I am deeply saddened that illness has prevented me from being with you all at our wonderful Australian National Conference.
We Australians for Constitutional Monarchy stand shoulder to shoulder in upholding and supporting our magnificent Australian Constitution, the finest Constitution in the World today. Our Australian Constitution guarantees all Australians rights, liberties and freedoms which are the very envy of the rest of the world. Our great Australian Constitution guarantees us our birthright, a Parliamentary democracy, under the Crown and under the Rule of Law.
Our Constitution has given Australia the finest and most peaceful Parliamentary democracy in the world since 1901, that is through the entire turbulent twentieth century and now well into the twenty-first century. I have the great honour to be a seventh-generation Australian, born and bred in the second oldest State of the Commonwealth of Australia, the magnificent State of Tasmania. Our State of Tasmania has great natural beauty and historic splendour which has properly made Tasmania world famous. Our State of Tasmania has peace and tranquility, and our State of Tasmania is without doubt the finest place in the world in which to live. Through the Founding Fathers – including the Hon Andrew Inglis Clark MP - our State of Tasmania played the equal-leading role in the drafting of our great Australian Constitution.
My fellow Australians for Constitutional Monarchy, having carefully studied the Australian Constitutional Conventions of the 1890’s, and the Debates contained therein, and having read widely on the subject, I can now categorically state that not one of the many delegates attending the Conventions – and in particular certainly not the Hon Andrew Inglis Clark MP - ever put forward even the slightest suggestion that Australia would ever be anything but an Australian Constitutional Monarchy. Specifically, I can confirm that the word ‘Republic’ was never used by any of the delegates, in any of the debates.
In other words all delegates at all the Australian Constitutional Conventions leading up to the birth of our great Australian Constitution, were clearly of the view that the Australian Constitution which they were developing would create a permanent and enduring Australian Constitutional Monarchy.
My fellow Australians, as we all know, all Australians now rightly honour Australia Day, the 26th January each year. We also know that many of our fellow Australians also rightly honour the 1st January each year as the Anniversary of the day upon which Australia became a Nation – the 1st January 1901.
...Constitution Day ...
As I have proposed in the great Parliament of Tasmania, the Parliament of the second oldest state in the Commonwealth of Australia, on 30 September 2009, we Australians should now also resolve to honour the 9th day of July each year as AUSTRALIAN CONSTITUTION DAY, because it was on that very day, the 9th July 1900 that the Westminster Act which ultimately became our own Australian Constitution, actually formally became Law.
I presume to quote from my speech as reported in the Hansard of the Tasmanian Parliament:-
‘Mr Speaker, I read as follows:-
Commonwealth of Australia Constitution ActAn Act to constitute the Commonwealth of Australia(9th July 1900) WHEREAS the people of New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Queensland, and Tasmania, humbly relying on the blessing of Almighty God, have agreed to unite in one indissoluble Federal Commonwealth under the Crown of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and under the Constitution hereby established: And whereas it is expedient to provide for the admission into the Commonwealth of other Australasian Colonies and possessions of the Queen: Be it therefore enacted by the Queen’s most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:
1. Short title This Act may be cited as the Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act.
Mr Speaker, I turn to Chapter One – the Parliament:Part 1 – General1. Legislative power The legislative power of the Commonwealth shall be vested in a Federal Parliament, which shall consist of the Queen, a Senate, and a House of Representatives, and which is hereinafter called “The Parliament”, or “The Parliament of the Commonwealth”.
And so you see, Mr Speaker, that Australia is indeed a formal legal Australian Constitutional Monarchy. It is, Mr Speaker, the finest Constitutional Monarchy in the world today. It has delivered to the people of Australia peace and good governance, independence and freedom for over 108 years, and, please God, it will continue just as it is. It is strong, Mr Speaker, it is stable, Mr Speaker, and it is so reliable – just so reliable, Mr Speaker.
On behalf of all the people of Australia, our great Australian Constitution proudly proclaims that the people – I repeat it was the people – ‘have agreed to unite in one indissoluble Federal Commonwealth under the Crown’. The Crown Mr Speaker is therefore an integral, fundamental legal part of our great Australian Constitution; the Crown under our Constitution is the Queen of Australia; and the persona of the Crown, Mr Speaker, is Her Most Gracious Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, by the Grace of God, Queen of Australia.
As a very proud seventh-generation Australian I am proud to say, in this great Parliament, the greatest of them all,GOD SAVE THE QUEEN ! Long may she live,God protect Australia,GOD SAVE THE QUEEN !’
...The Constitutional Monarcny...
So there it is, my fellow Australian Constitutional Monarchists. Australia is – by virtue of our great Australian Constitution – an Australian Constitutional Monarchy. That is what those who drafted the Australian Constitution wanted; that is what the States wanted; and that is what – most importantly – the people of Australia wanted when they asked Westminster to pass the Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act.
That Act having passed the Commons and the Lords, and having received the Royal approval of Her Most Gracious Majesty Queen Victoria, became Law, and so from the first day of January 1901 it has been the Constitution of the people of Australia who, as I have proven, had already unanimously agreed to unite ‘in one indissoluble Federal Commonwealth under the Crown’.
It is therefore clear beyond doubt, my fellow Australian Constitutional Monarchists, that you therefore can not have a minimalist or cosmetic alteration to our Australian Constitution such as ‘the tokenistic Republicans’ claim you can.
My fellow Australians, once you tinker with the heart of our great Australian Constitution – which, I have proven, absolutely guarantees us all ‘one indissoluble Federal Commonwealth under the Crown’ you will kill it - you will destroy it forever.
It must therefore be our collective duty – above everything else – to point out clearly to our fellow Australians that any future Referendum put forward by the ‘minimalist Republicans’, advocating a ‘minimalist’ change is absolutely lethal to our Australian Constitution and, having pierced the heart of our great Australian Constitution would kill it forever. None of us would ever want that to happen.
My fellow Australians, there can be no minimalist change to our great Australian Constitution – we are either an AUSTRALIAN CONSTITUTIONAL MONARCHY – as the Founding Fathers and the people of Australia decreed – or we are a Republic. We are either one or the other. There is no half-way house.
Let us resolve to keep the world’s greatest Constitution – our Australian Constitution – exactly as it is today. Everyone knows it has worked well – extremely well. There is no need whatever to fix it. The Australian Constitution is the finest Constitution in the world today. Long may it live.
GOD SAVE THE QUEEN !
[This is a text of the message from the Hon Michael Hodgman QC MP to Australians for Constitutional Monarchy, opening their 10th Annual National Conference which was held on the Gold Coast, Queensland from 23 to 25 October 2009. Mr Hodgman is One of Her Majesty’s Counsel and second-longest serving Member of the Tasmanian Parliament ]