks of a constitutional state, one means that the country has a Western-style, liberal, democratic constitution, and where the citizen has the fundamental rights of free speech: free assemblage: a free press: free, regular elections: freedom from arbitrary arrest, etc., and when we speak of a constitutional monarchy, one implies that the liberal, democratic state has, as the Head of State, an hereditary monarch who is above the everyday politics of that state.


In regard to today’s subject matter, I could stand here and spiel figure after figure that would show that each of the states that is covered by the title has a high GNP, high standards of health, education, general living conditions, and all of the other usual comparative tables, and, therefore, “… that state is successful…”.


Rather than bore you with this type of information, which is only of interest to statisticians, economists, politicians and the like, I would rather talk about less monetary-based and intangible examples of success, that is, where a constitutional monarch conducted his or herself in such a manner that, at a particular moment in his or her kingdom’s history, was crucial to the kingdom’s constitutional survival.


By the end of 1941, a free Europe had all but ceased to exist. To paraphrase the great Sir Winston, from the tip of the Iberian Peninsula in the west to the Urals in the east, from Norway in the north to Naples in the south, the ancient states and monarchies were either under the control of the Nazis, their Axis partners, the co-fascist friends, or under the heel of that other insidious regime, the Soviet Union.


As country after country fell to the seemingly prepotent Nazis, many supporters of the pre-conquest governments fled mainland Europe, mainly to the United Kingdom, where they helped to establish governments-in-exile. These governments were to help to continue the fight for freedom, and, just as importantly for the long term view, to maintain the legality of the corporative nation, the existence of a legitimate, free government, and to have an embryonic ministry from which an expanded government could be formed for the quick re-establishment of normality in the vacuum left when the state was freed from subjugation.

The monarchs who helped to establish and maintain the legitimacy of these governments-in-exile, all played very important parts throughout this period.


Queen Wilhelmina of The Netherlands, King Haakon VII of Norway, Grand Duchess Charlotte of Luxemburg, all headed governments-in-exile in the United Kingdom, and King George II of The Hellenes established his in Egypt.


Not only were these constitutional monarchs important from the political and legal points of view, they were able to fulfil that mystical “something” that republicans cannot, or will not, comprehend; they allowed their countrymen to discharge one of the basic, emotional feelings of man, they became a figurehead around which one could rally. Members of the remnants of their armed forces and many new volunteers who were able to escape from their captured nations, flooded to them, helping to form vital components of the Allied Services.

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Titbits from the Republicans Print E-mail
Friday, 17 October 2003
The YWCA Conference Centre
Sydney, Australia

Transcript as released by the Office of Research and Education
 

Mr Gibson: My involvement over the years as a full time volunteer has revealed some interesting “tit bits” and I list a few today.


They could be called:-


“Curious Republican Contradictions” or
“A catalogue of conflict”


The referendum was damagingly and acrimoniously divisive.

We observed respected former Governors-General. Chief Justices, Prime Ministers, Academics with Constitutional expertise, Coalition Ministers and Members all disagreeing implacably And most regrettably and sadly, serious divisions occurred within families, at the work place and among friends. And now we observe that republicans are still totally unable to unite to present a Republican Constitution which represents the aspirations of a majority of their own supporters. Instead they ask us to pick one of 5 or 6 different models in draft and totally lacking the difficult and essential detail.


Firstly, they have serious internal disagreement on a direct election model. A.R.M. Chair Prof. John Warhurst is on record that the next ARM Conference will deal only repeat ONLY with the direct election model.(1) The “Australian” newspoll of last year says 79% prefer a President directly elected by the people. But Neville Wran says:


“As a matter of tactics, those who want a republic in place must take the direct electionists head on - the principle of the popular vote – is a recipe for chaos and confusion.”(2)

Read more...
 
The Crown and the High Court - Celebrating the 100th birthday of the High Court of Australia Print E-mail
Thursday, 16 October 2003
Address at the ACM Parliamentary Luncheon
on the occasion of the 2003 ACM National Conference
NSW Parliament House
Sydney, Australia

Transcript as released by the Office of Research and Education


SIR HARRY GIBBS: During this year we have celebrated two anniversaries, each of which is of constitutional significance. First, was the 50th anniversary of the Coronation on 2nd July 1953 of Her Majesty the Queen. More recent was the 100th anniversary of the first sitting of the High Court of Australia which occurred in Melbourne on 6 October 1903. The Crown and the Court each has a significant place in our Constitution and each has the protection which the Constitution affords. The nature of their functions is, however, very different. Except when the Governor General, as the Queen’s representative, acts in accordance with the advice of his ministers, the constitutional functions of the Crown are not publicly exercised on a regular basis. Behind the scenes the Governor-General has what must be the onerous task of checking the validity of decisions recorded in documents which he is asked to sign. He also has important ceremonial functions, which tend to enhance the unity of the nation, and to indicate to public officials that their primary loyalty is to the people of Australia, and not to a political party that happens to be in power. However, the powers which the Governor-General can exercise on his own account, that is without, or even contrary to, ministerial advice, are the reserve powers. Those powers are essential to ensure the smooth working of the constitution, to protect our system of responsible government, and to ensure that the views of the electorate will ultimately prevail. They include the power, in certain circumstances, to appoint or dismiss the Prime Minister and to dissolve, or refuse to dissolve, the House of Representatives, or both Houses. However the occasion for the exercise of these powers, other than in a routine way, rarely arises. By contrast, the High Court has a very active and public part to play in the exercise of its constitutional functions.

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Jane Austen As A Monarchist Print E-mail
Tuesday, 08 April 2003
NSW Parliament
Sydney, Australia
Transcript as released by the Office of Research and Education

JANE AUSTEN AS A MONARCHIST

The powers and the role of the monarchy were important issues in Jane Austen’s lifetime and they were issues which she commented on in her letters and explored within her fiction. She certainly heard both sides of the debate – just across the channel was a country which sent its royals to the guillotine – and she came down firmly on the side of retaining and respecting the monarchy.


The Hanoverians had been on the throne for sixty years when Jane Austen was born into a clergy family in 1775. George III, who reigned from 1760 to 1821, was on the throne throughout the whole of Joan Austen’s short life, but he was not in power for all of that time. He showed the first sign of ‘madness’ (thought now to be the disease Porphyria) in 1788 and by 1811 was so unwell that his son, George, Prince of Wales, took over as Regent. By the time he came to the throne as George IV, Jane Austen had been dead four years. The problems of a Regency were much commented on in the press during these years and Jane Austen picked up the theme in Mansfield Park. In that novel the landowner and ruler of the house, Sir Thomas Bertram, has to travel abroad to see to his estates in the West Indies. In his absence he hands control of the house and estate to his eldest son, Tom. How Tom deals with this responsibility and what occurs during Tom’s own small “Regency” are vital aspects of the book.

Jane Austen, like most English people of the time, admired and respected George III. Frugal, domestic, conscientious and rural, the King was popularly known as Farmer George. It is no coincidence that Jane Austen named her gentleman farmer hero, the man who benevolently watches over the guides the Highbury community, “George” Knightly. The Austen family were Tory in their politics (like the King) and Jane Austen’s two brothers served their King loyally in the Royal Navy, defending England from an invasion by Napoleon.
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