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The Governor-General
Written by ACM   
Sunday, 21 December 2003

December 22, 2003
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

Statement by the National Convenor
National Office, Sydney Australia

The Governor–General, Major General Michael Jeffery was a highly respected and well-liked Governor of Western Australia. A Governor–General’s principal constitutional function -acting as a check and balance on the exercise of political power, is of course not normally conducted under the glare of publicity. Nor indeed was Major-General Jeffery’s command of the SAS.

Read more...
 
The Iraqis could do worse than return to being a constitutional monarchy.
Written by Professor David Flint AM   
Tuesday, 16 December 2003
Australians for a Constitutional Monarchy takes no position on matters relating to the nation's foreign policy, except where it touches on our mission. Nevertheless, readers may be interested in the way in which the constitutional monarchy in Iraq was removed without the consent of the people, and replaced by a brutal dictatorship.

Perhaps you hadn't noticed. It is now clear that Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden were in cahoots, and that from the early 1990s. This involved training in explosives and weapons of mass destruction, logistical support for terrorist attacks, and al Qa'ida training camps and a safe haven in Iraq. There are even indications that Mohammed Atta, one of the terrorists involved in the 9/11 outrage, may have been financed by Saddam.

All of this is contained in a leaked US government memorandum sent in confidence to the Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, which was published by The Weekly Standard in its 24 November 2003 issue. And in case you have doubts, the details are there in chapter and verse.

Now it could be argued this is massive fabrication - but nobody has yet made any cogent argument along these lines. It has been either ignored or downplayed by most of the media. Any conclusion that this was not newsworthy is astounding, given the space and airtime devoted to Iraq, including, for example the exaggerated reports about opposition to the visit of President Bush to London.

The Metropolitan Police estimated the number of protestors as 30,000 - about the number you would expect the Euro rent-a crowd to be able to cobble together in the middle of the week when others are working. The 30,000 were of course never known to stir against Saddam Hussein, or the Jihad that al-Qa'ida has launched against Arab Christians, an already persecuted group, as well as British interests in the Middle East. Not so much because of the US alliance, but as Professor Walid Phares writes, because of what British culture and commitment to freedom mean. (FrontPageMagazine.com November 21, 2003)

 

Newsweek was one of the few media outlets to pick up The Weekly Standard's story, rashly dismissing it as "hype" and saying the case againstSaddam was far from closed.

This allowed The Weekly Standard to demonstrate that either the Newsweek journalists had not seen the memo, or worse, that they had misreported its contents. (Weekly Standard 21 November)

In the event that The Weekly Standard is shown to be wrong, this will in no way affect the legality — or otherwise - of the Coalition intervention in Iraq. Remember the ground relied on by the coalition was that Saddam was in long and obstinate breach of the terms of the truce which ended the first Gulf War.

The terms of this, and the various attempts to enforce it are contained in a long series of enforceable  Security Council resolutions. The legal ground relied on for intervention. It could have just as much been humanitarian or self defence resulting from the link with al-Qa'ida. The Coalition relied most on the fact that Saddam had consistently and repeatedly breached Security Council resolutions in failing to account for the weapons of mass destruction he clearly possessed. As the intervention became certain, these were no doubt hidden, or moved to other countries.

The only serious challenge to the legality of the intervention is in the argument that yet another Security Council resolution was necessary. (But no Western government thought it was necessary in Bosnia, and it certainly would not be a necessary precondition to the exercise of the right of self-defence)

It is of course clear that The Weekly Standard's revelation does not fit the "facts" that have been propagated by many who opposed the intervention. These are that the war was illegal and unjustified, that there were no WMD's, that there was no link between Saddam and al Qa'ida, and that the Coalition is now trapped in some sort of quagmire.

If so, at least Iraqi authorities no longer rape, mutilate or murder political prisoners - there aren't any. The only murders and mutilations are being carried out by the Saddamites, the same people the elites wish Messrs Bush, Blair and Howard had left in power! Iraq now has a free press and a myriad of political parties. And Washington has recently indicated that state power will be returned to an Iraqi government by the end of June 2003.

The principal Iraqi authority is the Governing Council, chosen by the Coalition Provisional Authority. They must have chosen well. As the Egyptian political scientist, Wahid Abdulmajid says, it is the only ruling establishment in the Arab world that includes representatives of most political trends. (Dar al hayat, 11 November 2003.

But according to Christian Lowe, who spent six weeks on assignment there, Iraqis away from Baghdad, especially in the South and North, are relying more on their local town councils to provide essential services. In the meantime the Governing Council has the task of drafting a new constitution and having it approved.

But there may be another way. The Constitution of 1925, although not ideal, provides the context for a democratic government of sorts. Iraqis never abandoned it. As Najdat Fathi Safwat observed in the Beirut based newspaper, Dar al hayat (17 June 2003), under that constitution Iraq had one of the most honest and efficient public services in the Arab world. It enjoyed a strong and prosperous economy.

No one, not even the Head of State, could spend public funds without lawful authority. The Iraqis enjoyed freedom of speech and a press that had considerable freedom. While it declares Islam the official religion, it provides for freedom of worship, including religious courts to deal with religious and family matters. It is not unreasonable to argue that it is still Iraq's constitution.

There was no legal or moral justification for the bloodthirsty coup staged deceitfully by an army commander in 1958. He murdered not only the ruler but as many of his family, men, women and children, whom he could lure into a truce. Then he had their dismembered bodies dragged through the streets.

A dictatorship was imposed, the regime only changing when the despots fell out among themselves and murdered one another. The people had no choice in any of this, and the constitution was never properly changed or revoked. It provides all of the institutions and guarantees needed for Iraq to function again as a democratic state. Rather than trying to reinvent the wheel, it would be easier to revive it. Any necessary changes, particularly that to change the country into a federation could be effected later – the constitution requires an election after any proposed amendments are passed by parliament, after which the parliament must pass them again. Not as good as a Swiss or Australian referendum, but better than those constitutions that do not require the people's approval for change - which is most of them.

The constitution provides for an elected lower house, so all that is needed is to have an election. Because the setting up of rolls could be difficult, the first, and only the first election, could be indirect through the local councils or other local authorities until proper rolls and the electoral machinery were put in place.

The Senate, being nominated as in Canada, could be used to ensure a federal balance between the three likely provinces. There is even provision for an interim constitutional Head of State - the Constitution envisages a regency. The regent would, for reasons of history and legitimacy, have to be from the Hashemites.

They are the ancient family which until relatively recently provided the Guardians of the two Shrines, Mecca and Medina, until Ibn Saud drove them out and declared himself King. One branch still reins in Jordan, which along with Morocco is one of the Arab world's more successful and liberal states.

The most likely interim Head of State, both in terms of lineage and temperament, seems to be the highly regarded Ali Bin al-Husayn, a successful London banker. Then a small child, he was smuggled out to Egypt at the time of the massacre. He himself argues that his legitimacy as anything more than an interim Head could only come in a referendum. There is no time to be lost in restoring the Iraqi state.

As the pieces are already there, why waste so many long and difficult months in unprofitable debate, when a viable Constitution already exists?

 

An edited version of the following article written by David Flint appeared in The Australian Financial Review on 2 December 2003.

Professor David Flint is Chair of the Australian Broadcasting Authority, Convenor of Australians for a Constitutional Monarchy and Emeritus Professor of Law at the University of Technology Sydney. He is author of The Twilight of the Elites, (Freedom Publishing).

 

Disclaimer: The opinions in On Line Opinion are those of the contributors and are not necessarily shared by the editor. Allmaterials, except those from other sites © On Line Opinion 2000-03 ISSN 1442-8458
 
Mark Latham Loses Werriwa
Written by ACM   
Tuesday, 09 December 2003

December 11, 2003
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

Statement by the National Convenor
National Office, Sydney Australia

Mr. Mark Latham, the new Leader of the Opposition, has decided to put the republic back onto the agenda. Yet in 1999, he was not able to persuade his own electors to vote in favour of the model he was campaigning for. His loss was not marginal-it was a catastrophe!

Mr. Latham had everything going for him. He had a safe Labor electorate, the ALP unlike the Liberals, was united, and both the media and the big end of town were sympathetic, Mr. Latham had the celebrities, he had the ground troops to round up the vote, and the model was the one the ALP favoured, yet all he could manage to get in his seat, Werriwa, was a miserable 41.8%.

Read more...
 
Richard Butler Misquotes The Queen
Written by ACM   
Monday, 18 August 2003

August 19, 2003
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

Statement by the National Convenor
National Office, Sydney Australia

“As Mr Richard Butler prepares himself to swear the Oath of Allegiance to The Queen, and become Her Representative in the State of Tasmania, he seems to be having second thoughts” said ACM National Convenor, Professor David Flint.

“But he should not, indeed he should never, attribute to his Sovereign words for which there is not a tittle of evidence she ever uttered.

Read more...
 
A Conversion On The Road To Hobart
Written by ACM   
Sunday, 17 August 2003

August 18 , 2003
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

Statement by the National Convenor
National Office, Sydney Australia

“The announcement that Mr Richard Butler has accepted appointment as The Governor of Tasmania-The Queen’s representative - must indicate a conversion on the part of Mr Butler from his previously enunciated views on the Australian constitutional system” said Professor David Flint, National Convenor of Australians for Constitutional Monarchy (ACM).

“On all accounts Mr Butler, as a distinguished diplomat, is well suited for vice-regal appointment but for one matter-his previously stated antipathy towards the Australian Crown.

Read more...
 
Referendum predicted years before
Written by Professor David Flint AM   
Tuesday, 13 May 2003
On a recent visit to Toowoomba to speak at a prize giving, I was told  that Frank Brennan, in a book on Mabo,  had accurately predicted the holding of the  referendum in November 1999  years before.  Father Brennan is the son of the former Chief Justice, Sir Gerard Brennan.  He is a Jesuit priest, but is better known for his legal and political commentaries.  So on my return I looked up his book, “One Land, One Nation, Mabo Towards 2001.” It was published by the University of Queensland in 1995.

 

 

 

 

In it, at page 206, the author proposes that ATSIC and other Aboriginal organisations should publish a blueprint for constitutional reform on 27 May 1997. He  chose this date because it was the 30th anniversary of

 

the 1967 referendum on aboriginal matters.  Aboriginal matters apart, he suggested that the blue print contain a package of constitutional reforms including provision for a "resident Australian to be Head of State.” There is of course a very good argument that we already have one - this is code among republicans as an indirect way of asking for a republic.

 

 

Republicans are often reluctant to use the word republic. During the referendum campaign, Malcolm Turnbull astounded even the republican press when he proposed the words "republic" and "president" be deleted from the question for the referendum. And Bob Carr wanted the republic to be headed by a Governor- General, not a President.

 

 

Frank Brennan's prediction was accurate. "The referendum,” he wrote, “should then be held in November 1999".  And it was- on 6 November 1999.  Then he says this resident Head of States could then be "chosen" (note he does not say elected) and "installed for the opening ceremony of the Sydney Olympics."  This would be opened by a resident Head of State.

 

.

 

Remember the deadlines by which republicans insisted we Australians must change our constitution -  the new century, the  new millennium , the centenary of Federation , and, yes,  the  Olympics.

 

 

 

Frank Brennan is credited by some commentators with influencing his father about aboriginal matters generally. Sir Gerard Brennan was part of the High Court bench which handed down the controversial decision in Mabo which even today is lauded by some and criticised by others.

 

Perhaps we should have paid more attention to this book. Sir Gerard, incidentally, was one of the three knights (the others were Sir Anthony Mason and Sir Zelman Cowan) who famously testified to the safety of the 1999 republican model.  The Australian newspaper, then campaigning for the republic, put this on its front page. This was the model the Vote No campaign described as the "politician's republic", the one in which we said "it would be easier for the Prime Minister to sack the President than his driver."

 

 

As we know, the referendum was defeated, overwhelmingly. But the author was correct in one respect. A resident Head of State did open the Olympics! (We know Sir William Deane was the Head of State. His prime, Paul Keating, said he was).

 

 

 
NZ - 71% Do Not Support A Republic!
Written by ACM   
Monday, 21 April 2003

April 22, 2003
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

Statement by the National Convenor
National Office, Sydney Australia

A recent poll by the respected National Business Review must have devastated republicans. Coming after two polls in Canada showing a similar aversion to a republic there, it must cause considerable concern among Australia's dwindling band of Republicans.

Read more...
 
Plebiscite Slammed As Waste of Taxpayers Funds
Written by ACM   
Monday, 14 April 2003

April 15, 2003
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

Statement by the National Convenor
National Office, Sydney Australia

"There is one way - and one way only - to change the Constitution. That is through the Australian referendum, where all the details are on the table" said ACM Convenor David Flint about the ARM's call for a plebiscite for some unknown republic.

Read more...
 
Government House Charade
Written by ACM   
Sunday, 13 April 2003

April 14, 2003
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

Statement by the National Convenor
National Office, Sydney Australia

The Governor has been forced to move while her Macquarie St office undergoes an overdue renovation. But instead of moving her back to where Her Excellency already has her office-Government House- she is being forced into temporary accommodation at Circular Quay!

Read more...
 
Queensland Proposal Needs Reconsideration
Written by ACM   
Tuesday, 25 February 2003

February 26, 2003
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

Statement by the National Convenor
National Office, Sydney Australia

The proposal by the Premier, Mr. Peter Beattie that Parliament be invited to endorse future appointments of Governors of Queensland needs to be reconsidered, says ACM National Convenor, Professor David Flint.

Read more...
 
Relentless Attack on the Governor-General
Written by Professor David Flint AM   
Monday, 10 February 2003
February 11, 2003
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

Statement by the National Convenor
National Office, Sydney Australia

“The Governor-General is being attacked for no more than doing his job. The need to see so many Australians in the first year of his appointment, the continuing celebration of Centenary of Federation and the sixtieth anniversary of El Alamein meant he obviously had to travel. And Government House is part of the national heritage – it needs to be properly (but not palatially) maintained. (Fortunately he still lives there – as we have already seen in NSW that putting the Governor out of Government House has imposed a substantial and continuing financial burden on the taxpayer - and no one from outside Sydney can be Governor.)

“The continuing targeting of the Governor-General – an essentially decent man – risks destabilising his office. How can he do his job if he is constantly attacked?” said ACM National Convenor, Professor David Flint.

The campaign against the Governor-General demonstrates the truth of the adage – if you want to hit somebody, you can always find a stick.”

 
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