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We Need a People's Constitution and We Need it Now!

I am leveling the following charge against our Australian constitutional system: Everyday Australians must follow the rules, but they cannot change them. Australians have no real say over their own system of government, at either state or federal level.
If this accusation is correct the implication is that Australians are not free, they are subjects of the Elite.

Originally published on the Australian Independent Media Network.

Image courtesy of smh.com.au

Image courtesy of smh.com.au

Do we need to change our Constitution? Considering that it is over a century old and not a Constitution for the ‘people’, Matthew Mitchell, in this post says “yes, we certainly do”.

I am leveling the following charge against our Australian constitutional system:

Everyday Australians must follow the rules, but they cannot change them. Australians have no real say over their own system of government, at either state or federal level.

If this accusation is correct the implication is that Australians are not free, they are subjects of the Elite.

The obvious reply is that we have the ability to have referendums. Do we really? Even if a large number of citizens wanted a significant change what is the likelihood that change would occur? I claim it is zero. Referendums must first be approved by our parliament, thus any proposal is not put directly to the people, it is first filtered and modified, and likely rejected, by our parliamentary political system. The system preserves itself, and is immune to change proposals. The only ideas that even get close to referendum are proposals that entrench the status quo (eg: replacing the titular head of state); increase or preserve the powers of one or another levels of government (eg: recognition of local government), and even if well intentioned may be undermined (eg: constitutional changes proposed as part of the republic) or seen as coming from a
favoured political group. Thus it is no wonder that referendums usually fail, Australians are perhaps quite rightly innately un-trusting of any proposal that is put to referendum, suspecting that it serves one or another vested interest.

Thus Australians are not free – they have no say over what their political system is, or how it works. They are stuck with a system set up by colonial masters and elite citizens over 100 years ago. This system can only be changed with the consent of those privileged few that control the parliament (those who Govern us, the subjects) and it is highly unlikely – impossible even – that proposals from anyone who is not a member of the political or business elite will get attended to.

It does not have to be this way! In Switzerland the People are truly sovereign – they can force a referendum on any issue they choose, if they get 100,000 signatures. And they do it regularly. Sometimes more than 12 times a year! Relevant examples include:

A referendum on Immigration Quotas (to be held in February this year)

Urban sprawl, spatial planning and development

Limits on Executive Pay

Family policy

It is claimed that this ability to change the constitution makes Switzerland a more stable country compared to countries like Australia whose constitutions are now well out of date. The fact is that Australia’s Constitution (at state and federal levels) is an undeniable mess, as Peter Olney discusses below (take for example, the ridiculous invention of a Queen of Australia).

Restore our constitution, local councils are not governments

If we are going to move to a republic, which really is a concept most Australian’s would support (if they trust the changes), then why not fix the whole constitution and perhaps introduce Swiss style direct democracy at the same time?

There was a vote to federate years ago (which was not that inclusive) but really there was no choice (for the people) of what constitution they may have. Thus no vote on this, as there were no choices! In any case, if we have at least one proposal that gives us some choice: the old or the new?

However, in this day and age, people trust grass roots movements more than proposals coming from the seats of power, or what are seen as the seats of power. Thus GetUp! campaigns have more legitimacy than government proposals for referendums on local government or anything else. So a new constitution is more likely to be trusted, and voted in, if it seen to come from the people: a People’s Constitution.

And the truth is that there are already several proposals that could form the basis of new People’s Constitution:

United People Power, John Skene, Restore Australia and no doubt others also.

And perhaps this new constitution could include Indigenous people like never before and help correct some long standing injustices, such as Indigenous rights and recognition. There are also proposals to this effect such as one by UNILEX and another on Change.org.

But let us beware that in this process, there is a serious danger. It is likely that as discussion of proposals for a new constitution progresses, long brewing issues and injustices will also be highlighted. Make no mistake, there are issues that need to be discussed. They include not only Indigenous rights and recognition but also real or perceived threats to Australian values and culture from immigration and some minority groups (such as associated with the RestoreAustralia proposal).

But we must be very CAREFUL that we do not vilify immigrants who have come here under our past legal framework in good faith. If anything, or anyone, is to blame for our current situation and predicaments – it is our legal framework that may not allow sufficient democratic say on important national issues and the generations of politicians, lawyers and bureaucrats that have allowed this undemocratic system to continue for so long. In this regard I suggest we also look at Professor George William’s writing on the need for constitutional change as well as Justice Cheryl Saunders' speech on the need for a Bill or Rights.

However, there is a degree of urgency in this if we are to address pressing issues, such as growth, immigration and trade (such as signing away of our sovereignty with the TPP pact) whilst there is still time. But please let us do this with care, consideration and compassion for all who do, or may, call Australia home. Let Australians set an example of how societies can move forward peacefully – there has already been too much violence in the development of new nations like Australia and America. Time for a change!

[Ten News Sydney] Racist attack on Sydney Bus - 2/4/2013

(David Donovan and Peter Olney are acknowledged for their contribution to this article).

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Comments

Thanks for your article, Matthew and thank you for drawing our attention the the Swiss Direct Democracy form of government.

Whilst much is seriously flawed with Australia's democratic system, we could do a a lot worse. Examples from recent history include the murderous dictatorships which ruled Chile and Argentina from the mid 1970's. If we look further back into the history of the 20th century, we find the fascist dictatorships of Spain, Portugal and Italy, the even more murderous Nazi German dictatorship and the grotesquely barbarous Japanese colonial Empire which tried to enslave China, South East Asia and Australasia in the 1930's and early 1940's.

Whilst we have parliamentary democracy and freedom of speech, including a free and open Internet, we still stand some chance of changing the course of events for our benefit of Australians and for the benefit of our environmental life support system. Of course, the abovementioned examples of Chile and Argentina, which had, prior to the 1970's, been considered stable democratic societies shows how quickly that could change.

Thanks Geoffrey,

I am not sure that we should really compare ourselves to the worst performers here.

In any case, how much worse could we really do? The same forces that took over Chile etc (US big business interests) have been doing the same thing in the US more covertly using softer methods of power. The TPP is evidence that this agenda continues on in other countries, the intent is the same, the methods have changed. There are even allegations that the Whitlam government overturn had CIA involvement , so perhaps we are not that different? In any case, CIA or not, perhaps - if in that conflict - we had a different system of government we would have had a very different society? It did eventually go to voters, but the media's presentation of the problem may have confused the issue somewhat.

In any case, as stated on the site 8thstate.net, we are in serious, serious trouble, our society rolls on serving big business priorities, whilst the environment degrades, Australians lose jobs, and there seems to be nothing we can do about it. The concerns of many Australians around issues such as immigration and unrestrained growth/development etc have lead to tensions building over a long time, and without any democratic vent, this pressure it is getting dangerously hot, thus my argument that we need to start moving on this quickly.

Can I also add a quote from Professor Tawney (1920) :

"it is the condition of economic freedom that men should not be ruled by an authority which they cannot control"

Matt

Bring in a people's referendum, enact a third house of federal (and state) parliaments which is selected at random from the citizen public (like juries, but with no ability for people to get out of it) and send home at govt expense all temporary and permanent visa holders immediately, and look at ejecting much of the Asian/third world immigrants who have gotten citizenship here over the past 2 decades as well. Also get rid of Howard's traitorous law allowing dual citizenship.

VPS Australia had relatively little violence in its development; You clearly know jack all Aussie history and possibly hate Australia to suggest otherwise. The whole selling point of Australia to the people who came here was that we were a people of one culture, one race, one heritage (excluding aboriginals of course which were sadly left out, although governments tried to include them by breeding them white) one nation. That was our strength, and how we managed to create a successful prosperous developed nation despite every single card being stacked against us. and yet the traitors in govt, public service and big business and the media (also academia) are busy dismantling it and destroying the country.

What I'm saying is don't be a softcock about this. don't beat around the bush and try to play nice to both sides, immigrants and Aussies. This is black or white; Pick one side or the other, or go the fck home.

Editorial comment: Firstly, please try to leave abusive language out of these discussions. It doesn't help readers to grasp the issues at hand.
Whilst we agree with your concerns about uncontrolled immigration into Australia, the solution you proposed, of "ejecting much of the Asian/third world immigrants who have gotten citizenship here over the past 2 decades" is only likely to make matters worse.
As Kelvin Thomson pointed out on 1 December 2013 at the inaugural meeting of Victoria First, the bird of allowing large numbers of people, whose culture is not like ours, into Australia has already flown. Kelvin's own constituency, the Federal electorate of Wills consists of many people who have immigrated to Australia from Southern Europe, the Middle East and Asia in recent decades. Those people understand, as much as anybody, how continued high immigration poses a threat to all of us and to our natural environment.
Our best hope of of preserving what remains of worth in Australia is to appeal to all existing inhabitants of Australia to take action against the politicians and the vested interests who are trying to keep the scam of unlimited immigration going indefinitely. – Ed

also how dare you imply our founders didn't (at the time) create a constitution of the people? why do you hate australia and our history? absolutely disgusting. go read an actual history book idiot not the anti-australian trash you get from donald horne. jesus

Editorial comment: As I wrote above, please try to leave abusive language out of these discussions.
I don't see how proposing improvements, such as the inclusion, in the Australian constitution, of Swiss-style Direct Democracy amounts to harsh and unjust criticism of those who created that constitution nearly 120 years ago. - Ed;

If I hated Australia, I would not be putting so much effort into trying to find ways to fix our obvious problems.

The constitution we have might have worked fine, if the politicians actually represented Australians. But they don't. They now represent vested interests, and are perhaps completely captured by them. This is the same in the USA, where the creators of the independent nation were particularly concerned about these types of things, having experienced how moneyed interests could corrupt the system - some argue the American revolution was really the first revolution against globalism.1 I also suggest you read "The Concealed Colony" to see an argument that our constitution should have been fixed after our diggers won recognition for Australia as a sovereign, independent nation (due to their sacrifices). After WW1 we could have separated from Britain legally, and if you look at a little history, it seems that many would have been happy about this after seeing England: "Blighty is a failure" (see Australia in World War One, 10 Mar 2010 by Dr Peter Stanley at http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/worldwars/wwone/australia_01.shtml), well the failures have well and truly spread here, turning us from a resourceful independent people into mindless, soft consumers. So why have we kept links to Britain? Can I suggest that moneyed interests were served well by that link, and that then, as now, the media is in part a propaganda machine to keep business and propertied interests ticking over. (I will write more on this later).

There is no doubt the white Australia policy did avoid any possible ethnic tensions, but it was also about protecting Australian workers from cheap labour, as in the 1800's many dodgy companies were bringing in Asian and other nationalities to work for very low wages. The policy mostly stopped that. But what happens now? We send our work overseas to be done by cheap Asian workers? Where is the protection now? In this globalised system, a white Australia policy would not and could not protect us. So what is the answer? I am happy to hear any of your suggestions.

1 Ellen Brown, author of the Web of Debt writes of this period early in this book. The pre-independence colonies experienced prosperity in contrast to the depressed squalor of most of England at the time. This was because of the enlightened leadership of the political leaders of the colonies, including Benjamin Franklin, and the colonies' public banking system in contrast to the privately owned banking cartel back in England. Sadly, the prosperity was not enjoyed by native Americans who were to have their societies destroyed over the ensuing century. Many of those who led the United States after Independence, with exceptions like President Abraham Lincoln, seem to have been the less well motivated than those who lead the United States to independence. They allowed the public banking system to be dismantled. Had the likes of Benjamin Franklin continued to lead the United States after Independence, native Americans may have fared much better.

Australia First Party

January 26th
Australia Day

"I do not doubt but this country will prove the most valuable acquisition Great Britain ever made. We have come here today to take possession of this fifth great continental division of the earth on behalf of the British people and have founded here a state which we hope will not only occupy and rule this great country but will also become the beneficial patron of all the nations of the Southern Hemisphere. How grand is the prospect which lies before this youthful nation”.
Captain Arthur Phillip, Sydney Cove 26/1/1788

Captain Phillip's commission and appointment as Governor of the territory called New South Wales was under the authority of Lord Sydney, given at the Court of St James on the 12th of October 1786.

This foundation as proclaimed by Governor Phillip was the “formal” beginning of European Settlement of this great old continent. Formal in the sense of a permanent commitment to the creation of a new European derived civilisation of progress and culture, even if of humble beginnings.

In ascribing “formal” to this settlement, acknowledgement to earlier Indo-European occupations, evidenced from “pre-history” sites, co-existing alongside the series of migrations of the varying hunter/gatherer peoples down the centuries, is noted.

This permanent occupation, although of Colonial Status, provided our settling peoples with ongoing exposure to our continents unique environment, a primary cause for fixing of outlook and values, and in turn the development of an Australian “Nativist” identity and culture.

From here over the ensuing decades, came the idea of upholding a National Day to advance cultural Australianism, and in particular to provide an expression of our nationality. January 26th was upheld in the separate settlements to varying degrees, and under a variety of celebrations as European Settlement Day, Pioneers Day, and Anniversary Day.

Foremost in the cause for an official national day was the influential Australian Natives Association [ANA], working in conjunction with the Australian Patriotic Society of Sydney. The ANA was formed in 1871 as the Victorian Natives Association, a mutual help society with a secondary aim "to promote the moral, social and intellectual improvement of its members." The association numbered productive citizens, figures of prominence, parliamentarians, and the judiciary.

The ANA became a leading light in the colonial society infusing many of its Australianist views and principles into the population. In the face of the ad hoc manner of celebrations for 26th January, the ANA in seeking to inspire national community spirit, passed a resolution at its 1886 Melbourne conference:- "That a National Holiday be fixed and that 26 January be suggested as the most desirable date, that being the anniversary of the foundation of Australia."

The promotion of the National Day as resolved faced some difficulty from the colonial administrators who initially offered limited interest to expressions of a genuine Australian consciousness, however the Sydney "Bulletin" Magazine, the growth of industrial unionism and the blooming of our Australian native culture, assisted an Australian fervour, and with inspiring a recognition from the citizen at large.

In the latter part of the 19th century, the native born comprised over 75% of the population, and with increasing interest the administrations in 1887 agreed to a national day holiday on 26th January under a celebration to be known as Foundation Day. With the energetic efforts of the ANA, and patriotic people, the celebration universally became Australia Day.

For fairdinkums, January 26th holds true as our National Day – a commemoration of European settlement, and the civilisation our people have built, and defended in war, together with valuing our Native Soil to which we all remain indebted, and enables our lifestyle.
Australia Day 1943: Ian Mudie - Jindyworobak

If ever it were time for the dead to ride
then surely that time is now:
From the Leeuwin's cliffs to the roar of Sydney-side
From Wyndham to the Howe
call up your ghosts, Australia, call up your many dead,
your Kelly and your Lalor and the shirted men they led;
call up your brave, your Stuart, your Wentworth, your Bennelong,
your men who dared Hashemy, with its bitter slavish wrong.
Call up your quietened singers from the silence of the grave,
who sang your latent spirit to the complaining wave.

Call up your myths and your legends, your men of song and tale,
men from the Snowy, the Centre, and lakes where the bunyips wail,
your seekers, your finders, your fighters, your men who with Clancy ride,
Lawson's men from the western creeks, and a thousand more beside.
Call up your ghosts, Australia, and set them riding far
to rouse a sleeping nation to its seven-pointed star.
Call up your dead, Australians, and bid them ride with you
to set your rivers brimming with Eureka's flood anew.
Call up your hosts, Australia, to strive with you amain,
to fight, to sing, to honour, your Flag of Stars again.

Then when the day is over, whether to shout or to weep,
keep ever your dead alive in you, oh, never let them sleep,
for the nation that forgets its dead, that lets its heroes lie
dust-deep in its mind forever is surely ripe to die.
And only those go on, in glory their story to make,
who ever keep their dead alive, and their heroes awake.
Now is the time for the nation's urgent dead to ride,
so set them riding here and now -
from the Leeuwin's cliff's to the roar of Sydney-side,
from Wyndham to the Howe.

Australia First calls on real Australians to celebrate the day in its original intent, important in this new era where toads abound who spin the graveyard future of an “Asian Century”; who despise or have no involvement with our heritage and parrot for our traditional Australia Day to be dumped to placate multicultist misfits; who prostitute our day through the issue of citizenship to the swarms of alien Third World immigrants, who will never be Australian and are undermining our Aussie community; being dumped here by money changers to prop up their collapsing exponential growth driven economic system

Against these toads, the rallying call is Australia First, and support for our Australian identity, heritage and traditions.

Celebrate Australia Day
Fly our National Flag; engage with family and friends to sink a beer, etc; play some Slim Dusty songs, read a verse of Henry Lawson or the Banjo; sit under a gum tree, and rub your fingers in our Native Soil; reflect on the Australia we once had, and want back; celebrate our heritage with genuine patriotism and sentiment, and with a spirit of gratitude to our pioneering peoples and earlier generations who have provided our legacy of Australia.

And join with Australia Firsters in our fight for a regime change - to eject from the State Power the prevailing globalising traitor class and restore the destiny of our Commonwealth.

If you don’t fight - you lose!

Australia First Party
P.O. Box 223 Croydon 3136. P.O. Box 593 Rockdale 2216.
P O Box 893 Rockhampton 4700. P O Box 129 Collie 6225. P O Box 101 Holden Hill 5088.
www.australiafirstparty.net
National Contact 02 8587 0014
email: ausfirst [ AT ] hotmail.com
Identity Freedom Independence pl2. 3/12/2013

Australia First Party - Reclaiming Australia for Australians

This atricle makes a common, grave mistake. It supposes that a multicultural, culturally and racially diverse country can be free. Sadly, this is not a possibility. There are no countries which have taken on diverse, mass immigration which have not also had to curtail civil rights. "Hate Speech" laws are the most obvious example. Diversity has been responsible for more losses of freedom than even terrorism. Even with terrorism, a lot of the infringements of freedom are again related to diversity, with laws being necessary due to the real possibility of home grown terrorism from those with a 'diverse' background. Would so much surveillance be necessary against us during this "war on terror" if Australia was the homogenous nation it was, say in the 50s?

In order to keep a diverse society cohesive, it is absolutely necessary for the government to have the constitutional right to control freedom of speech and freedom of association. The first amendment is under threat now in the US. Why? Because of "hate speech". The 1st amendment survived Bush, corporatism, but is unlikely to survive multiculturalism. all such societies have become tyrannies. There are no free, multicultural nations. Speech which threatens the faux cohesiveness must be banned for the national good. Allegiance to the old national identity mist be eschewed for the national good. governments cannot allow unfettered civil rights, as these right will be used by people to recreate naturally occurring divisions. expression of competition must be suppressed.

Yugoslavia was only slightly multicultural, yet fell apart when they lost Tito who held it together by force. Singapore is multi ethnic, and as a result, authoritarian. European nations are jailing political dissidents, creating laws to jail people not just for what they've said, but even what they read. All these are again, related to the multicultural question. If you think about the laws banning speech in Australia, you'll quickly see that all these laws were created as a result of necessity from multiculturalism.

So we have a choice, embrace multiculturalism OR be free. We can't have both, and freedom is FAR more important to me.

Well let us (the people) at least have a say. At the minute all these decisions are being made for us. Like many others. Either we are democracy or we are not. If we are then the minority will have to live with the decisions, good, bad or otherwise, of the majority. If we are not, which is what it seems to me, then lets stop calling it a democracy and call it what it is. Perhaps, given the same forces are at work here as in the USA in this globalised age (and our leaders are obsequious to the yanks), perhaps inverted totalitarianism is the right description.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inverted_totalitarianism