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ACM Home arrow Return the Governor

Return the Governor

Evicted from Government House by Bob Carr in 1996, ACM is calling for the return of the Governor of New South Wales to Government House in Sydney.

To find out more about the campaign, including the power-grab that was behind the Governor's eviction, you can read our coverage below. To get involved, be sure to download and read our Return The Governor brochure.

This section begins with a series on the role and function of the Governor. This is followed by reports on the eviction.



Power grab- the Governor still evicted Print E-mail
Written by Professor David Flint AM   
Thursday, 06 April 2006

The eviction of the NSW Governor-and future governors- from Government House was, as we always suspected, a power grab by the politicians. As I wrote in a letter to Quadrant published in this column, “Power Grab Confirmed “, on 12 March 2006   , “… the real reason the Governor was thrown out was to diminish the office, and to intimidate the Governor into never using any discretionary reserve powers he or she might have over an errant Premier.”  

My letter was provoked by a letter in the March 2006 edition of Quadrant. This was from Mr. Gordon Samuels, who was governor in 1997 when the then Premier, the Hon Bob Carr, decided that governors of NSW should no longer live in Government House. Mr. Samuels objected to the description of this as an eviction in Sir David Smith’s recent book, Head of State

My letter has now been published in the April 2006 edition of Quadrant , along with the following letter from Sir David Smith:

Read more...
 
Power Grab Confirmed Print E-mail
Written by Professor David Flint AM   
Sunday, 12 March 2006

The power grab by New South Wales’ republican politicians   led them, as we reported , to remove the Oath of Allegiance. This is to be replaced by a meaningless pledge more appropriate to a Peoples’ Republic. It is all a part of an attack on the Crown, and more particularly, the role of the Crown as a constitutional guardian. It is clear these politicians are intent on being as unaccountable as they possibly can. 
(This does not stop them  using the Crown when it suits them. According Anne Davies in the Sydney Morning Herald on 10 March 2006, the NSW  Government has introduced a bill  to make public servants employees of the Crown. By moving its employees from statutory corporations to the Crown, the NSW Government believes it can shield about 186,000 public servants, including nurses and teachers, from the federal WorkChoices legislation.Have they no shame?)

This campaign against the Crown began in New South Wales  1997  when the Premier, the Hon Bob Carr evicted the Governor from Government House.  Taking umbrage to the reference to this in a review of Sir David Smith’s book, Head Of State, as an eviction,  the then Governor, Mr. Gordon Samuels wrote to journal, Quadrant. His letter is published in the March edition.Mr. Samuels, a distinguished retired judge , did not mention certain other  aspects of his appointment, and Mr. Carr’s recent admission of the real reason why he wanted to evict  the  Governor.
 I sent this letter to Paddy Mc Guinness, the editor:
"Sir,
No one could doubt the integrity of Gordon Samuels, who has contributed much to public life.But his comment on the eviction of the Governor from Government House, Sydney, (Quadrant, and March, 2005) cannot go unanswered. It raises one crucial question: did Mr. Carr tell Mr. Samuels the real reason for this?The official reason for the decision that not only Mr. Samuels but his successors be evicted from the purpose built Government House, was that it could be returned to the people. This was a curious formulation as the House had never been taken from them, and in any event, was regularly open to the public. The public made its views known, Australians for Constitutional Monarchy filling Macquarie Street with one of the largest peaceful demonstrations seen in recent years.
The reported and never denied remark at the time by Premier Carr,"This one's for Jack Lang", suggested something more sinister, suggesting a  long and vengeful memory of some distant battle more typical of dissident European ethnic groups than a modern politician.
Mr. Carr confirmed the real reason for the eviction when in November, 2005, he launched another edition of Mr. Whitlam's apologia for being dismissed, The Truth of the Matter.  He said then that one lesson from the dismissal was the potentially corrupting role of the vice-regal office. This, Mr. Carr said, was the reason he had decided the NSW Governor would not live in Government House. ( Sydney Morning Herald, 8 November, 2005)
So the real reason the Governor was thrown out was to diminish the office, and to intimidate the Governor into never using any discretionary reserve powers he or she might have over an errant Premier. Mr. Carr went on to claim the trappings of vice-regal life had drawn Sir John Kerr to the "delusion" that his role was to exercise real power rather than serve as a ceremonial figurehead. 
"Living in the gilded cage of Admiralty House and Government House at Yarralumla, being attended on by security chiefs, ambassadors and visiting heads of state, created the illusion in this man that the paper role of Governor-General had a reality." 
This explains Mr. Carr’s other, fortunately unsuccessful, attempts to downgrade the office.  The ceremonial function was to be reduced, Mr. Samuels was to be part time, and he was to continue as Chairman of the Law Reform Commission. When the obvious incompatibility of the latter with constitutional propriety and rectitude was pointed out, these  were  quietly abandoned.
 But the unpopular, costly, inconvenient and demeaning policy on Government House continues, with the appalling corollary that no one who lives outside of Sydney who is not extremely wealthy can be made Governor. 
 In the meantime any incumbent lives under the constant threat that he or she must never exercise the reserve powers inherent in the office.

Yours etc”

Read more...
 
Why Bob Carr ejected the Governor Print E-mail
Written by Professor David Flint AM   
Sunday, 27 November 2005

In our last column, we pointed out that in his recent bombshell, former NSW Premier Bob Carr had undermined his successor.

The real reason for throwing the Governor out of Government House was not cost. It was not public accessibility. It was far more sinister.

According to Tony Stephens in the Sydney Morning Herald of 8 November, 2005 ("Whitlam leaves past behind with gifts from high time and low"), Bob Carr revealed this at the launch on the previous day of a third edition of Mr Gough Whitlam’s book, The Truth of the Matter.

Image 

Dismissing, without having read it, Sir David Smith’s authoritative book, Head of State, Carr told Whitlam: "Your victory over Kerr is complete. The battlefield has been abandoned."

And then Carr dropped his bombshell.

 

...the real reason.....

Read more...
 
Why Carr did it Print E-mail
Written by Professor David Flint AM   
Saturday, 26 November 2005

In our last column, we recalled Bob Carr’s ham-fisted decision tho throw the Governor out of Government House and make the office part time.

All of the alleged advantages of the decision - cost and accessibility have been shown to be wrong.

Costs have spiralled, the House is no more accessible than it could be with the Governor in residence, and the Governor spends an inordinate time in Sydney’s traffic jams. Nobody who lives outside of Sydney can ever be made Governor.

Read more...
 
Carr's bombshell: why he did that to the Governor Print E-mail
Written by Professor David Flint AM   
Friday, 25 November 2005
In a bombshell admission, the former NSW Premier, Hon. Bob Carr has thrown new light on his extraordinary decision to throw the Governor out of Government House.

In 1996, during the Keating led euphoria of a republic whose early birth was deemed inevitable by Australia’s elites, Carr decided he would make his mark on republican history.

He would not only throw the Governor out of his home, Government House, he would make the office part time!

Those ceremonial functions the Premier deemed “excessive, irrelevant and unbecoming” would be removed.

Read more...
 
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