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Releasing cabinet papers sets up paybacks that hurt our democracy

A long-standing principle in Australian politics, one derived from Westminster and British experience over hundreds of years, is that incoming governments do not use the confidential discussions of cabinet…

By releasing the previous government’s cabinet proceedings for examination, Tony Abbott has exposed his cabinet to the risk that their successors will do the same to them. AAP/Alan Porritt

A long-standing principle in Australian politics, one derived from Westminster and British experience over hundreds of years, is that incoming governments do not use the confidential discussions of cabinet proceedings to seek to embarrass the losers of the last election.

There are good reasons for this restraint. In cabinet, any government needs ministers who will speak fearlessly, who will be totally open in what they say, on whatever subject is under discussion. It can be a sensitive matter on foreign affairs; there might be significant criticism of a close ally. Criticism between ministers can sometimes be acute.

It is important that freedom and openness remain part of cabinet discussions. It is important that all points of view are exposed. Ministers should not have to look over their shoulders and wonder, how will this look when the next government publishes what I am now saying?

What is the royal commission’s purpose?

I have seen the letters that passed between shadow attorney-general Mark Dreyfus and attorney-general George Brandis. The implications are clear. The papers relating to the so-called “Pink Batts Affair” have already been passed to the Royal Commission into the Home Insulation Program.

If the royal commissioner wishes to publish some parts of those papers, or all of them, the government will at that point decide whether it wishes to claim immunity or not. Apparently, prime minister Tony Abbott directed that the papers be made available for the royal commissioner earlier this year, without the knowledge of the attorney-general.

A number of questions arise. What is the purpose of this royal commission? I know it was promised before the election, but the question still remains, for what purpose?

Royal commissions are generally designed to lead to significant government action and sometimes to prosecution of people found guilty of an offence. What can come out of this royal commission? Is there any suggestion any member of the previous government will be prosecuted?

There have been coronial inquiries in New South Wales and Queensland into the four unfortunate cases that led to deaths. The cause of death is known. Three of the four employers have been prosecuted and convicted.

The royal commission will learn nothing new of those circumstances. It was a badly run industry – if you like, an incompetently run industry – without adequate supervision, training or control.

Most people would regard the government management of the program as incompetent, as one of the reasons that led to the defeat of the Labor Party. I suspect it is likely, even probable, that the royal commission will confirm that view. Does the government believe this will have a significant impact on the next election?

Such a view is not particularly relevant. The major players, former prime ministers Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard, are no longer in parliament. There will be other issues far more important in people’s minds than this old and buried Home Insulation Program.

Does the government believe the royal commission can lead to prosecution of ministers? That is most unlikely. It would seem, therefore, that the process is political and designed to be so.

This is likely to have continuing adverse consequences. When the current government loses, as one day it will, an incoming Labor government will be under significant pressure for a payback. It is too early to tell what issue they might pick, but there will be one.

Are we to begin a cycle of royal commission after royal commission trying to expose the ills, the mismanagement of actions, of the previous government? Ministers would be much more careful of what they say in cabinet. Both consequences would have adverse impacts on Australian democracy.

The issues are not complex; they are clear. Cabinet confidentiality ought to be maintained. It is central to our system of government. The papers ultimately become public, but after a significant time has elapsed.

The need to protect the body politic

This latest government action could have other even more adverse consequences.

In 1975, a private prosecution was launched against former prime minister Gough Whitlam, attorney-general Lionel Murphy, Rex Connor and Jim Cairns. There were suggestions that the government should take over that prosecution.

One of the commitments I had given the governor-general at the time, if I was asked to form a government, was that there would be no pursuit of possible illegal actions of the then government through the courts. I had no hesitation in making such a commitment. Again, for good reasons.

On a number of occasions in British history a prosecution has not been launched because it would do damage to a body politic as a whole. While clearly the chief law officer is the final determinant of whether or not a prosecution should be launched, the chief law officer in our system is also a member of cabinet and would be wise to listen to the advice of senior colleagues.

Attorney-general Bob Ellicott resigned when the Fraser government refused to pursue legal action against its predecessors. pseophos.adam-carr.net, CC BY-NC

If my government had taken over the Sankey prosecution, it would have been extraordinarily divisive. There had been an election. People had paid a heavy political price for their actions. There was no crime against the Commonwealth, as the judgment in the private prosecution by Sankey ultimately demonstrated.

Whatever errors were made were political and a political price was paid for those errors. If a prosecution had been launched, the divisions within Australia, which were sharp, would have been so much greater. That was to be avoided.

Launching a prosecution against a defeated political foe is only one step further than launching a royal commission against that political foe. Indeed, it can be argued that having a royal commission is designed to prepare the ground for launching a prosecution. That would compound an extraordinarily bad decision, which defies over 113 years of Australian history and a much longer period of British history.

The issues are intertwined: the question of cabinet confidentiality, releasing papers to the royal commissioner, and the question of pursing a political foe through courts of law. This is not a question of putting anyone or any organisation above the law. It is a question of what makes democracy work well or extremely badly.

Join the conversation

397 Comments sorted by

  1. Comment removed by moderator.

    1. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to R. Ambrose Raven

      That seems more just a rant against Tony Abbott than a preparedness to discuss the topic rationally Rar .

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    2. Robert McDougall

      Small Business Owner

      In reply to Greg North

      Or it could be a genuine belief. When combned with the erosion of long standing conventions under the abbott government covered by the article, somewhat relevant.

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    3. R. Ambrose Raven

      none

      In reply to Greg North

      That seems more just denial regarding Tony Abbott than a preparedness to discuss the topic rationally Greg

      Have we forgotten Tony's record? Since when was it irrational to expect people - especially senior decisionmakers - to take responsibility for their actions? I appreciate that the guidelines greatly limit any scope for censure, but denial is hardly a good substitute. Their actions have consequences for a lot of others.

      Let's leave aside his efforts to have Pauline Hanson and Peter…

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    4. Laurie Forde

      Retired Business Owner

      In reply to R. Ambrose Raven

      Keep at it, all you Greg Norths.
      Your inane support of all things Rabbott enable responses like Ambrose's to inform the debate and provide useful ammunition to expose the interminable lies of Rabbotteers

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    5. Gayle Kenny

      University Liaison

      In reply to Greg North

      This is not a rant. It is a well reasoned argument. If the hat fits Mr Abbot then that is his fault.

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    1. Patrick Maher

      Retired Doctor of Psychology and Academic

      In reply to Barbara Flowers

      Ah, yes! He doth certainly protest too much. Those who are aberrant often proclaim and espouse their "pure as driven snow' stance on the very matters that are offensive. Such matters are on their minds. Normal people have a life. I do wonder though that this Abbott government is directing all of its intelligence (mmm!) and energy to business - maybe a few thousand or so. When there are over 26 million people in Australia. People vote - not businesses. Government should be about the 'people'.

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    1. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to john tons

      We are in modern times John, the 21st century and many if not most people expect governments to be transparent so that they can be openly and accurately criticised.
      You would seem to want to just criticise without reviewing the facts.

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    2. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Terry Reynolds

      I must be listening to different people Terry for I continually hear people being so thankful that we have governments prepared to adopt a progressive approach to reviewing where the country has headed of the rails as a basis for getting us back on them.

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    3. Jane Middlemist

      citizen

      In reply to john tons

      John, re your question: 'Can anyone name anything innovative or positive this governments has done or even mooted?'
      I think the unprecedented levels of secrecy is fairly innovative.
      How long before we have official censorship?
      Can't think of anything positive or constructive, sorry.

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    4. Matthew James

      Video Editor

      In reply to Terry Reynolds

      I am hoping that somehow these royal commissions will backfire. There response to the PNG refugee mini massacre? An 'inquiry' under their terms, mandated by the LNP, their hands all over it. Their urge to use the media as a propaganda machine and be the back door judge on everything is bordering on what I can't help thinking an edge of control wild rampage.

      And this red carpet treatment laid out for finance snakes? What is that? They want to dig in and get rich of people's retirement funds. It only takes one them to ask the LNP for permission with the answer effectively being 'sure why not? go for it'. What are these hoards of Finance Sector Investor Elites doing other than get rich off other peoples hard work? No royal commission for them. Don't mean to throw you into that pack BTW.

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    5. john tons

      retired redundant

      In reply to Greg North

      Greg I was asking for the facts - I was clearly giving this government the benefit of the doubt - there may well be some positive constructive initiatives but a casual observer like myself has not seen any evidence of that. The one possible exception is to review our industrial relation laws - penalty rates made sense in different times but no longer today.

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    6. Jay Wulf

      Digerati at nomeonastiq.com

      In reply to Terry Reynolds

      What a load of bollocks Terry.

      It has been shown that the number of the industrial accidents caused is barely above the norm expected for that kind of work. No one complained during WW2 when workers died in plane factories and shipyards due to accelerated schedules and cutting corners.

      People like Terry who use this program to rescue Australia from the grip of the GFC as an example of political incompetence are selective and at heart dis-ingenious, pushing a clear political agenda.
      Partisan…

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    7. Robert McDougall

      Small Business Owner

      In reply to Greg North

      Ok, so why is this government so opaque? According to your logic, the strategy is notto be open to limit criticism.

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    8. Robert McDougall

      Small Business Owner

      In reply to Greg North

      You probably read The Australian, listen to Alan Jones and watch the Bolt Report. The plumetting polls seem to be a good indicator as the experience of the abbott govt sinks in.

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    9. Jenny Clarke

      Carer/retired

      In reply to Terry Reynolds

      Thanks, relief to have facts. First time I have seen downlights mentioned, often wondered. See pictures of burnt houses in the paper from time to time, invariably seems to be the roof, but no information on the cause. How they were ever allowed? A friend installed protectors at considerable expense, they melted after a few months.

      During the so called 'debacle' Victorian firies, forget which agency, said there was nothing abnormal about the incidence of fires. Never heard or seen again. Also heard very impressive statistics on the contribution the project made to reducing greenhouse gases. Disappeared into the ether.

      Seems this rather creepy act of retro spite is going to cost us considerably more than saving SPC.

      Thank you Malcolm Fraser for your many attempts to restore decency to the Liberal party.

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    10. Terry Reynolds

      Financial and political strategist

      In reply to Greg North

      Greg, you don't seem to listen to anyone if your multitude of posts invariably defending anything the coalition says or does represents what is actually taking place in your head.

      When I speak to people that I know have little knowledge or interest in politics and they are already saying this guy is going to destroy Australia, it has to be taken as a serious warning. I never heard anyone say that about Hawke, Keating, Howard, Rudd or Gillard. They all had at least three years as PM, not just six months. It is probably why Malcolm Turnbull is putting on the rhetoric and theatre at the despatch box in the House. He knows by June 2014, he will be PM.

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    11. Jay Wulf

      Digerati at nomeonastiq.com

      In reply to Greg North

      @'Greg North'

      > many if not most people expect governments to be transparent

      Unless of course, that transparency entails 'operational security' of being absolute bastards to refugees.

      We only want transparency for subjects we support ideologically, dont we Greggles?

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    12. Henry Verberne

      Once in the fossil fuel industry but now free to speak up

      In reply to Terry Reynolds

      I do not take seriously anyone who so blatantly and slavishly promotes and defends whatever the government says or does.

      You can't have a genuine dialogue with these people, best to ignore them if you can stand to do so.

      We can never be sure but it seems safe to say they are employed to do what they are doing.

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    13. Ken Alderton

      PhD student, former CEO

      In reply to Greg North

      I nearly choked when I read this comment.
      The No. 1 Supporter of the Abbott Government is saying "that most people expect governments to be transparent so that they can be openly and accurately criticised" He has supported the "no comment on operational matters" approach of Morrison, the "no comment on phone tapping Indonesia" style of Abbott and the 'we'll tell you when we think you're old enough to know about foreign affairs" beloved of Bishop. He has even suggested that it is too early to be critical of any of them,
      This is plumbing a new depth of hypocricy.

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    14. R. Ambrose Raven

      none

      In reply to Greg North

      So they do, Greg; I look forward to reading your strong condemnation of Morrison et al for their concealments, evasions, and implicit endorsement of institutionalised violence on such as Manus Island.

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    15. Mike Swinbourne

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Jane Middlemist

      Just click on their name Jane - it will take you to a similar collection of pages that you can use to check your own posts.

      If you do that for our friend Greg, you will not be left in any doubt that it is a more than one person. The writing style changes too often.

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    16. Jane Middlemist

      citizen

      In reply to Jane Middlemist

      Please ignore my comment Mr M. I went and looked at top of page and found "edit the profile'. I thought you could only put a picture. So now I'll put something about my cv etc. Glad it was brought up. I'm not very canny. But you probably noticed that already :-(

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    17. Robert Molyneux

      Citizen at Drehmex Sales and Services

      In reply to Jane Middlemist

      I am being censored by the moderator of this conversation by the removal of posts questioning Greg North's bonafides. A pathetic interference with normal civilised debate where you would expect to be talking to a real person, rather than a set of stooges.
      Where is Greg North when you would expect him to be chiming in?

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    18. Robert Molyneux

      Citizen at Drehmex Sales and Services

      In reply to Mike Swinbourne

      Exactly. There have been multiple posts in this conversation by me and others intended to elicit a response from someone who normally chimes in all the time. Where is Greg North? Does TC have the means to check where conversations come from? It should be a simple matter to see from which device a post comes.

      Where are the checks of the names of correspondents. They are supposed to be real. How can they be verified if the profile is left blank - as is North's. My name is real. My alter ego of "Citizen" is real. My posts are my own. My profile contains a link to all the information needed to identify me as a real person.

      The moderator in this conversation is stifling debate on an important topic, and preventing participants checking that they are debating with real people.. Pathetic!

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    19. Jane Middlemist

      citizen

      In reply to Jane Middlemist

      Sorry about that everybody. I honestly didn't know the answer to my speedily deleted question and the post about the identity of the person in question sparked my interest.
      I've learned so much from TC because I never really understood the political system, economy, global warming and other important matters. I'm glad I learned what I did.
      I was 25 when I came here from South Africa and too busy working & parenting to learn about OZ history, but I'm learning.
      Thanks to all those who have answered my silly questions.

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    20. Robert Molyneux

      Citizen at Drehmex Sales and Services

      In reply to Jane Middlemist

      Jane, you made a post recently about your experience as a manager of nurses, so gave a hint.

      BTW - Your comment has been left hanging because the moderator decided to censor a comment I made about Greg North's bona fides.

      The ability to read through the contributions of people here is very handy. Lets you get a feel for their interests and world view. I use the word "their" advisedly!

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    21. Jane Middlemist

      citizen

      In reply to Robert Molyneux

      I often "lose the thread" because of moderators, but I've had a few of my comments deleted and when I think it over I'm quite glad but I don't always understand why it happened. Although, sometimes, to my embarrassment, I see why it was reported / removed. Other times I can't work out why other people's comments are removed.
      No system is perfect though and I really like TC.

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    22. Mike Swinbourne

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Robert Molyneux

      "....The ability to read through the contributions of people here is very handy...."

      It certainly is Robert. You can even go back and verify what has been said before on the issues. That is very handy for the like of Mr North, who is fond of claiming that he (they) never said such-and-such, or when they change their positions on issues depending upon whether they are condemning the previous government for doing something, or praising the current government for doing exactly the same thing.

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    23. Robert Molyneux

      Citizen at Drehmex Sales and Services

      In reply to Robert Molyneux

      Cory, apologies for being a bit harsh! Your correspondence with me has been very civilised - I just think you have made a wrong call.

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    24. Robert Molyneux

      Citizen at Drehmex Sales and Services

      In reply to Jane Middlemist

      You can also add text to the profile. See Christine Nicholls (excellent articles about aboriginal Dreaming and art) for a very complete CV.

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    25. Laurie Forde

      Retired Business Owner

      In reply to Robert Molyneux

      I agree that the moderator is wrong to stifle this string on Greg North.
      If my bonafides are challenged I would either respond with further information or just carry on regardless.
      When it is all boiled down the comment , information or idea is of interest, not so much the person making them.
      Although it does assist any judgment to know if it is Goebbels praising Hitler and not just comment from an interested observer.

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    26. Jane Middlemist

      citizen

      In reply to Robert Molyneux

      'You can also add text to the profile'
      Thanks Robert. I plan to do add text to mine soon. Good to know it can be edited. I wish we could edit - or delete our posts after posting. Would save the moderator a lot of work. I sometimes have an "Oh no, did I really say that" moment.
      And thanks for the link.

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    27. Ken Alderton

      PhD student, former CEO

      In reply to Jane Middlemist

      Parapharasing Carl Sagan "There are naive questions, tedious questions, ill-phrased questions, questions put after inadequate self-criticism. But every question is a cry to understand the world. There is no such thing as a silly question".
      Keep up the good work.

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    28. Robert Molyneux

      Citizen at Drehmex Sales and Services

      In reply to Ken Alderton

      And Sophocles developed the technique of asking questions to educate his followers. Mind you he was condemned to death for corrupting youth and had to swallow poison.

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    29. Graham Bell

      Scrap-heaped War Veteran

      In reply to Jane Middlemist

      No need to apologize for still learning about Australian history. A lot of people born in Australia haven't a clue about their own country's history. At least you are willing to learn - so good on you! :-)

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    30. Matthew James

      Video Editor

      In reply to Terry Reynolds

      Terry, NEOs have this dirty trick of talking straight through their enemies which kind of goes like this:

      Terry: As Mr. Fraser said, the three Queensland employers have been prosecuted for the electrocution deaths of their young employees. Don't they know how to turn the power off at the meter in Queensland before starting work?

      Greg: You still haven't given me one good reason why the pink batts debacle has anything do with anyone else other than the failing of Labor.

      Terry: I did Greg…

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    31. R. Ambrose Raven

      none

      In reply to Jane Middlemist

      On the contrary, it takes a good deal of innovation to have the concentration camps guarded by PNG's bikie gangs, who then brutalise the refugees in much the same way as did their persecutors.

      That Australia under Morrison and Abbott is so willing to use savagery, illegality, brutality and violence as essential policy tools does at least confirm the genuineness of the asylum-seekers' claims. Officialdom will be even more sadistic where they come from.

      However, The Conversation rules prevent me from being disrespectful to people to whom the beating and killing of others is not merely acceptable, but desirable, because it strengthens the deterrent. I am obliged to merely note that I do not regard it as admirable to protect such people.

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    32. Pythinia Preston

      writer

      In reply to Mike Swinbourne

      Why does it matter? we change our minds to what we've read or seen or discussed, we can easily be coerced into a line of thinking.

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    33. R. Ambrose Raven

      none

      In reply to Robert Molyneux

      As I read The Conversation's guidelines, an ex-Soeharto garrotter writing in to say how much he enjoyed strangling people with a piece of wire to help Soeharto to power would have to be treated with courtesy and respect.

      Such guidelines do assist the denialists. Truth being whatever serves the needs of the moment allows so much more workplace flexibility. Just read any issue of The Australian.

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    34. Graham Bell

      Scrap-heaped War Veteran

      In reply to Jenny Clarke

      What is really worrying in a parliamentary democracy (real or imagined), a system utterly dependent on the free flow of timely, verifiable information, is the astonishing ignorance of journalists and editors/news directors/producers nowadays. Nobody asks obvious questions, such as: Could there have been more than one cause of this accident? Could simple neglect or folly have caused it? These are questions that should and could be asked well within the time constraints of the 24hour news cycle - and asked in a professional manner so as to avoid any litigation.

      Thank you for mentioning the downlights problem - no journalist mentioned them./

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    35. Robert Molyneux

      Citizen at Drehmex Sales and Services

      In reply to R. Ambrose Raven

      I think having murderers, climate change deniers and the filthy rich expound their points of view is fine - you don't have to read them. I don't mind nommes de plume. - "Seat Moistener", one of our colleagues, is rather amusing in the mental image.
      I am indignant at the idea that some stooge could be masquerading as a dinkum contributor. On the other hand, as someone else said here, the internal consistency and coherence of an argument is important. A major problem with TC's software is that you cannot follow sub thread / branches through. After a while it all gets too tedious.

      MODERATOR: Guidelines should prohibit "tag-teams" posting under one name, except if this is notified. Eg "Maurice's Marauders" for all the climate denialists working with Maurice Newman to soften us up for the COAL government's abandonment of emissions trading initiatives.

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    36. Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      Constitutionalist

      In reply to Graham Bell

      I purchased down lights (some years ago) when a friend made known he desired to purchase some. So, as I generally did, I handed him the boxes I had purchased for myself, free of charge. Years later I was told they were no good because they didn't have a protective cover. Well, moment, I purchased them as $75.00 a box for the purpose to have a light above kitchen cabinets and so didn't need the special cover when one install them in a ceiling. As such, down lights are not the issue but the fool who…

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    37. Amanda Barnes
      Amanda Barnes is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Voter

      In reply to Robert Molyneux

      Who really cares who Greg North is? He is the voice of the Dry Right & an excellent counterpoint to the arguments of the more moderate amongst us. Makes for a much more interesting conversation rather than a whole lot of people saying variations of the same thing. If he is a composite then all the better. It is extremely handy to know how the Right ticks. Trust me, there are a lot of Greg's out there. I suspect despite their consistent support of Abbott on social media sites, some cracks in their wholehearted support for Abbott are beginning to show. The reality that so few people will benefit from this brave new world Abbott is constructing is finally beginning to sink in. It is good for those swinging voters who are reading these posts to see their views expressed by Greg & also to then see why they don't hold water much of the time. All good.

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    38. John Holmes

      Agronomist - semi retired consultant

      In reply to Jay Wulf

      Additional Caution. Re WW2

      Despite the highest levels of motivation, it was found that when workers worked beyond certain limits during WW2, bombs did not explode when dropped, ammo misfired, and the rates of industrial accidents rose.

      For those who want to increase productivity by lengthening the working hours, (The 0.1% or their puppets, in efforts to get get more value out of the economic slaves) take note.

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    39. John Holmes

      Agronomist - semi retired consultant

      In reply to Jane Middlemist

      No problems. I have been known to throw a 'red herring' or 2 into discussions at meetings etc if I think that there are issues that need further ventilating. Surprising how often things light up and go where people did not think was worth while.

      Of course, if every one looks at you with body language which translates as 'are you dumb or what?', mission accomplished.

      TC - a suitable award which we can use. Some use Likes and Unlikes

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    40. Graham Bell

      Scrap-heaped War Veteran

      In reply to Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      Thanks a lot for your clear explanation. Even I, a mere layman in these matters, understood it .... so why didn't the decision-makers???

      While this does show the need for a radical review of all decision making processes .... and maybe a few prosecutions under existing laws too .... it gives no excuse whatsoever for a party-political witch-hunt thinly disguised as a royal commission.

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    41. Russ Hunter

      Healthcare Professional

      In reply to Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      G.H.S.H.O.W.B, if we started holding Ministers responsible for their actions legally then this Coaltion government, in particular, might find its entire Ministry in the big house.

      That might be in all our best interests, and ther rest of the biosphere, but I can't see it happening.

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    42. Jane Middlemist

      citizen

      In reply to Robert Molyneux

      HI Robert, regarding: "I think if people with false names and blank profiles that mean that there is no evidence of their reality"
      I finally got around to adding some text - might need polishing up later, but I agree with you about the impression made by false names etc. especially if it's obvious they are here to publish"spin".

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    43. Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      Constitutionalist

      In reply to Russ Hunter

      If I were like you then I would have wasted my time and effort. However, after an epic legal battle on 19 July 2006 I comprehensively defeated the Commonwealth (AEC) on compulsory voting. the only person to have done so! details are on my blog at www.scribd.com/inspectorrikati.
      You have not lost the battle until you concede defeat.
      With the Colosimo case I took over the case from a barrister, who had lost every case so far, and turned the case around very successfully, this because I had the view…

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    44. Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      Constitutionalist

      In reply to Graham Bell

      Graham,
      you may understand what soldiers experience in the war theatre and if you had been send out into Iraq and lost mates and then discovered that the Prime Minister had no constitutional powers to authorise an armed invasion as only the Minister of defence can do so and only if the Governor-General first had published in the Gazette a DECLARATION OF WAR would you not then want them to be held legally accountable?
      As they made clear in the Nurenberg trails that following orders was no excuse…

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    45. Robert Molyneux

      Citizen at Drehmex Sales and Services

      In reply to Amanda Barnes

      I think if you check Gregs Norths' contributions, there is (1) a Delphic Oracle statement of the government's position, then (2) an attack on whatever Labor did (not necessarily relevant to the debate), and then (3) condescending remarks about the knowledge and / or intelligence and life experience of anyone who disputes anything in (1) or (2).. They rarely engage with the arguments raised against (1) or (2). There is never any movement forward on the issues under discussion. Very tedious.

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    46. Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      Constitutionalist

      In reply to Russ Hunter

      As a self-educated CONSTITUTIONALIST to me they are all so to say gangster mobs, but this post doesn't allow me to set it all out, albeit any reading of my publications on my blog at www.scribd.com/inspectorrikati will enable you to understand what I am stating.
      Hansard 25-3-1897 Constitution Convention Debates (Official Record of the Debates of the National Australasian Convention)
      QUOTE
      Mr. WISE: I can see no other course. It has taken 100 years for the United States to pass a Civil Service Act, and now it is not of very much value. If we get a party system, and follow it out in the appointment of civil servants, we will be initiating a system of corruption which would gain strength every day.
      END QUOTE
      The Framers of the Constitution were well aware that is the Commonwealth of Australia would have a party system (as it now has) then corruption will be rife. Perhaps the name "Cadbury" may just alert you?

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    47. Graham Bell

      Scrap-heaped War Veteran

      In reply to Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      Thanks for your insights here .... but I think it is stretching an analogy a bit to compare what happens in war with what happened in the home insulation affair. A soldier or any other member of a legitimate armed forces is compelled to obey orders. This obedience ranges from the cadaver-obedience enforced on Nazi German, Soviet and Imperial Japanese soldiers right through to the discussion-and-voting that saw so many Anarchist soldiers needlessly killed in the Spanish Civil War. There was…

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    48. Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      Constitutionalist

      In reply to Graham Bell

      I was comparing the issue of the responsible Minister regarding the Home Insulation debacle with the issue of the responsible Minister with the unconstitutional invasion into Iraq and Afghanistan and that Peter Cosgrove considering my correspondence more then 6 months before the invasion had sufficient time to pursue the Governor-General to issue a DECLARATION OF WAR as to legitimately (that is constitutionally) invade Iraq. where he failed to secure such DECLARATION OF WAR then he cannot now claim he was following orders.
      If we hold them more accountable then they may actually do some work to ensure problems are avoided as much as possible rather then acting irresponsible merely interested to have a cosy well paid job.

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    49. Jack Arnold

      Polymath

      In reply to Terry Reynolds

      Thank you Terry for another informative exposition of the facts. The facts are too remote for anybody, except a News Ltd political driveller, to connect any insulation deaths to any politician.

      The reason for deaths in Queensland rather than other states was likely due to the type of insulation and the installation method used in Queensland. This was a double sided aluminium foil encased foam strip and fixed with a staple gun.

      Unfortunately, the installing companies omitted to switch off electricity in the home during installation so that when the metal staple was fired through the foil sandwich it could also puncture any electrical leads covered below.

      So, electricity flows through metal and installers are killed with the jackals of News Ltd presented with political fodder.

      In southern states the principal insulation used was fibreglass batts were the risk of fire from inefficient heat producing down lights was far more dangerous but probably less fatal.

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    50. Jack Arnold

      Polymath

      In reply to john tons

      Well said John!! Anything positive ... perhaps a double dissolution so that we can remove the most ineffective opposition in government???

      Bring on the WA Senate election on April 7.

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    51. Jack Arnold

      Polymath

      In reply to Robert Molyneux

      Yes Robert, TC has now appointed a PC Censor so that the delicate petals who rarely access TC are not offended by the vigorous debate.

      TC PC Censor ... ensuring that TC remains a politically correct mouthpiece for Coalition policies only telling unelected political party hacks what they want to hear. Nominations are open for the 2014 Joseph Goebels Award.

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    52. Jack Arnold

      Polymath

      In reply to Robert Molyneux

      FYI Robert ... Greg North has claimed in the past to live on the Gold Coast because he requires close location to hospital facilities for an unspecified medical condition that otherwise keeps him housebound.

      Obviously such a lifestyle is a major benefit when contributing to TC discussions. Now, who is the Coalition PR rat in ranks???

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    53. Jack Arnold

      Polymath

      In reply to Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      An interesting post except for the final disengenious (sp?) paragraph.

      Most rock stars can afford to rely upon the advice of industry 'experts' rather than read the entire literature regarding the suitability of every kind of available insulation for every application known to man.

      Similarly, most government ministers would expect to receive competent information from their political staff.

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    54. Jack Arnold

      Polymath

      In reply to John Holmes

      Then there was the example set by Jewish slave workers in German bomb factories ... who discovered by hard experience that a 10% non-functional component of output was acceptable to the Nazi hierarchy.

      Low wages do NOT increase productivity.

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    55. Jane Middlemist

      citizen

      In reply to Jack Arnold

      Regarding censorship, Mr Arnold,
      Scot Ludlam's speech, reported in the Guardian yesterday, speaking to a senate chamber full of empty seats, was a rare treat.
      I found myself wondering if his forthright criticisms of Mr Abbott would have been deleted had they been aired here on TC?

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    56. Amanda Barnes
      Amanda Barnes is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Voter

      In reply to Robert Molyneux

      Fair enough Robert. I can understand your frustration. I must admit that I tend to skim his comments in order to read your responses (& the other more thoughtful commentators) which I enjoy immensely. I wonder if you would make them if you were not prodded to by Greg's less moderate comments?

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    57. Robert Molyneux

      Citizen at Drehmex Sales and Services

      In reply to Amanda Barnes

      Amanda, thanks for the feedback.
      As someone said here, its the quality of the argument that counts. Comparing the arguments here to the stagnant pools of letters to the editors of newspapers, I think TC is streets ahead in presenting all viewpoints. It would be good to see the Gregs sometimes admit I am right (so to speak) and move forward. I must admit I sometimes quickly read the articles and jump to the posts of "the usual suspects".

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    58. Barbara Flowers
      Barbara Flowers is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Legal Research Librarian

      In reply to Robert Molyneux

      I skim the Gregs too - at work we have The Australian and the Courier-Mail - so the Gregs song-sheets are published daily. From them come the spinoff Bolt blog posts and starting points of ABC stories etc. So the Gregs views are well and truly out there before they appear on TC. I'm much more interested in the intelligent discourse that contributors like Malcolm Fraser set running (thank you Mr Fraser).

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    59. Gayle Kenny

      University Liaison

      In reply to john tons

      Are you the John Tons from Flinders University circa 1969?

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    60. Gayle Kenny

      University Liaison

      In reply to Greg North

      Did you completely miss the point of the argument? it is not an issue of transparency. 1/10 for bad comprehension Greg.

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    61. Gayle Kenny

      University Liaison

      In reply to Greg North

      What people are you listening to? Herald Sun or Australian readers?

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    62. Jane Middlemist

      citizen

      In reply to Laurie Forde

      I agree with you Laurie, that it's the ideas expressed that matter, not knowing more about the commenter. Still, musing about checking of ID's. I'm sure TC will eventually come up with some way of being able to reassure commenters on that score.

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    63. Allan Gardiner

      Dr

      In reply to john tons

      Given that the Abbott government never had -- and still doesn't have -- any intention whatsoever of doing anything innovative or positive since taking office it's best that we all first seek an answer as to why they've adopted this attitude rather than try to chase up an answer to something that could never exist.

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    64. Neil James

      Executive Director, Australia Defence Association

      In reply to Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      Sorry Graham,

      "Declarations of War" by nation-states have been illegal since the UN Charter came into force in 1945. They now hold no force in domestic or international law.

      International armed conflict (the legal term for war) now exists as a material fact so the Hague and Geneva Conventions kick in automatically.

      The absence of declarations of war led to a serious loophole in Australian law that was not reformed until the Security Legislation (Amendment) Act, 2002. Our unreformed treachery laws unfortunately depended on a declaration of war, thus allowing both Wilfred Burchett in the Korean War and David Hicks in the Afghanistan War to avoid facing an Australian court.

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    65. Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      Constitutionalist

      In reply to Neil James

      The extend how people have been brainwashed seems to be shown in this statement by Neil. Avoiding repeating myself the membership to the UN is nugatory because the Commonwealth of Australia never was and still is not an so called independent nation. Also the Framers of the Constitution made clear;
      Hansard 17-4-1897 Constitution Convention Debates
      QUOTE Mr. SYMON:
      There can be no doubt as to the position taken up by Mr. Carruthers, and that many of the rules of the common law and rules of international…

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    66. Robert Molyneux

      Citizen at Drehmex Sales and Services

      In reply to Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      "Commonwealth of Australia never was and still is not an so called independent nation"
      And our chairmanship of the UN Security Committee arises how?
      And our votes in UN deliberations arise how?
      I think this is just silly. You keep referring to 1897 debates. Why not refer to the actual Constitution?
      The real debates would be those in the British Parliament leading to the Act that set up the Commonwealth. Why not refer to these?

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    67. Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      Constitutionalist

      In reply to Robert Molyneux

      As the constitution is our primary law and is limited to the Commonwealth being a "political union" then it is not relevant what the UN may or may not be about as it cannot overrule the constitution!
      Hansard 1-3-1898 Constitution Convention Debates (Official Record of the Debates of the National Australasian Convention)
      QUOTE
      Mr. WISE.-If the Federal Parliament chose to legislate upon, say, the education question-and the Constitution gives it no power to legislate in regard to that question-the…

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    68. Raine S Ferdinands

      Education at Education

      In reply to Terry Reynolds

      All our national troubles stem from Abbott…. and the solution is to elect Shorten. Our long-standing educational failings are the fault of Christopher Pyne…. solution … unadultrated Gonski.
      The bottom line: LNP is culpable. Quick get the Royal Commission on them.
      Ahhhh… I'm pining for those bygone entertaining days where public display of political treachery, brawls, screeching and 'bastard speeches', gender & class warfares, union thefts, and misogynist claims from the heights office, were the norm … assisted by an insatiable media whilst some in the public arena cowered in embarrassment. Yes, it is ever soooo dull and utterly quiet these days … devoid of drama and chest thumping … life can get pretty dull. It's all Abbott's fault. Wake up LNP … bring in some street brawling and entertain us.

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    69. Terry Reynolds

      Financial and political strategist

      In reply to Jay Wulf

      JayWulf, I think you completely misunderstood what I was conveying!.

      The number of incidents in the roof insulation stimulus spend was about one twentieth of what happens normally each year with 85 incidents fro, 65,000 installations. Under the stimulus there were just 194 incidents from 1,210,000 installations, mainly retrofits,

      I simply pointed out that there were just 27 fires that caused any structural damage from that 1,210,000 installations with all three deaths from electrocution restricted…

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    70. Raine S Ferdinands

      Education at Education

      In reply to Robert Molyneux

      My sympathies Robert. Really there is no need to get personal in our disagreements. Distorting persons' names (as did Jay ) for the purpose of scoring points or venting one's pent up emotions is poor and distasteful communication.
      I bet my current support for the LNP and my take on the past government will seethe others…. but that is ok. I am a turn-coat … and happy to be that …. a once ardent ALP supporter until the political assassination of the then sitting PM. Abbott is not my dream PM but he is in and I'll give him my support until such time when he and his party are no longer valued. I have no loyalty to any political party, any more. My vote is what matters to me …. not party politics, not the opinions of loyalists.
      Perhaps we need to chill a wee bit and accept the fact that different people see things differently. We need to have room for all. Civility is not a weakness.

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    71. Raine S Ferdinands

      Education at Education

      In reply to Jay Wulf

      "Greggles"? Really Jay! Was that necessary to prove your point or was that a reflection of your inability to contain your frustration? Tat… tat …tat…. less heat, mate. I actually do like your comments elsewhere…. but certainly not this. Cheers.

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    72. Robert Molyneux

      Citizen at Drehmex Sales and Services

      In reply to Raine S Ferdinands

      Raine,
      Sorry, but I don't know what your are discussing - this conversation is now very long and convoluted.

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    73. Jay Wulf

      Digerati at nomeonastiq.com

      In reply to Raine S Ferdinands

      I dont know Raine,

      I am finding Coalition quite entertaining. They are like a 1950s "I love Lucy" episode. Without Love and without Lucy. They still think they are in opposition.
      Their foreign policy looks like a slapstick comedy without the cream pies.
      Christopher Paine is hilarious as the muzzled attack dog. He was excellent in opposition going for the jagular of anyone placed in front of him. But now he seems to default to his old boys school network life support. Malcolm Turnbul is trying…

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    74. Raine S Ferdinands

      Education at Education

      In reply to Jay Wulf

      You shouldn't have mentioned Turnbull, Jay. Now I have to agree with you… damn! As crazy as this may sound, I am a great fan of only two politicians (yes … only two): Turnbull and Keating. Completely out of the discussion scope … but worth a go …. Turnbull is respectable, honest and honourable and most importantly my kind of chap … a republican!! Abbott is smart, too but a poor communicator … ahh but a great sportsmen…. wonder why sports crazy masses are not loving him.

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    1. John Campbell

      farmer

      In reply to Stephen Ralph

      Of course, but anything to distract people from the really important issues.

      Yet another inquiry into wind farms, other than a huge waste of money what do you think that is about?

      Make out the only issues of government are trivial ones, while you distribute real power to others.

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    2. Stephen Ralph

      carer at n/a

      In reply to John Campbell

      And legislation has become a trickle for a government that was intent on changing the face of Australia.

      The current government seems like an opposition in government than a government in government.

      I wonder if there is a use-by date for blaming Labor for everything.

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    3. Rick Fleckner

      Student

      In reply to Stephen Ralph

      Er, how was it a fiasco? More than a million households might argue that point. There are deaths in ALL industries, regularly. How many people have died working for 'Twiggy' at FMG? Where's the Royal Commission into them? Most people would accept that accidental fatalities occur and sometimes an individual or a methodology is to blame. I think in this case the blame has been attributed; it's done and dusted. Everything that happens from then on is purely political.

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  2. Don McArthur

    Retired educator at McArthur Park Apiary

    Some political decisions are so dumb they are bordering on criminal negligence. I do not think there is much merit in the Royal commission under discussion however the exercise might be a wake up call to politicians in general including Mr Fraser.

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    1. Stephen Ralph

      carer at n/a

      In reply to Don McArthur

      I agree Don. For a government intent on saving money, how much money will be spent on this complete waste of time & money.

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  3. Greg North

    Retired Engineer

    " A long-standing principle in Australian politics, one derived from Westminster and British experience over hundreds of years, is that incoming governments do not use the confidential discussions of cabinet proceedings to seek to embarrass the losers of the last election. "
    Long standing and hundreds of years is somewhat the key to this situation.
    In a modern democracy, a democracy far different from hundreds of years ago
    ( when women and many others did not get to vote ), much more is expected for accountability and it is obvious from the extensive criticism of politicians in the media and on the internet that they are no longer immune from their actions being examined.
    Tony Abbott is the voice of modern reasoning and if politicians hidden discussions being revealed does lead to a more transparent and better government no matter what party is in power, then that can only be good for the country.

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    1. Victor Jones

      Freelance

      In reply to Greg North

      A guy who believes in sky fairies is the voice of modern reasoning?
      What next? Scrap the CSIRO altogether and replace with the catholic church's faith division?

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    2. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Greg North

      "a more transparent and better government no matter what party is in power ... can only be good for the country." You listening Scott Morrison? This is "Greg North" saying this.

      Personally I reckon it's a beaut idea ... but then I have only a slight attachment to your parliaments and their sanctity.

      Just imagine what fun will be had when the working documents and diplomatic cables shuffling between Jakarta and Morrison are published in a couple of years, not to mention the correspondence between Manus and the same fella. It's like Tony Abbott has joined up with Wikileaks or Ed Snowdon ... maybe he's really a deep cover mole.

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    3. Jane Middlemist

      citizen

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      ' It's like Tony Abbott has joined up with Wikileaks or Ed Snowdon ... maybe he's really a deep cover mole.'
      Oh, Mr O. If only…

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    4. Robert McDougall

      Small Business Owner

      In reply to Greg North

      Humbug greg, the only transparent thing about the abbott government is their contempt for the rest of us.

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    5. Mike Swinbourne

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Greg North

      "....Tony Abbott is the voice of modern reasoning and if politicians hidden discussions being revealed does lead to a more transparent and better government no matter what party is in power, then that can only be good for the country...."

      So Greg, you would obviously be in favour of this government being more open and transparent then?

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    6. Victor Jones

      Freelance

      In reply to Robert McDougall

      The are definitely the anti-intellectual party of Australia

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    7. Victor Jones

      Freelance

      In reply to Mike Swinbourne

      Silence was the stern reply. Not sure that subsequent flapping of one's arms will get them out of the corner they have wedged themselves into, as much as righties are well versed in it....

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    8. In reply to Greg North

      Comment removed by moderator.

    9. Henry Verberne

      Once in the fossil fuel industry but now free to speak up

      In reply to Stephen Ralph

      Mushrooms might be slightly more apt Stephen.

      Keep them in the dark and feed them bullshit!

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    10. Ken Alderton

      PhD student, former CEO

      In reply to Greg North

      If a principle has been found to be useful over hundreds of years it is usually because it is has a great deal of merit. But principle of any sort is anathema to the current leadership of the Coalition. They are so blinded by a combination of ideology and zealotry that they consider any action that damages the Opposition is fair and reasonable.
      If they go through with this I can't wait unitl after the next election when the ALP has a "get square" and I can jeer at the howls of outrage from the Coalition.
      If you knew anything about history you would know that the principles that make democracy work are the same as they were two hundred years ago and you ignore them at your peril.

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    11. Russ Hunter

      Healthcare Professional

      In reply to Greg North

      "Greg",

      "Tony Abbott is the voice of modern reasoning..." ? That's the best laugh I've had for a while. "Suppository of modern reasoning" more like it.

      Have you ever had a position on an issue that is at all out of line with the prevailing Coalition policy?

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    12. Gayle Kenny

      University Liaison

      In reply to Greg North

      Greg North, if Tony Abbot is the voice of 'modern reasoning' then God help us all because then modern reasoning has deteriorated badly. One of the best reasoners ever was Plato (Republic - classic political discussion about how a society should live and be governed). I'm not sure I agree with his thesis but his reasoning is extremely sophisticated. It is still relevant. He lived in 500bc. Also the various reasoners of the political and philosophical traditions who developed the idea of democracy…

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    13. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Gayle Kenny

      Modern if you think 1980s Britain is modern. But of course it is utterly discredited and bankrupt.

      But they love this stuff - this fire in the belly belief ... the rhetoric, the tough-love punishment of it all. We all need a good birching. Well not all - but the undeserving, the unjustly entitled... other people need a good birching.

      Abbott was always attracted to authoritarian leadership figures ... all over the place politically, morally, religiously ... but the one constant is the punishment ideology. It's who he is. He believes in punishment.

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    14. ernest malley

      farmer

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      More like the Naked Mole Rat, the only mammalian species with a bee-like social structure - a dominant female whose pheromones keep the other females sterile and the males immature, except for the occasional one allowed to breed then shoved out of the nest to expire.

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  4. MItchell Lennard

    Researcher - Distributed Energy Systems

    Thanks Mr Fraser for a very clear summary,

    While there is no doubt that this Royal Commission is just an act of silly, childish politics the notion that we may need, in very extreme cases, to use the powers of Royal commission to understand why decisions where taken is worthy of examination.

    If I understand correctly the Royal Commission has access to the cabinet papers but this does not mean that they will automatically make the contents public. It may be valuable for the council assisting…

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    1. Dave McRae

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to MItchell Lennard

      Yes Mitchell.

      I'm also in favour of a RC into the Iraq war. Also very keen for the $280m gift to Saddam Hussein. But ALP was too gutless, too conservative in the old sense of the word ie committment to established institutions to investigate these.

      Hopefully this convention is now dead. I don't believe this convention upheld the good name of parliament that I reckon is already dead, killed mostly by neo-cons and their media hacks.

      Looking forward to the RC in unions - I remember the first one of those that discovered the bottom of the harbour scheme and had a lot to do with killing the Fraser government in 83.

      The tories is all about greed, kickbacks and what's in it for themselves so it's not surprising they will have more corruption - in fact, they're probably not living up to their creed if they were not as crooked like a dog's hind leg. And when progressives are found to be corrupt I'd like to see them exposed. So I cannot see a downside to more investigations.

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  5. Robert Molyneux

    Citizen at Drehmex Sales and Services

    I think knowing that your contributions to Cabinet debates may become public very quickly might improve the quality of debate. On the other hand, Hansard and the televising of Parliament does not seem to do much to promote rationality and consistency.
    I think that debates about serious issues should be public and documented at the time. The ONLY reason for this Royal Commission is to attack Labor politically, and it is too late to achieve anything rational and useful.
    If we are to be shown the inner workings of Cabinet, I nominate:
    1. When did Cabinet become aware of the lies that preceded our attack on Iraq?
    2. When did Cabinet become aware of the truth in the "Children Overboard" affair?
    3. Did Cabinet discuss Downer's knowledge and / or incompetence regarding the Iraqi wheat racket?.
    In these cases, the documents should form the basis for criminal prosecutions of the liars involved,

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    1. Robert Molyneux

      Citizen at Drehmex Sales and Services

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      As Robin Hood once said, that's drawing a long bow!
      The revived Construction Building Industry Commision will ensure that the role of unions in inspecting construction work sites for safety hazards (paid for by the workers) will be replaced by a small army of inspectors (paid for by government) - shame about the Workers Compensation Insurance scheme premiums. Gosh Darn It - why is everything so complicated.

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    2. Robert McDougall

      Small Business Owner

      In reply to Robert Molyneux

      Without wc insurance, abbott may find himself hauled into court by any injured during work. Perhaps a class action or two. Or is he going to give the entire parliament immunity greg hunt style?

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  6. Adam Johnson

    n/a

    There appear to be several reasons for Abbott taking this course:

    a) to try to embarrass the former government and particular members of that government.

    b) to distract, deflect and hide public interest and discourse regarding the behaviour, performance and decisions of Abbott and the government.

    c) to silence any dissent in his own party - those who disagree with Abbott may now hold their tongues for fear of a future government releasing documents showing their views.

    And given the governments secrecy on Operation Sovereign Borders etc they cannot claim they are releasing the documents for transparency and accountability reasons.

    I wonder if the next Labor government can hold a Royal Commission with the terms of reference simply being to look at the behaviour and decisions of the Abbott government and go through the whole Abbott government with a fine-tooth comb :)

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    1. Janeen Harris

      chef

      In reply to Adam Johnson

      That royal commission should have the power to present the liberal party with the costs of this commission. It is malice.

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  7. Robert McDougall

    Small Business Owner

    Another indication of the low standards of the abbott gvernment.

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  8. Christopher Webber

    IT Guy

    The money for these wholly political and very expensive royal commissions would be far better used to keep car manufacturing going in Australia or to shore up Qantas

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  9. Henry Verberne

    Once in the fossil fuel industry but now free to speak up

    The Abbott government is showing itself to be radical rather than conservative, vindictive rather than pragmatic.

    This royal commission, as well as the union corruption rc, were primarily set up to tarnish the Labor brand.

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  10. Michael Bolan

    Systems practicioner

    Wait just a minute...our Navy vessels don't appear able to navigate accurately and now many are grounded because there are 'cracks' in them because we built civilian rated ships. Our means of 'processing' desperate refugees appears to be illegal. The NBN has spent around $7 billion yet only achieved 3% of its targets. Large numbers of people are alienated from the electoral and political process. ASIO/ASIS seem to have advised Minister Brandis to break international law regarding spying on the legal…

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  11. Comment removed by moderator.

    1. In reply to John Holmes

      Comment removed by moderator.

  12. john byatt

    retired and cranky at RAN Veteran

    "Labor government will be under significant pressure for a payback. It is too early to tell what issue they might pick, but there will be one."

    let me guess Climate change denial ?

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    1. Jane Middlemist

      citizen

      In reply to john byatt

      Payback and cabinet papers - 'climate change denial', a good pick Mr byatt. Perhaps also, "disappearing manufacturing' and its associated jobs", also "asylum camps", plenty of fodder for the next (hopefully not LNP) government. I do hope the socialist side is doing forward planning to "hit the ground running" at a fast clip.

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    2. john byatt

      retired and cranky at RAN Veteran

      In reply to Jane Middlemist

      Hope they resist the temptation but i can see it now

      " It's invisible'
      "And weightless'
      "It makes plants grow'
      "Warm is good'
      "It's all crap"
      " I think that it might be true"
      " Quick give him the NBN to play with"

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    3. Amanda Barnes
      Amanda Barnes is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Voter

      In reply to john byatt

      You forgot:

      "It was all their fault"
      "The Navy was lost"
      "It was a non-core promise"
      "He hit himself in the head with his boot"
      "The reef was dying anyway"
      "Farming was untenable in the desert so who cares if the water tables don't work anymore"
      "Sovereign Borders?" "That's right Sovereign Corporate Borders"
      "What minimum wage?"
      "We rule - you follow - you no sue"
      "Look happy about it"

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  13. Jay Wulf

    Digerati at nomeonastiq.com

    OMG! Its Malcom Fraser!

    Dude! I am such a big fan. You will be remembered as one of the statesmen of Australian Politics.
    Thanks for trying to trying to give CPR to the corpse of the liberal party, I am sorry that they are the heartless zombie they become.

    Keep trying! <3

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  14. Russ Hunter

    Healthcare Professional

    Anyone noticed the pattern of Abbott making promises before the election on issues which the electorate were not that interested in -- despite his (and NewsCorp's) best efforts -- and now saying he is obliged to keep those promises "to the people".

    I don't think the people even come into it.

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  15. Rajan Venkataraman

    Citizen

    Those with an interest in this subject may also be interested to know that, in addition to coronial enquiries mentioned in Mr Fraser's article, there was a Senate enquiry:

    http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Environment_and_Communications/Completed_inquiries/2008-10/eehp/index

    (which, among other things, recommended a Royal Commission although the Government senators at the time provided a dissenting view on this).

    There was also an enquiry into the scheme by the Australian National Audit Office:

    http://anao.gov.au/Publications/Audit-Reports/2010-2011/Home-Insulation-Program/Audit-brochure

    The Government at the time also commissioned its own review by Dr Allan Hawke:

    http://ee.ret.gov.au/review-administration-home-insulation-program-hawke-2010

    You can read the outcomes of these processes and the recommendations they came up with at the links provided.

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    1. Graham Bell

      Scrap-heaped War Veteran

      In reply to Rajan Venkataraman

      Thanks .... but I agree with Malcolm Fraser's view "There have been coronial inquiries in New South Wales and Queensland into the four unfortunate cases that led to deaths. The cause of death is known. Three of the four employers have been prosecuted and convicted.The royal commission will learn nothing new of those circumstances .... " So who would benefit from a witch-hunt? Certainly not the bereaved families. Certainly not current and future workers in that industry. Certainly not emergency services. Certainly not insurance companies. So who?

      Stop the kiddies' games right now. Apologize to the bereaved families. Make worthwhile amends to them for causing them more distress. Then get on with the important business of government!

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    2. Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      Constitutionalist

      In reply to Graham Bell

      I do not agree with Malcolm Frazer's view that a Royal Commission is not justified because the coronial investigations are of a different issue. The issue is now if the "responsible Minister" acted appropriately and before providing funds for the insulation scheme ensured that sufficient time was provided for the training of people who were to be involved in the instillation of it all. Peter Garrett in my view should have been well aware that dumping a lot of cash in the hands of perhaps unscrupulous…

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  16. John Clark

    Manager

    Rajan - I don't imagine many of the contributors will follow your links to become better informed. TC has become a weapon in the anti-conservative armoury. Virtually every topic degenerates into a meaningless rant to vilify Prime Minister Abbott. Not one for conspiracy theories, I am nonetheless coming to the view that this is an orchestrated strategy to discredit the Government. In this instance, the Commissioner requested documentation specific to his task. It does not seem an unreasonable request in the circumstances.

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    1. christopher gow

      gainfully employed

      In reply to John Clark

      Spot on Mr Clark; TC is financially supported by universities who are, of course, primarly funded by the Commonwealth.
      Why should government money be spent on an organisation hell-bent on discrediting the government? We have already seen what the ABC gets up to with their 'un-Australian' approach (shamefully, they even dare to report criticism of the ADF).
      As you say, this seem to be part of an orchestrated strategy to discredit the government; but orchestrated by whom? And for what sinister purposes? And TC is not alone, I could mention The Guardian, Independent Australia, Crikey, the list goes on, all working together, orchestrating for heaven knows what, personally I suspect the downfall of the government is their ultimate aim.
      I feel a Royal Comission coming on.

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    2. Ken Alderton

      PhD student, former CEO

      In reply to John Clark

      The first part of your comment is nonsense. Have you seen the myriad of pro-conservative, Abbott is next to godliness comments that appear in these conversations. Malcolm Fraser in his day was the arch conservative. I am not anti-conservative but I am anti-this government because they are essentially slogan driven wreckers and have neither the wit nor the competance to run a government.
      If they were true conservatives they would be hell bent on preserving the long established principles of democratic…

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    3. Robert McDougall

      Small Business Owner

      In reply to John Clark

      not orchestrated John, it is just that Abbott is the worst thing to come along since ebola, just a personal opinion based upon observation.

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    4. Graham Bell

      Scrap-heaped War Veteran

      In reply to christopher gow

      Here we go again - another version of Reds Under The Beds or maybe even the Protocols of Zion and a Popish Plot thrown in for good measure. It couldn't possibly be that Liberal Party, like its mirror-image, the Labor Party, has been so successful at driving talented people out of its ranks that it is down to scraping the bottom of the barrel - and that this is becoming obvious in one policy blunder after another, could it?

      Yes, I suppose The Conversation is associated with universities - but like that other "professor show", Late Night Live, I think it will be around for a while yet.

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    5. Jack Bloomfield

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to John Clark

      "In a time of universal deceit - telling the truth is a revolutionary act."
      George Orwell

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    6. ernest malley

      farmer

      In reply to christopher gow

      Given that TC was running throughout the distressing Krudd-Ranga-Krudd interregnum are you saying that uit was then anti-government? And why would that be a bad thing?

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    7. Jack Arnold

      Polymath

      In reply to John Clark

      That is a most unfair observation John. We tolerated and questioned the political rants of the political editor before the 2013 election and the smarmy apologist pieces since. But the readership of TC is edjakated, have been taught how to think critically and are personally prepared to hold an opinion.

      Frequently these opinions are different to those propounded by the unelected hacks that infest political parties in general and the Coalition government in particular.

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    8. Jack Arnold

      Polymath

      In reply to christopher gow

      Christopher, are you proposing a Royal Commission into why the Coalition has no policies to promote the best interests of the Australian electorate but infinite thought bubbles to promote the best interests of any foreign owned entity?

      Bring it on!!!

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    9. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Jack Arnold

      Thanks Jack ... never miss Mike's column ... close as I get to a religious observance.

      I've never trusted the creeping jesus in politics ... their claims of morals are usually in inverse proportion to the cheap ugly brutality or corruption of their deeds. The loftier the claim, the worse the practice.

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  17. Pat Moore

    gardener

    Head kicker, attack dog deploying the legislative means of government to take revenge upon his political enemies at taxpayers' expense. A leopard doesn't change its spots. Recall his legalese subterfuge in destroying the LNP-leaking rightwing voting base of Pauline Hanson's One Nation and having her jailed ('Australians for Honest Politics' wasn't it?). And only guess at the dark Machiavellian plotting during the Rudd-Gillard government around Ashby/Slipper/Brough etc, politicising the legal establishment…

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  18. Bob Constable

    logged in via Facebook

    Well said Malcolm.
    You must be amazed at what the Liberals have become but feel comforted by Tony's assertion that "The adults are in charge" I laugh just typing that. what fool would make that statement.

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  19. David Pearn

    Follower

    Funny how conservatives never mention the failures of the 'private sector'.
    After 69 years on this planet I've come to the conclusion that it's the private sector which simply keeps cocking thing up......failed takeovers mergers predictions etc by the 'big boys' out for a big buck n run......simply glossed over BUT a single failure of the public sector eg failure to supervise the private sector, and it's a national scandal.
    This unbalanced appraisal of society is doing great harm to those who least deserve it. An obvious example is the recent undermining of the scientific community in the area of atmospheric research promoted by the narcissistic media 'personalities' who infect us with their schtick.
    They would not meet minimum public service standards either for that matter.

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    1. Graham Bell

      Scrap-heaped War Veteran

      In reply to David Pearn

      Is it just me - or do other people have trouble distinguishing between the harmful effects of the failures of Communist bureaucracy and those of Corporate bureaucracy?

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  20. Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

    Constitutionalist

    As a CONSTITUTIONALIST I hold that the Framers of the Constitution embedded the legal principle in the constitution that discussions held in private (Cabinet - committee) should remain private as otherwise those attending to the meeting would be restricted to be fair and frank about their opinions. While the allowed reporting of the debates themselves they didn't allow the same for their committee meeting.
    I see no problem with having a Royal Commission, and in fact al along urged one to be held…

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  21. Graham Bell

    Scrap-heaped War Veteran

    I'm all for transparency in government (excluding those few most vital secrets related to our survival in war, of course).

    However, I do agree with maintaining the confidentiality of Cabinet discussions .... but only if ....
    (1) Doing so does lead to real frank and fearless discussion and to a robust interplay of ideas among individuals who share similar political views. If, on the other hand, you have only a bunch of bootlickers toadying to an alpha mule, it wouldn't matter if they held their…

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  22. Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

    Constitutionalist

    The problem with record keeping for FOI, etc, is that then those attending to Cabinet meetings may so to say make a play for the recording, as generally happens in the parliament, rather then allowing themselves free and frank discussions. Generally a person who is aware matters are recorded will act unnaturally versus no recording.
    Because Cabinet can constitutionally not overrule a "responsible Minister" I see no value in having Cabinet confidential discussions explored. The moment one records…

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    1. Graham Bell

      Scrap-heaped War Veteran

      In reply to Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      There is much truth in what you said. Perhaps one way of overcoming shyness or play-acting is to give each Cabinet Minister, within a year of ceasing to be a Member or Senator (but not immediately after an election when emotions are still high) undistracted access to the recordings, with secretarial assistance. Then, when they have had time for quiet reflection and without any party or factional pressure, to record their comments, amplifications, excuses and even their staircase wit on those Cabinet…

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    2. MItchell Lennard

      Researcher - Distributed Energy Systems

      In reply to Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      thanks for the clarification,

      However I think your interpretation is is too black and white. Even with the concept of a Responsible Minister it is worth knowing what information the Minister used in his deliberations, what swayed his opinion. In our party based system ( convention not written down I assume) Ministers do consult cabinet and do follow a cabinet majority process ( even if thats not reflected in the constitution it is the practice).

      So while legally the Minster is the responsible…

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    3. Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      Constitutionalist

      In reply to MItchell Lennard

      What may or may not have been in the mind of Peter Garrett is something I view is not relevant, nor what others may have stated in the Cabinet.
      Hansard 17-4-1898 Constitution Convention Debates (Official Record of the Debates of the National Australasian Convention)
      QUOTE Mr. CARRUTHERS:
      It is just as important that the Federal Government shall have the care and management of the vehicles which carry human beings and their goods as that it should have the care and [start page 769] management of…

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  23. Dave Bradley

    logged in via email @yahoo.com.au

    There may be much of interest with the release of Cabinet Documents of the current government at some future time. Do Shadow Cabinet documents for the last term of parliament become available to scrutiny for any wrongdoing in enquiries or legal action?

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    1. Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      Constitutionalist

      In reply to Dave Bradley

      Dave refers to "Shadow Cabinet" and yet the constitution doesn't provide for any "Shadow Cabinet". As a matter of fact despite the High Court of Australia ruling only one person can be the "responsible minister" and so it is nonsense to have a "Minister assisting the Minister" or personal secretaries as the framers of the constitution held that one person should ultimately be accountable and for this s64 of the constitution was created to facilitate this. But it appears to me the High Court of Australia as I view it so often does has followed its political masters directions.

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    2. Robert Molyneux

      Citizen at Drehmex Sales and Services

      In reply to Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      Very interesting - seems to me some of these titles are just words. I gather you are saying that there can only be one "natural person" responsible and the chain of responsibility runs straight to him or her. Given there is no such entity as "Prime Minister" defined, then the Cabinet is a group of equals, and it is entirely up to the Minister to decide, possibly in no-obligation consultation with his / her peers, what his operatives will do, subject to the laws, whatever they are from time to time. In which case, does not the responsible Minister "own" the documents arising?
      How do the Freedom (from) Information processes handle this?

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    3. Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      Constitutionalist

      In reply to Robert Molyneux

      Some of the Premiers of the colonies (prior to federation) were referred to as Prime minister. It is really the same meaning.
      the Framers of the Constitution did in fact debate that there would be a Prime Minister who would be the person who was commissioned to form a government. No need to specifically have this title in the constitution as he/she is still a "constitutional adviser" to the Governor-General and as such acting ass a Minister. While Cabinet Ministers may discuss matters to get so…

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    4. Robert Molyneux

      Citizen at Drehmex Sales and Services

      In reply to Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      I think your comment " Not that I seek to excuse Kevin Rudd, as I view that as Prime minister he too has to be held legally accountable for allowing this rot with the insulation to proceed." is not consistent with your views stated here..
      If a manager "micro-manages" one of his subordinates, in effect he takes over responsibility. This is one of the problems with micro-management generally. I agree that the subordinate can resign or (formally ) advise the manager that he does not take (full) responsibility anymore, so the manager has to handle all issues arising.
      Given that the Liberals allow their leader to select ministers (compared to the Labor practice of electing a pool of "talent") does this mean that the Prime Minister is ultimately (legally) responsible for the work of the Ministers?

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    5. Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      Constitutionalist

      In reply to Robert Molyneux

      Robert,
      I hold that the "responsible Minister' is responsible for the department under his/her authority. I hold that the Prime Minister is responsible for who he/she recommended to the Governor-General as being a "constitutional advisor" and deemed to be competent in the relevant portfolio(s).
      it is not for the Prime Minister to micro-manage the port folio's of other Ministers and any attempt by a Prime Minister to do so must be resisted.
      My blog at www.scribd.com/inspectorrikati now also shows…

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    6. Robert Molyneux

      Citizen at Drehmex Sales and Services

      In reply to Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      Gerrit,
      Without getting bogged down into the WA Senate election, and I agree the AEC needs overhaul (to allow for electronic voting and rapid auditable counting of the vote) I think a major issue about Rudd was his tendency to micro-manage, and resisting micro-management in any environment is easier said than done.
      The confidentiality of documentation and deliberations in any Cabinet of Ministers / Board of Directors is an important issue, and can be related to Freedom of Information systems and…

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    7. Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      Constitutionalist

      In reply to Robert Molyneux

      Robert, I view there is no excuse for a "responsible Minister" not to know as it should be his/her job to make sure that a Department operates according to his/her procedures. If then someone breaches the procedures that cannot be held the minister is responsible for then perhaps some of his/her culpability may be deemed to a lesser extend. However, if the "responsible Minister' himself/herself fails to appropriately deal with matters to ensure there is a proper procedure in place with all safeguards…

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    8. Robert Molyneux

      Citizen at Drehmex Sales and Services

      In reply to Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      Gerrit,
      My analogy of Cabinet of Ministers and Board of Directors is simply to point out that both have legal obligations, sources of information, debates, joint decisions, and assignment of responsibility to carry out some program of works. They also have some requirement to monitor and measure progress / outcomes against objectives.
      I think you are a bit simplistic about how a chain of responsibility would work. In principle the ballot box decides whether Cabinets have been competent or not…

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    9. Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      Constitutionalist

      In reply to Robert Molyneux

      Robert, you may under estimate my experiences and knowledge. the issue is that I have for more then a decade promoted changes in the electoral system as not a single federal election for over a decades was validly held. But the AEC simply is getting away with it.
      they know that it is costly for a person to litigate in court against them and they use taxpayers monies and lawyers who are making fraudulent statements to the court, as I exposed. But while everyone accepts that COMPULSORY VOTING is…

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    10. Robert Molyneux

      Citizen at Drehmex Sales and Services

      In reply to Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      Gerrit,
      Do you have a link to the USA voting machine problems?
      As to having rubbish bins next to ballot boxes, as far as I know it is not permitted to leave any party "how to vote" paper in voting booths. I usually take these papers with me, and then I post my vote and dispose of the rubbish ASAP. What is the harm in having two boxes side by side? Disrespect?

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    11. Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      Constitutionalist

      In reply to Robert Molyneux

      Robert, It was Mick Keelty who reportedly stated that boxes with ballot papers had been located next to rubbish bins, etc.
      http://news.ninemsn.com.au/national/2014/03/05/10/50/wa-senate-count-was-disaster-keelty

      What this means is that ballot boxes or boxes with ballot papers were left unguarded and for this we pay a electoral commissioner an reported $800,000.00 a year?
      Come on, this is no management style and I view the (then) "responsible Minister" should never again be placed in a position…

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    12. Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      Constitutionalist

      In reply to Robert Molyneux

      Robert, while in the recent federal election I voted because I held there was a worthy candidate standing, normally I refuse to vote on the grounds that COMPULSORY VOTING is unconstitutional. The AEC took me to court and lost both cases against me. they can never again take me to court for the same!
      So generally I do not bother to go to any polling's station at all and while they issue a fine I just write back that because they lost the cases against me previously that is the end of the matter. And they know they are unable to prosecute again against me.

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    13. Jay Wulf

      Digerati at nomeonastiq.com

      In reply to Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      > I refuse to vote on the grounds that COMPULSORY VOTING is unconstitutional.

      I respect your right to have an opinion. You probably then know also, that by not voting, the maths is such that you are endorsing the sitting candidate.

      Therefore, by 'not voting' you are actually voting for the incumbent.

      Science. It rocks.

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  24. Graham Bell

    Scrap-heaped War Veteran

    One good thing that has happened in this discussion is that it has shown up the physical limits of Ministerial Responsibility in a Parliament that follows, roughly, the Westminster system (no doubt discussed a thousand times before)..

    A Minister has only one pair of eyes and one pair of ears; is unlikely to be wide-awake 24 hours a day; is unlikely to have ready access to either the Tardis or to a Magic Carpet. There is only so much a Minister can see, hear or do.

    Sorry, I don't have any ready and just solution to that problem .... but I hope that mentioning the existence of that problem will stimulate greater minds than mine to suggesting a practical solution. .... Good hunting!

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    1. Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      Constitutionalist

      In reply to Graham Bell

      Graham, when I was promoted in charge of a factory, and being aware there were many problems existing, I called my workers together and asked them to let me know what the problems were for so far they could see them. And my workers were pleased I did so. Hence production increased dramatically as result without so to say being a slave driver but merely organising matters to avoid problems.
      True a Minister has only 2 eyes but if he gets into the job and for example if looking after the disabled…

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    2. Graham Bell

      Scrap-heaped War Veteran

      In reply to Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      Thanks for those real-life examples.

      Lazy Ministers are a nasty problem (Veterans' Affairs had a few wasters of oxygen and space - how on earth were they ever pre-selected, let alone elected?).

      Diligent, Vigilant Ministers, such as Veterans' Affairs Minister Con Sciacca ( not a war veteran himself) cannot be everywhere and see everything though.

      How is a Prime Minister, herself or himself flat-out busy .... "ploughing the sea" and carrying out all the other "Labours of Hercules" that Hercules…

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    3. Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      Constitutionalist

      In reply to Graham Bell

      Graham, if we had a Prime Minister who would not hesitate to get rid of any Minister who fails to perform then quick smart other minister would getting their act together. However when you have a weakling of a Prime Minister who cannot even manage his/her own office then so to say the wheel will be falling off. The moment Ministers get the message that they will be out of office if they fail to perform then they will pursue that their Departments and so also contractors and subcontractors will abide…

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    4. Graham Bell

      Scrap-heaped War Veteran

      In reply to Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      Thanks very much for your real-world experience there.. There is indeed truth in what you say.
      However, a Minister may be - well, is usually - thrust into a Department where he has no understanding whatsoever of its workings and responsibilities; she or he may have been put in that job solely for factional purposes - a recipe for trouble, if ever there was one..

      Anyway, I shall not make a separate comment on cascading responsibility further below.

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  25. Rick Sullivan

    Vast and Various

    This clueless government under Abbott will try anything to stay in power. Similar to before the election, it has no idea of decent policy, just attack, attack, attack. Sadly, it has all the commercial media on-side. The only media outlet not in the LNP's pocket is our ABC, and that's clearly why it's under attack as well. What a mob of incompetent brats we have running this country. Sad.

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  26. Jeff Payne

    PhD in Political Science and Masters in Public Policy

    It really is interesting times. Tony Abbott, like his predecessor, proudly wears the mantle of being a conservative. This is in contrast to the 'liberal' tradition represented by few better than the honorable (meant here as an observation of character not a title) Mr Malcolm Fraser. Indeed, Malcolm Fraser has proven himself to be one of the most relevant and courageous social commentators of our time. The interesting thing about this particular debate is that Abbott, that proud conservative, is being…

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    1. Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      Constitutionalist

      In reply to Jeff Payne

      In my view as a CONSTITUTIONALIST I hold that Malcolm Fraser was a traitor to the general community and hardly has any credibility to rely upon conventions, etc. And conventions do not overrule constitutional limitations. While John Kerr had the constitutional powers to withdrew his commission for any Minister, he had to follow proper protocols. S64 requires the appointment of a Minister on advise of the executives. He however did not do so. Also the G-G can remove a Minister at his pleasure by…

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    2. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Jeff Payne

      Abbott is no conservative ... he is a "radical capitalist" ... he will quite happily do here what his idol Thatcher did in the UK and bugger the consequences ... tear it all down, like some vengeful deity destroying and creating from the ruins... a schumpeterian shiva.

      There is a deep madness simmering in this bloke. Nothing is sacred. All that was sacred is profane. He would prefer if he could leave nothing intact at all. His colleagues in Cabinet should be starting to feel a bit uneasy by now. They really don't know how far he'll go ... and neither does he.

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    3. Robert Molyneux

      Citizen at Drehmex Sales and Services

      In reply to Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      Gerrit, I think this post is off-topic, and I disagree with your history of the Dismissal. .
      However, I agree with you that the rise of the political parties, especially in the Senate, has resulted in a corruption of the ideal processes. I think that MPs should swear allegiance to the Common / shared Wealth, and vote according to their own views about the issues, based on informed debate and reasoning.
      The party "platforms" are statements about various issues, options and solutions, BUT no one…

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    4. Jeff Payne

      PhD in Political Science and Masters in Public Policy

      In reply to Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      I think you could add to this account, G. H., the farce in Queensland in the selection of the new Labor senator which was required after the death of Bert Milliner. Paul Keating believed at the time, and I think he still believes, that Whitlam should have called out the army to defend the government against a coup.

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    5. Jeff Payne

      PhD in Political Science and Masters in Public Policy

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Could we drop the word neo-con? 'Schumpeterian shiva', what a laugh. Well done.

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    6. Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      Constitutionalist

      In reply to Robert Molyneux

      I do not think the issue was off-topic because so many commentaries were devoted about how righteous Malcolm Fraser is, whereas I view he really isn't any better then those he criticise.
      In my view, once he left Parliament he had no constitutional right to still receive payments or have an office paid for by taxpayers as he never was employed by the Commonwealth of Australia but by Her majesty the Queen the British Monarch. and the constitution requires salaries to be payable to the Queen. And…

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    7. Russ Hunter

      Healthcare Professional

      In reply to Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      This might be off topic but any chance of politicians being held legally responsible for things like the death of asylum seekers in offshore detention centres? Or for maiming Australia's NBN for political gain?? Or for wilful damage to the biosphere???

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    8. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Russ Hunter

      As I understand it Russ, Scott Morrison is actually "parent of last resort" for unaccompanied minors in detention or awaiting assessment for a protection visa ... in effect he is their legal guardian and is, personally, responsible for their health and welfare.

      Sadly I suspect that maiming essential infrastructure projects or the crimes against the biosphere don't enjoy similar protection, although there are some personal accountabilities attached to that little Hunt fella under the EPBC Act but the government is trying to weasel its way around those.

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    9. Robert Molyneux

      Citizen at Drehmex Sales and Services

      In reply to Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      Gerrit, I think it is worth discussing the Dismissal, but the pensions and superannuation schemes of politicians are irrelevant here.
      As to the Dismissal, the situation was:
      1. The lunatic corrupt Premier of Queensland appointed a stooge to replace a dead Labor Senator, so that Labor lost control of the Senate. The same lunatic weighted in to the debate about aligning the elections of the upper and lower houses (keep them misaligned) - a bit cheeky since Queensland only has one House of Parliament…

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    10. Jenny Clarke

      Carer/retired

      In reply to Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      'Basically it appears to me that Malcolm Fraser is like the kettle calling the pot to be black.'

      Yes. Malcolm Fraser's argument here is important but he is the wrong person to make it. That he did not smear his predecessors does not absolve his own somewhat massive break with convention and the subsequent overkill.

      It does not undermine his other fights though. Like refugees. His record was one of decency, humanity and responsibility for Australia's actions in Vietnam. Also bipartisan. Like now except with the inverse of all those values.

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    11. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Jenny Clarke

      Precisely Jenny.

      Fraser was certainly no saint but I think he was a small "l" liberal ,,, perhaps he became more small "l" as some sort of atonement. But he knows full well that there is no place for the likes of him in the Liberal Party of Tony Abbott. Cheap, ugly populist sloganising is the only currency they trade in, that and the relentless opposition to their political enemies. This lot are not so much interested in winning government as they are in crushing any and all opposition... they are fanatics and zealots.

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    12. Robert Molyneux

      Citizen at Drehmex Sales and Services

      In reply to Jenny Clarke

      I think the other point is that he has a vested interest - are there Cabinet papers from his time in governments (he was a senior Liberal Minister for the military during the Vietnam War) that he would rather not see aired / examined?
      For example, was Australia consulted by "Our Great and Powerful Friends" regarding the use of Agent Orange and other defoliants? What about the carpet bombing of Cambodia and Laos?
      I agree that his record later has been one of a decent man.

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    13. Jane Middlemist

      citizen

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      'schumpeterian shiva' Mr O and 'madness simmering in this bloke'
      Sheer poetry, as well as the most plausible explanation so far…

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    14. Russ Hunter

      Healthcare Professional

      In reply to Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      Gerrit, if you wanna grind an axe why not go after Morrison over the death of Reza Berati? Garret's actions were driven by an attempt to save Australia from the GFC; Morrison was following through on Howard and Abbott's foul decision to appeal to and promote xenophobia and the like over asylum seekers because they saw votes in it. They've pretty clearly violated the Refugee Convention in the process, and, I suspect, international law. Maybe you could claim all three scalps and go down an Australian hero?

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    15. Russ Hunter

      Healthcare Professional

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      I thought as much. It get's my goat that politicians seem to be able to act with impunity on such matters. Likewise, I see no accountabillity when it comes to the "reporting" and "journalism" that fills most NewsCorp publications in an attempt to back them up. They seem to be a law unto themselves until they are proven to hack a dead girls phone.

      I think the two are no conincidence. It seems to me the media is our best hope of holding politicians to account. When the dominant media mogul is as rotten as the worst politician, you have a problem. Conditions are perfect for the most corrupted and unscrupulous politicians to rise to the top.

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    16. Laurie Forde

      Retired Business Owner

      In reply to Russ Hunter

      I agree Ross. In fact the timing of Murdoch's rise in Australia, the UK and the US coincides with a sharp downturn in the quality of the Democratic processes in those countries.
      Democracy does not work without a free flow of full and accurate information to the voting public.
      When someone like Murdoch declares that he will support one side in an election rather than report on the political process the Democratic system is destroyed.

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    17. Peter Horan

      Retired

      In reply to Jane Middlemist

      As we know from his behaviour in opposition, Abbott has a great need for power. And this need has to be fed daily - he is a power addict. He has acted against tradition without thinking through the consequences of releasing cabinet documents because his need for power blinds him.

      He forgets that the Roman Triumph required the victorious general, god-king for a day, to conduct himeself with humility. And that a Triumph only lasts a day. "Memento Mori".

      In this case,

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    18. Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      Constitutionalist

      In reply to Russ Hunter

      I do not consider this to be off-topic, as where Malcolm Fraser refer to one Royal Commission then why not one for the issue of aliens coming to the Commonwealth of Australia.
      .
      Hansard 3-3-1898 Constitution Convention Debates
      QUOTE
      Sir JOHN FORREST.-What is a citizen? A British subject?
      Mr. WISE.-I presume so.
      Sir JOHN FORREST.-They could not take away the rights of British subjects.
      Mr. WISE.-I do not think so. I beg to move- That the words "each state" be omitted, with the view of inserting…

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    19. Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      Constitutionalist

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      What those so to say bleeding hearts are ignoring is that those who are mildly stated "playing up" are causing considerable trauma to the children. and when they are burning down buildings then who can ignore the danger they are themselves placing the children into. How on earth can you argue about human rights for those who blatantly disregard the human rights of others? if you do not accept the human rights of others then do not expect others then to consider your human rights.
      The Federal government is entitled to simply reject any alien it desires to reject. If it provide a system to weed out what so to say are the undesirable then so be it. If then those refused are causing trauma to others then it even more underlines they should be refused to be accepted.

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    20. Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      Constitutionalist

      In reply to Robert Molyneux

      As a CONSTITUTIONALIST I maintain that the High court of Australia was well outside its judicial powers in Sue v Hill to declare the Commonwealth of Australia some independent nation.
      Hansard 2-3-1898 Constitution Convention Debates
      QUOTE
      Mr. SYMON ( South Australia ).-
      In the preamble honorable members will find that what we desire to do is to unite in one indissoluble Federal Commonwealth -that is the political Union-"under the Crown of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland , and…

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    21. Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      Constitutionalist

      In reply to Robert Molyneux

      My position is that unless the governor-General had published in the gazette a DECLARATION OF WAR then the military intervention into Vietnam was unconstitutional. Actually, Robert Menzies was in my view utterly wrong to claim that because the United Kingdom (Great Britain) had declare war onto Germany then Australia was also at war. This as again other then if there is an actual attack upon the Commonwealth of Australia no Minister of defence can authorise Australian troops to invade another country…

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    22. Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      Constitutionalist

      In reply to Russ Hunter

      If Morrison as the "responsible Minister" made errors, as did Ruddock (but then promoted to Attorney-General) then he too should face the legal consequences. Let be clear about it that in 2002 I requested the Commonwealth Ombudsman to investigate matters. He refused, but in 2005 on request of John Howard finally did so but to my knowledge his report never exposed his own culpability to have years earlier refused to investigate. Then I took the matter to the High court of Australia and the Court refused…

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    23. Graham Bell

      Scrap-heaped War Veteran

      In reply to Robert Molyneux

      The wild claims of having a "Mandate(??)" are as ridiculous as the wild claims of production targets being exceeded in a glorious Five Year Plan in the old Soviet Union.

      The nearest you get to a mandate in Australia is in a referendum.

      All the rest is just a vote for a candidate you like in a faction you like .... and a swag of unattainable hope . Nothing more!
      If it wasn't like that, new jails would have to be built to house all the politicians convicted of fraud, of confidence trickery and of selling defective or non-existent services.

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    24. Jack Arnold

      Polymath

      In reply to Robert Molyneux

      A good summary Robert except for the omission of the CIA influence on Kerr that was reported in Honi Suit (Sydney University). But then, even Alan Read, Canberra political commentator for about 40 years, did not know of this influence.

      I suggest that the Whitlam dismissal was unconstitutional, supported by Barwick & Mason for personal political reasons and strongly influenced by US foreign policy interfering in the political affairs of Asian countries thought to be left leaning or putative Communist.

      Further exposition of Barwick's 'flexible approach' to the Australian Constitution when allowing Territories to elect Senators is likely off topic here.

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    25. Jack Arnold

      Polymath

      In reply to Laurie Forde

      Perhaps Laurie you would support a change to the media laws as they made in Fiji where only Fijian nationals can own media?

      Naturally Mr Murdoch and his family, all now US citizens, would be required to relinquish their Australian citizenship to maintain their US media holdings. Oh, did I mention that the US requires media to be owned by US nationals?

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    26. Jack Arnold

      Polymath

      In reply to Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      Uhm Gerrit, you have sourced a document in which I have an interest. Would you be so kind as to post the link to the Proceedings of the Australiasian Constitutional Convention, 1891 and successive dates?

      Has anybody done an annotated index of these long forgotten tomes?

      My particular interest is Isaac Isaacs.

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    27. Jane Middlemist

      citizen

      In reply to Peter Horan

      A good contribution towards understanding Mr Abbott's inexplicable (to me) behaviours. Elsewhere someone suggested that Abbott believes in "creative destruction" - so we may have to wait till he's finished destroying to see what he 'creates'? (Because he's not telling us what, if anything will be created, apart from the 'level playing field')
      - horrors!

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    28. Gayle Kenny

      University Liaison

      In reply to Robert Molyneux

      Yes they were carpet bombed unrelentingly for eight years after the Vietnam war was finished. Surely a war crime that has never been prosecuted.

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    29. Laurie Forde

      Retired Business Owner

      In reply to Jack Arnold

      Definitely not, Jack. I would support changes that insist that all information disseminated would be as full and accurate as possible given information available and time constraints of publication.
      Some imposition of ethics on the media is fraught with difficulties, but the problem must be tackled.
      The fact that only US nationals can own media in US has not helped this cause at all. Same in Fiji.
      The internet is assisting in these areas. Where we would be if internet had not come along is anyone's guess.
      It would not be a good place, that's for sure.
      For example, look at recent Scott Ludlam's speech on Abbott's misogyny, homophobia etc. If not for social media, we would not have heard of it via MSM. Same as Gillard's misogyny speech .
      The corruption of the media by vested interests is the reason why so-called Democracies are in such a parlous state, and Murdoch is corruption personified in this process.

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    30. Russ Hunter

      Healthcare Professional

      In reply to Laurie Forde

      I agree, Laurie, that the internet will help to turn things around. It's an even playing field which the likes of Murdoch hate. They have to compete and can't make dirty deals with politicians to get a stranglehold. My Space showed Murdoch doesn't get online too well. I think his presence in a largely online future will be nothing like the power he now wields. The question will be how long his share in Foxtel and online classifieds can prop up his loss-making newspaper propaganda machines. If the NBN had been built this would have accelerated his demise. Now it will be more drawn out.

      I think the other thing that will turn our country around is Abbott himself. I can see him acting as a turning (low) point that inspires a new breed of politician and Australian to rise up and set things right.

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    31. Robert Molyneux

      Citizen at Drehmex Sales and Services

      In reply to Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      Gerrit, you seem to want to have Australia subservient to Britain, yet complain when Pig Iron Bob commits us to Britain's wars without question and presumably you would complain complain when Little Johnnie (the "Lying Rodent" according to the Librarian, George Brandis) commits us to the USA's wars, despite popular opinion and considerable doubts about the CIA's bullshit..
      You are quoting people who in 1898 considered themselves to be British, and whose entire world view was British. Hence, for…

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    32. Robert Molyneux

      Citizen at Drehmex Sales and Services

      In reply to Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      "In my view, John Kerr, if he held it appropriate, could have called for a DOUBLE DISSOLUTION and withdrawn the commission of all Ministers and then requested Malcolm Fraser if he accepted to be Commissioned as care taking Prime Minister. and form a care taking ministry. This without any prior arrangements with Malcolm Fraser while Gough Whitlam was still Prime Minister."
      Geoff Withlam, when he was pretending to be Gough Whitlam, expected that tipsy John Kerr would follow the conventions of Australia…

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    33. Robert Molyneux

      Citizen at Drehmex Sales and Services

      In reply to Robert Molyneux

      BTW - I trust no-one is offended by my reference to the Queen of Australia as "Betty Windsor" or my hinting about Sir John Kerr's problem with drink. I assure everyone that when Charles finally gets his chance to be King of Australia, I will give due respect to a system of hereditary monarchy restricted to non-Catholics and dubious Germans.

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    34. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Robert Molyneux

      My only concern with the reference to Betty Windsor is that is gives the impression that she is some sort of English rose rather than the teutonic reality of Betty Saxe-Coburg-Gotha or Wettin (preferred by Queen Victoria) after a crumbling german castle.

      A Germanic name went from minor liability to severe liability in the height of WW1 when a German plane named "The Gotha" began bombing civilian areas of London. The King of the UK, who was first cousins with the emperor of Germany, decided to change the household name of the British family and the titles of close family members with German titles. He adopted the household name of "Windsor" after the castle built by William the Conqueror. And Battenburg became Mountbatten.

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    35. Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      Constitutionalist

      In reply to Graham Bell

      Graham I can only concur with your statement. I for one would like politicians to be held legally accountable for making fraudulent statements during election time, they knew or reasonably could have known were never going to be acted upon. After all it is in my view a very serious conduct to defraud electors!

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    36. Robert Molyneux

      Citizen at Drehmex Sales and Services

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      When Charles becomes King of Australia, perhaps we could recognise this in Parliament that when votes are cast in the affirmative, the Speaker could say "The ears have it".

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    37. Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      Constitutionalist

      In reply to Jack Arnold

      Jack,
      if you go to the federal parliament website and look for the conventions then you should come to it. Be careful in reading that you commence from the start and then slowly digest everything. This is because otherwise you may overlook the importance of some statements, that refers back to what earlier was done. In fact with the WorkChoices decision by the High court of Australia the judges did take out of context what the Framers of the Constitution actually stated. to give you some example…

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    38. Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      Constitutionalist

      In reply to Robert Molyneux

      Robert, conventions do not override the constitution but the constitution itself states
      QUOTE
      64 Ministers of State
      The Governor-General may appoint officers to administer such
      departments of State of the Commonwealth as the
      Governor-General in Council may establish.
      Such officers shall hold office during the pleasure of the
      Governor-General. They shall be members of the Federal
      Executive Council, and shall be the Queen’s Ministers of State for
      the Commonwealth.
      Ministers to sit in Parliament…

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    39. Robert Molyneux

      Citizen at Drehmex Sales and Services

      In reply to Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      I think you are stating reality - "Parliament - some people would regard it as regrettable - can, in effect, do what it like."
      A real example is that there was a referendum years ago that allowed Parliament to make laws affecting a group of people, Australian aborigines. At the time, this was to justify programs to *** benefit *** aborigines. The Howard COAL government subsequently used this power to make laws to *** disadvantage *** aborigines, and this was found to be constitutional by the High…

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    40. Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      Constitutionalist

      In reply to Robert Molyneux

      Robert, why would it be more offensive to refer to Betty Windsor then to call her "Queen of Australia" that could stand for "Queen of the toilet" or something like that. Her majesty's title is Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain and she cannot be anything else within the constitutional context of our constitution. See http://www.geocities.com/englishreports/77ER377.html ~~~Calvin's Case 7 Coke Report
      http://www.geocities.com/englishreports/77ER377.html
      QUOTE
      4. And as to the fourth, it is less…

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    41. Robert Molyneux

      Citizen at Drehmex Sales and Services

      In reply to Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      Gerrit, I think "Governor-General In Council" (GGIC) is intended to mean the Governor-General takes (binding) advice from the Executive. After that, GG does "administrative" stuff to implement the decisions of GGIC, including appointing and disappointing various heavies..
      When a letter comes to me signe by the GG appointing me to review the strange antics of the Assistant Minister For Health and the flim flam of the Prime Minister defending this incompetent goose, I will believe the GG has the effective power you claim.
      BTW - Betty Windsor occasionally let skip that she was not entirely happy with some of the actions of Maggie Thatcher, Attila the Hen. And our current GG has recently been awfully rude giving vent to her thoughts about how a future GG might be an elected Australian, maybe even a Catholic. So, yes, a GG might have some ability for independent action, but it is very heavily circumscribed.

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    42. Ken Alderton

      PhD student, former CEO

      In reply to Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      You are misinterpreting the meaning of Section 64: "The Governor-General may appoint officers to administer such
      departments of State of the Commonwealth as the
      Governor-General in Council may establish."
      It is "such departments of State of the Commonwealth" that the "Governor-General in Council may establish."
      The section is very clear. Ministers of State "hold their appointment during the pleasure of the Governor-General." No mention of the Federal Council. The GG can dispense with any or all Ministers, including the Prime Minister without reference to the Federal Council.

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    43. Laurie Forde

      Retired Business Owner

      In reply to Russ Hunter

      Yes Russ, that's what we're all hoping and working for, that Abbott is the low point.
      History shows, of course, that we can sink much lower, but the fact that power in Australia is relatively dispersed at this stage ( Political, Unions, Capital, Educational institutions, Judiciary, law enforcement, ABC etc) gives hope that we will rise from the depths that we have currently plumbed under the Murdoch/Abbott regime.

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    44. Laurie Forde

      Retired Business Owner

      In reply to Laurie Forde

      ABC independence is becoming more questionable these days with the way commentators are drawn so heavily from the ranks of the Murdoch stable and Rightwing Institutes.

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    45. Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      Constitutionalist

      In reply to Robert Molyneux

      Robert, the last thing you want to sanction is the High Court of Australia to amend the constitution to apply what its contemporary views are as I understand too often is what the High Court of Australia has already been doing in matters such as Sue v Hill and Sykes v Cleary and Pochi cases.
      Out constitution allows within the framework of s128 to amend the constitution, but obviously such an amendment must be difficult as to avoid hasty decisions. S51(xxvi) can only be interpreted to discriminate…

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    46. Robert Molyneux

      Citizen at Drehmex Sales and Services

      In reply to Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      And lo, it came to pass that a young English lassie ("Betty Windsor") and a Greek prince ("Phil the Greek") cameth to conjugate, and thus a chubby young fellow to be named Charles emerged through the royal birth canal, fortunately with his ears withdrawn at the time.
      And Betty and her family were heavily featured in magazines such as No Idea, and no-one dared to speak of the fact that her multiple titles came from various genocidal campaigns to teach the Scots to stop wearing kilts, or the Irish…

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    47. Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      Constitutionalist

      In reply to Robert Molyneux

      Robert, while the Governor-General in Council generally but not always will act upon the advice of the federal executives the Governor-General acts within his/her prerogative powers and not bound by whatever the federal executives may advice.
      Hansard 10-3-1898 Constitution Convention Debates
      QUOTE
      Mr. SYMON.-A written Constitution is not exhaustive. We have implanted responsible government in this Constitution, but we have not said so in so many words. We must have some regard to the instrument…

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    48. Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      Constitutionalist

      In reply to Ken Alderton

      Governor-General in Council; relates to the governor-General acting upon the advise of the Federal executives. I suggest you read the Constitution Convention debates and you may then understand its application.

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    49. Ken Alderton

      PhD student, former CEO

      In reply to Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      The debates in the Constitution Convention have no force in law. The words of Section 64 are abundantly clear. The Governor-General in Council establishes the departments of State and the GG alone appoints and fires the officers who run them. I can read the Section for myself and can find no decision of the High Court or any other federal court that contradicts this interpretation. Quote me a descision that supports you.

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    50. Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      Constitutionalist

      In reply to Robert Molyneux

      Robert, it was an enjoyable post you write. Actually, I used to write with Princess Diana. One of my daughters used to take her writing to school for show and tell. No matter what a persons personal views are here she walked amongst land mines, many concerned about her safety and she gets killed in a motor car!
      Do not think for a moment that I hold there is nothing wrong with the royal family, but try to find the perfect human being and I can tell you there is none.
      with all its faults it is better…

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    51. Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      Constitutionalist

      In reply to Ken Alderton

      Ken consider the following:
      QUOTE:-
      “..However, the judiciary has no power to amend or modernize the Constitution to give effect to what Judges think is in the best public interest. The function of the judiciary, including the function of this Court, is to give effect to the intention of the makers of the Constitution as evinced by the terms in which they expressed that intention. That necessarily means that decisions, taken almost a century ago by people long dead, bind the people of Australia…

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    52. Robert Molyneux

      Citizen at Drehmex Sales and Services

      In reply to Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      My point is that there are various "entitities" defined in the Constitution, which is the outcome of the various debates in 1898 (more than 100 years ago). These debating points may or may not have turned up - so fascinating as it might be to go over them, the only thing that counts is the Constitution. Funnily enough, the only things that count in Cabinet deliberations are the outcomes - a reason for accepting Malcolm's position, I think.
      Anyway - I think Governor General (GG) and Governor General…

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    53. Robert Molyneux

      Citizen at Drehmex Sales and Services

      In reply to Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      Ah, I must confess that my ancestors include a Molyneux lot that came from Normandy with William the Conqueror and beat up the English in 1066. It seems that they were rewarded with wealth ripped off the subjugated people. A Robert Molyneux was the Master of Cook's ship Endeavor (seems to have been an amiable drunk) and as such was probably responsible for steering the ship into Botany Bay, near where I live.
      My post was intended to show that monarchy is a very nasty scheme, based on the most bizarre selection method, and moderated by tradition over many hundreds of years to get rid of its worst attributes. I agree that we have to be careful coming up with an alternative, including the elected monarchy for a day so loved by the Yanks.
      I think it is very unfair that one of our PM's lovely daughters could not aspire to be Queen of Australia - just one of the strange disconnects in the mind of our monarchist bicyclist.

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    54. Ken Alderton

      PhD student, former CEO

      In reply to Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      In short. It matters not a jot how you or I interpret the intentions of the makers of the Constitution. It is the "function of the judiciary, including the function of this Court" that "give[s] effect to the intention of the makers of the Constitution" The judiciary turn the intentions of the makers into law and its is this law that binds the people of Australia.

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    55. Robert Molyneux

      Citizen at Drehmex Sales and Services

      In reply to Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      Having broken the habit of a lifetime of reading before pontificating, I refer you to "Australian Constitutional Law and Theory" by Tony Blackshield and George Williams, The Federation Press, regarding the Australia Acts.
      QUOTE
      Page 141
      The Australia Act 1986 was assented to on 4 December 1985 and came into operation on 3 March 1986 when it was proclaimed by Elizabeth II, who travelled to Canberra for that purpose to make it clear that she was acting in her capacity as Queen of Australian. The…

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    56. Robert Molyneux

      Citizen at Drehmex Sales and Services

      In reply to Robert Molyneux

      Darn. " habit of a lifetime of reading before pontificating" should have been "pontificating before reading".
      Pity that TC does not support editing of posts for a short time.

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    57. Jack Arnold

      Polymath

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Peter, only Betty is a "Windsor", the remainder of the family are correctly "Mountbatten Windsor" as shown in the press release announcing the birth of Little George.

      This historic fiddle was attributed to Louie Mountbatten having Phil the Greek adopt the surname Mountbatten, so that when Betty married Phil she correctly took his new family name Mountbatten, but was required by regal precedent to use the name Windsor. Hence the four offspring and their issue are Mountbatten Windsor.

      See: Lynn Pickett, Clive Prince & Stephen Prior, War of the Windsors; a Century of Unconstitutional Monarchy (2002, Hardie Grant Books, Victoria).

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    58. Jack Arnold

      Polymath

      In reply to Robert Molyneux

      Fair comment as part of an interesting discussion Robert. However, the High Court tends to take a black letter approach in most cases, except for the Mason and later "reforming Courts" that saved Australian citizens from a plutocracy of vested interests.

      Consider the outcome of NEAT v AWB where the only commercially sensible decision was the minority judgment by Kirby J. See: http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/cth/HCA/2003/35.html

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    59. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Jack Arnold

      Jack - what on earth are you doing to waste the slightest waking hour boning up on these dreadful creatures? You could have been doing something uplifting like weeding the lawn or polishing the silverware.

      It's bizarre though how many folks seem to think that Mrs Windsor is descended from Shakespeare or Boadicea or some such ... instead of just another run of the mill hausfrau with shocking genes and a huge collection of bad hats.

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    60. Peter Horan

      Retired

      In reply to Jane Middlemist

      Besides a great need for power, some people also have a great belief that THEY can solve the problems they see, prime ministers or CEOs. They may change the course of history.but more often than not, the effects are not as desired.

      For example, Tony Blair won the election, dominated his cabinet, ruling it with a clique of advisers and was very successful in the Northern Ireland peace negotiations. As a result, he thought he could control history in respect of Iraq.

      Clinton, on the other hand started with failures, and was far more circumspect.

      The parallels of Abbott with Blair are: he won his war to destroy a government (= win in Ireland), he dominates his cabinet and rules with a clique, and he thinks that continued destruction, no matter the cost, will launch the phoenix (= invading Iraq).

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    61. Jane Middlemist

      citizen

      In reply to Robert Molyneux

      A bit different Robert to what I learned in school, but closer to the truth much more fun.
      I wish that we could have more meaningful public holidays here: for example, maybe some former, famous, Prime Minister's birthday instead of the queen's birthday (Betty's day) or maybe celebrate the apology with a public holiday called Reconciliation Day. Anything that would bring Australian's together commemorating something with pleasant memories, not fake or hypocritical, and which most of us could share.
      I probably will be dead by the time we celebrate Republic Day but that would be a good one.

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    62. Jane Middlemist

      citizen

      In reply to Peter Horan

      Invading Iraq and killing - so I've read - roughly 100,000 Iraqis was absolutely unforgivable in my view. The general public were totally against it marching in the streets to protest but did J.Howard's
      govt take any notice? All about WMD indeed and I'm sure the warmongers never believed there were any. And anyway, other countries have nuclear weapons and terrible Heads of State, so why don't we go and invade them - I suppose because we haven't been told to do yet by America. Some allies! Not. And we call ourselves civilised human beings…

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    63. Robert Molyneux

      Citizen at Drehmex Sales and Services

      In reply to Jane Middlemist

      "Betty's Barbeque and Booze-up" or "Chuck's Chugalug"?
      As a segue into Reconciliation, I would like to see Australia adopt the beautiful aboriginal flag with our newcomers respectfully asking our oldcomers to share it, and respectfully conceding it to the new nation. Maybe add the Southern Cross in white to get the full colour spectrum.
      I also think that if the ACT and the Northern Territory can justify senators, then the "Aboriginal People" could have them as well - say two senators elected across Australia. Then the States' House / House of Review could specifically include detailed consideration of all legislation and programs with respect to Aboriginal issues.

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    64. Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      Constitutionalist

      In reply to Robert Molyneux

      The Governor-General is not and never is bound to follow whatever the Governor-General is recommended to do. As I have set out even the High Court of Australia made clear that the constitution must be interpreted by the intentions of the Framers of the Constitution. This is also why I comprehensively defeated the Commonwealth on 19 July 2006 because I relied upon the Hansard records extensively. I was the only one ever to defeat the Commonwealth on the issue of compulsory voting, because of my extensive…

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    65. Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      Constitutionalist

      In reply to Ken Alderton

      In short, despite the High Court of Australia ruling in Sue v Hill, I challenged this and the Commonwealth nor any Attorney-General then opposed me. This is because the High Court of Australia merely "assumed" something where as I based my cases on "facts"!
      The judiciary do not make law but merely interpret what the law is to be, and often they get it wrong and later change it.
      Like the Cross Vesting Act that it held was constitutionally applicable and then many years later held it was unconstitutional!
      The judiciary cannot turn the intentions of the delegates or the parliamentarians into law because it is already part of the law just that the judges acknowledge this after some consideration, even so they may previously not have considered it as such. Only the parliament can legislate!

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    66. Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      Constitutionalist

      In reply to Robert Molyneux

      In the decades I only one assisted a party in litigation where I relied upon religion as an issue, because it was critical to the issue. Ordinary I never would seek to use religion.
      As for the Australia Act, it is to comprehensive to set it out in this post. I canvassed in my books (INSPECTOR-RIKATI®) series extensively already and so no need to do it now.
      Safe to say that no Parliament can prevent a subsequent Parliament to exercise its legislative powers. The Australia Act 1986 (UK) is not…

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    67. Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      Constitutionalist

      In reply to Jack Arnold

      Jack,
      one thing I used to do was to check the transcript of my opponents and then expose how the barristers were fabricating a version of Authorities to suit themselves by fraudulently altering words and then quote the fraudulent version in court.
      Likewise the High court of Australia has done so by taking it out of context. And the High Court of Australia also itself made clear that Quick & Garran at times didn't correctly set out matters.
      'For example Dr Quick was defeated about giving the Commonwealth of Australia legislative powers to define/declare citizenship!' I published a book about it setting out extensively what Australian Citizenship is , and it is not and cannot be a nationality!
      .
      Compare the Hansard records versus what Quick & Garran wrote and you may find various conflicts. Quick & Garran cannot overrule what the Framers of the constitution embedded as legal principles in the constitution!

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    68. Gayle Kenny

      University Liaison

      In reply to Peter Horan

      I'll think you'll find that the main movers in causing Peace to break out in Northern Ireland were Albert Reynolds, Taoiseach of Ireland at the time, working with Adams (IRA), who had seen that power was not going to grow out of the barrel of a gun any more. Blair and the Brits saw what the IRA could do if they had a mind to - get into Betty Windsor's bedroom, blow up Canary Wharf. They knew then that ultimately they were not going to be able to manage the Provo's guerilla warfare tactics. Besides…

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    69. Robert Molyneux

      Citizen at Drehmex Sales and Services

      In reply to Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      For an amusing account of the titles and genealogy of William, see
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prince_William,_Duke_of_Cambridge#Titles.2C_styles.2C_honours_and_arms
      I especially like the way Grandma Betty keeps adding additional titles. How do these arise? Maybe someone writes out all the possibilities on post-it notes, which are stuck on to the parquetry floor, and then one of Betty's corgis is allowed to wander about to mark one with a suitable squirt. For special occasions a corgi suffering diabetes could be engaged to make multiple squirts.
      What on earth does this convoluted nonsense have to do with Australia?

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    70. Robert Molyneux

      Citizen at Drehmex Sales and Services

      In reply to Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      Gerrit,
      Given you claim that the Commonwealth of Australia is not a legal entity, your question
      "I do not consider this to be off-topic, as where Malcolm Fraser refer to one Royal Commission then why not one for the issue of aliens coming to the Commonwealth of Australia" is pointless and off-topic..
      I suppose I could point to the Australian Citizenship Act 2007 regarding aliens and citizens, but ditto.
      The reference to the Privy Council in 1898 is fascinating, but the Australia Act 1985 abolished appeals to it, leaving the High Court of Australia as the ultimate umpire. New Zealand abolished appeals in its Supreme Court Act 2003 (NZ). I assume that you accept the legal existence of New Zealand?.

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    71. Graham Bell

      Scrap-heaped War Veteran

      In reply to Robert Molyneux

      Slightly off-topic but I do like your question "What on earth does this convoluted nonsense have to do with Australia?" If we must have a monarchy in Australia then why not an Australian monarch - say, one of Aboriginal descent - with the simple title 'Queen Of Australia' or 'King Of Australia" - and without all the hangers-on, and especially without the Bunyip Aristocracy..

      That would require a new Constitution .... a new Constitution that would, among other things, spell out the extent and the limits of Ministerial responsibility.

      Come on, let's go for it. What have we got to lose?

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    72. Robert Molyneux

      Citizen at Drehmex Sales and Services

      In reply to Graham Bell

      Check my post about getting the Packers and Rinehards together to start our own monarchy..
      We could also revive the ancient practice of having an audience for the consummation of the marriage through the joys of the Internet and modern media. It could be televised on Channel 9.

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    73. Jeff Payne

      PhD in Political Science and Masters in Public Policy

      In reply to Robert Molyneux

      Maybe I've got too vivid an imagination Robert but now I've got Gina and James in action with commentary etched in my mind. Let's just say It's not pleasant. Thanks a lot mate.

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    74. Robert Molyneux

      Citizen at Drehmex Sales and Services

      In reply to Jeff Payne

      Jeff,
      Imagine the wedding party driving to the wedding in some of Gina's giant Tonka Toys, running over any mere mortals' cars in the way. And James' giant phallic Casino in Darling Harbour could be "personalised" to make its origin even more obvious. A "selfie" to end all selfies.

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    75. Jeff Payne

      PhD in Political Science and Masters in Public Policy

      In reply to Graham Bell

      What about His Royal Highness Shane Warne? I could just see him walk out on a newly constructed balcony that protrudes from the flag tower of parliament. His crown glowing under the bright Canberra sun. His purple robes trailing behind. Warnie's nose and upper lip covered in a solid layer of pink zinc. "I declare", he says in his own version of the Australian drawl, "this parliament open." At least he could give the politics of the day a positive spin!

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    76. Robert Molyneux

      Citizen at Drehmex Sales and Services

      In reply to Robert Molyneux

      BTW - You referred to the Australia Act 1985 (UK), which is apparently much the same as the Australia Act 1986 (Australia). I can see why you chose the former, but I prefer the latter..

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    77. Robert Molyneux

      Citizen at Drehmex Sales and Services

      In reply to Jeff Payne

      Don't be silly!
      We need pageantry to match the English.
      My suggestion about Gina's giant Tonka Toys is to match the British military hardware.
      We need suitable ceremonies to replace boring stuff like the Usher of The Black Rod banging on doors.
      I might accept Shane Warne bowling a golden ball at a large gong as a way of opening "A Match".
      The Speaker would be renamed "The Ref". Players / MPs would be declared "Off Side" and shown Yellow and Red Cards according to the level of seriousness of their offences. Catcalls of "No Ball" would be permitted for Christopher Pyne's puerile statements.
      There would be a large screen in Parliament with instant replays of telling remarks, with synthesised groans and cheers to cover up for the lack of attendance of the COAL whenever Scott Ludlam speaks.

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    78. Gayle Kenny

      University Liaison

      In reply to Robert Molyneux

      Don't even go there. Not even the most ardent and brainless follower of celebrity goings on would be able to watch that.

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    79. Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      Constitutionalist

      In reply to Jane Middlemist

      That is why we need a Royal Commission into the unconstitutional invasion into Iraq. I have worked for more than a decade to get material together to submit to a Royal commission as I view proving that John Howard and co. committed crimes against humanity, war crimes, mass murder, etc, and so why not have a Royal Commission? Still, even with such Royal commission I do not hold that Cabinet documents should be released. After all there were at various times "responsible Ministers" as Minister of defence…

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    80. Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      Constitutionalist

      In reply to Robert Molyneux

      As the Framers of the Constitution refused specifically to give the Commonwealth of Australia any legislative powers to define/declare "citizenship" (including Australian citizenship" then any legislation in that regard is and remains ULTRA VIRES. I submitted this in the 19 July 2006 litigation against the Commonwealth and they didn't challenge me on these matters at all. And again my appeals were upheld! I maintain we remained to be "subjects of the British Crown, and not even a s128 referendum can change this!

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    81. Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      Constitutionalist

      In reply to Graham Bell

      Why are so many people on this Aboriginal issue? We should consider all Australians equal regardless of race, colour, etc.
      And, to have a Australian monarchy or republic or whatever then the only way is to get rid of the British constitution we now are under.

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    82. Robert Molyneux

      Citizen at Drehmex Sales and Services

      In reply to Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      My proposal to have Aborigines having Senators in the Senate would require a change in the Australian constitution.
      I am perfectly well aware that the current Senate is supposed to reflect the States and to be a house of review - and that it is now corrupted to represent the political parties..

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    83. Robert Molyneux

      Citizen at Drehmex Sales and Services

      In reply to Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      This is nonsense.
      The British people in 1989 were fixated on British citizens, with various religious, xenophobic and racist views behind some of their opinions and arguments.
      The Australian citizens after 1902 are perfectly capable of developing their own views, including issues such as citizens versus aliens / non-citizens.
      To claim that Australian citizens can only considers matters set out by the British before 1900 is just nonsensical. Major issues such as taxation, conscription, communism... have been included in referenda.
      I suppose you could claim that these referenda are invalid - NOT.

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    84. Jane Middlemist

      citizen

      In reply to Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      Thank you, Mr Schorel-Hlavka, for your reply. I have been following this conversation with interest and would be very pleased to see a royal commission examining our government's decision to join the invasion into Iraq.
      I never believed the reasons given at the time and I thought it more likely to be about oil and a desire of the US to 'have a base' in the region at a time when, according to news reports, the US was being asked to vacate its base in Kuwait.
      I have never tried to follow the labarynthine…

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    85. Peter Horan

      Retired

      In reply to Gayle Kenny

      It happened on Blair's watch, and being power hungry and believing in himself, he made sure that he got the credit in peoples' memories.

      As for Clinton, he was very cautious about Kosovo, but Blair did not put the brakes on GWB when he could have done. His belief that he could shape history for the better may well have allowed Iraq to happen.

      Anyway, my comment is about power and the blindness it creates in the present Federal Government. Apart from power itself, group-think is also an issue. They are blind to the consequences of their actions, in this case by releasing cabinet papers.

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    86. Graham Bell

      Scrap-heaped War Veteran

      In reply to Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      It's not so much everybody jumping on to the Aboriginal issue as it is Applied Non-Harmful Tokenism. Rather an alternative to all the damage done to Aborigines over two centuries by a weird assortment of do-badders, religious nuts, the survival-of-the-fattest crowd, kid-stealers, dodgy academics and every other well(??)-intentioned loony in the place.

      What's wrong with a bit of tokenism? Didn't that happen when the English got a family of very dodgy Scots to take over. Wasn't it tokenism to hire that Dutchman to run them? As for the Hannoverian kings, if that wasn't tokenism, what was? (Maybe they would have been better off making Yemelyan Pugachev their king; now there's a thought ....)

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    87. Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      Constitutionalist

      In reply to Graham Bell

      to me it is like it is shoved down my throat. when I resided in The Netherlands, we didn't shove down the throats of others that we had a 1000 old family crest of a guardian angle, etc. We just accepted those who came to The Netherlands when they assimilated.
      I see absolutely no justification to discriminate against any person on grounds that he/she may be not of Aboriginal descent even so born in Australia. The Framers of the Constitution held that for federal purposes Aboriginals were all the…

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    88. Ken Alderton

      PhD student, former CEO

      In reply to Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      You are playing semantics. The intentions of the delegates of the contitutional convention (you dragged in the parliamentarians unasked by me) are not law. What No one was ever sanctioned by acting contrary to the "intentions of the delegates of the contitutional convention" They are used by judges to as aid in the interpretation of the written Constitution. judges have use the provisions of other Constitutions and other constitutions as similar aids. It is the judges that make the decisions that make the enforcable laws.
      What you introduced was evidence based on what the delegeate said not law laid down as precedent. The judge made the decision based on all the evidence including yours.
      Even in the case of ordinary legislation the parliament may write the law but it is the courts that make the decisions about what the parliament intended.

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    89. Graham Bell

      Scrap-heaped War Veteran

      In reply to Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      No indeed, my suggestion is that "Australia's Head Of State and Monarch shall ever be a person who has one ancestor born in Australia prior to the Year of Our Lord, 1788".

      Anyone can call that tokenism, of course - but if it is, then it is a beneficial one and, hopefully, an inspiring and unifying one too..

      Apart from that, I heartily agree that each and every Australian must have equal standing and equal opportunities..

      I had to chuckle when you mentioned your family's long heritage. Most…

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    90. Robert Molyneux

      Citizen at Drehmex Sales and Services

      In reply to Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      Aborigines have lived here for 40,000 years, so their claim is quite well established.
      Before federation, most of the states prevented them from registering and voting.
      In 1902 Aborigines were excluded from voting.
      In 1962 the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 was amended to extend universal adult suffrage to Aboriginal people.
      In 1983 the Act was emended to make enrolment for and voting in federal elections compulsory for Indigenous people as it is for other Australians.
      During the .debate in 1902, Isaac Isaacs stated he thought Aborigines "have not the intelligence, interest or capacity to vote", and HB Higgens thought it " utterly inappropriate....[to] . ask them to exercise an intelligent vote".
      Isaac Isaacs, as a Jew, was subjected to a fair bit of religious prejudice.
      Quite simply, your claim that our forefathers did not discriminate against Aboriginal (or any other people with a touch of melanin) is completely fatuous.

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    91. Robert Molyneux

      Citizen at Drehmex Sales and Services

      In reply to Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      As far as land is concerned, Aboriginal title means that a (large) parcel of land is handed over to a (large) group of Aborigines. If you want to build a business, banks want land / real estate as surety. It is hard to get a deal between a bank and lots of people, involving a mortgage over part of an undivided parcel of land.
      As far as identity is concerned, given the widespread prejudice held against Aborigines, it is quite brave to self-identify - unless of course you are trying to get into a land deal or handout somewhere, I hear you cry.
      As far as non-citizens living outside Australia, we reserve the right to kill them. So I suppose they are special.
      As far as Tasmanians Aborigines are concerned, given the genocide practiced against them, I suggest you step back a little from your claim that no-one could find them.

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    92. Robert Molyneux

      Citizen at Drehmex Sales and Services

      In reply to Graham Bell

      Terms like "blackfella" (black person) and "niger" (Latin - black) corrupted to "nigger" are (maybe) OK when adopted by the people affected. For example if you watch US fiction, you will see American Negroes calling each other "nigger" more or less affectionately, but it is EXTREMELY not done for a white person.
      When Muhammad Ali came to Australia, he was interviewed by Bert Newton who insisted on calling him "boy". Fortunately Ali recognised that poor Bert was innocent of trying to insult him.
      Years ago while camping I offered some cheese to an Aboriginal friend. She asked what sort it was, to which I replied "Coon". She laughed and said it was just the sort she liked.
      Sticks and stones - but it is not true, they do hurt.

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    93. Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      Constitutionalist

      In reply to Ken Alderton

      Ken, you are partly right. The judges do not make decisions what the Framers of any law (including the constitution) intended rather they are adjudicating upon what they view was the intention of the framers of any law. That is why at times they revisit the same and overrule their past decision when they discover they had it wrong. If judges were to decide the intention of the Framers then that would be the end of it. Again, they adjudicate upon what they view was the intention and do not decide…

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    94. Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      Constitutionalist

      In reply to Graham Bell

      Graham, as I recall many years ago there was this issue that a person had referred to an Aboriginal as a "blackfella" and this was deemed racist. when then an Aboriginal referred to a person as a "white fella" then it was argued that it was not racist because the person was wearing a white coat.
      The Dutch shipwrecked (about 70 men) in Western Australia in the 1627's and integrated with the Aboriginals. So when you refer to anyone born in Australia prior to 1788, then obviously you have no issue with the Dutch and their descendants. :)
      After all Dutch common law came into Australia (then New Holland) with the ship's captain and so other Dutch law.
      For the record one of the 70 men took charge to row back from Western Australia, and made it back. Later, he was again shipwrecked on the Western Australia coast and again got back with a row boar to Indonesia (then Batavia). Now that was a mighty effort .

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    95. Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      Constitutionalist

      In reply to Robert Molyneux

      Robert, what Isaac Isaacs or Higgins may have commented upon after federation was merely his own views and cannot determine the intentions of the Framers of the constitution.
      Hansard 2-3-1898 Constitution Convention Debates
      QUOTE
      Clause 120-In reckoning the numbers of the people of a State or other part of the Commonwealth aboriginal natives shall not be counted.
      Dr. COCKBURN: As a general principle I think this is quite right. But in this colony, and I suppose in some of the other colonies…

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    96. Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      Constitutionalist

      In reply to Robert Molyneux

      Robert, as for your statement "As far as non-citizens living outside Australia, we reserve the right to kill them." it seems to me you want it both ways. On the one and you want the benefits of the taxpayers to fund Aboriginals but on the other hand you hold they are non-citizens and seek to justify this as a right to kill them.
      I recall a group of Aboriginals at St Kilda having their campfire. I used to drive to the city and get them fire wood. I used to stay with them for hours with one of my…

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    97. Ken Alderton

      PhD student, former CEO

      In reply to Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      You are again playing with words. No one, you included, can say positively what the "Framers" intended. Everybody, including you, 'adjudicates' upon " what they view was the intention of the framers of any law"
      The reason that most previous rulings are overruled is because the judges reflect the 'times' in which they give their decisions. The views of what the framers 'intended' is not fixed and immutable. They change with time and interpretations change with them.
      Do you mean to say in all the High Court constitutional decisions between 1901 and 1981 no refererence was ever made to the intention of the framers of the Constutution? Being a skeptic I have the suspicion you have made this statement with the full knowledge that no one is going to check up on you and it is impossible to prove a negative wihtout a search of 80 years of decisions.
      For all practical purposes, the Constituiton at any one time is what the Justices of the High Court say it is.

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    98. Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      Constitutionalist

      In reply to Ken Alderton

      Ken,
      firstly, if I were to have made it up, as you refer to, then the High Court of Australia so to say would come down onto me like a ton of bricks for scandalising the court. In particular where I not just published my books but also personally provided the High Court of Australia with various copies.
      As I quote what the Framers of the Constitution stated, and this is published by the Commonwealth of Australia, then you can verify that it was actually stated by them. In fact some judges did…

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    99. Ken Alderton

      PhD student, former CEO

      In reply to Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      "firstly, if I were to have made it up, as you refer to, then the High Court of Australia so to say would come down onto me like a ton of bricks for scandalising the court."
      I don't recall I said anywhere that you made something up. I'm not sure exactly to what you are referring but if it is that "the High Court of Australia for about 80 years banned the usage of the Hansard records" then the High Court would not have been scandalised but would presumably have asked you, like i am, to prove it.
      "All decisions by the High Court of Australia, regardless when made, can be revisited and can be overruled." I have already agreed this is so but have only differed on why they are overuled.
      I cannot see how any of the rest of your comments relate to those that I have put forward.

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    100. Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      Constitutionalist

      In reply to Ken Alderton

      I quote what you stated
      QUOTE
      Being a skeptic I have the suspicion you have made this statement with the full knowledge that no one is going to check up on you and it is impossible to prove a negative wihtout a search of 80 years of decisions.
      END QUOTE
      As I made clear I have set out my research about certain past High Court of Australia decisions in my books that have been published and do not expect me to cramp this all in a post.
      therefore the prove is on record and if you go to the Australian…

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    101. Robert Molyneux

      Citizen at Drehmex Sales and Services

      In reply to Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      The comments by Isaacs were made in 1902, soon after the Constitution Conference of 1898. Without checking, I guess that Isaacs was involved with the latter at the time, before entering the new Parliament. Thus his words might give an insight as to what was in the minds of very intelligent and educated men at the time, including "the greatest of all purposes, the regulation of the inflow of population so as to secure a white Australia".

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    102. Ken Alderton

      PhD student, former CEO

      In reply to Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      Just quote a case before the High Court in which the decision of the Court or comment of a judge was equivalent to : "the High Court...banned the usage of the Hansard records" . I can look it up.

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    103. Robert Molyneux

      Citizen at Drehmex Sales and Services

      In reply to Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      I think you should read my words more carefully.
      Generally the citizens of a country receive the protection of the State, except for vicious perversions that arise from time to time, not just in Nazi Germany. Non-citizens, on the other hand, do not receive protection, except for virtuous States that recognise the humanity of us all - as Australia used to do.
      Our founding fathers were rather racist and xenophobic, as shown by the quotes you and I have posted. They wrestled with the problem of having…

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    104. Ken Alderton

      PhD student, former CEO

      In reply to Robert Molyneux

      One "intention" of the framers that has seen its 'time' and is now ignored by the High Court

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    105. Robert Molyneux

      Citizen at Drehmex Sales and Services

      In reply to Ken Alderton

      Remember that Hansard recorded the 1898 Constitutional debate - so the High Court might simply have declined to trawl through these over and over again when interpreting the glowing prose that ended up in the Constitution - sticking with the final statement, rather than the meanderings that preceded it. And quite right too!

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    106. Robert Molyneux

      Citizen at Drehmex Sales and Services

      In reply to Robert Molyneux

      I should note that in the NT, police and emergency services are integrated, so that the 1:450 might misrepresent policing levels.

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    107. Jack Arnold

      Polymath

      In reply to Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      Uhm ... demurrer here .... my reading of the 1890s Proceedings found that Aboriginals were specifically excluded from Australian citizenship after Federation. Indeed, the HIgh Court confirmed this in about 1905 with the Isaacs CJ decision permitting the disenfranchisement of South Australian Aborigines who were given the vote simultaneously with women in 1892.

      Similarly, at Federation (1901) non-Indigenous women in all states were given the vote for the first time.

      Note that women's franchise in the USA only dates from about 1927.

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    108. Jack Arnold

      Polymath

      In reply to Robert Molyneux

      Uhm .. demurrer here ... the Liberal dummy Senator Neville Bonner, an Aboriginal man, sat in Federal Parliament, can't remember the dates.

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    109. Jack Arnold

      Polymath

      In reply to Peter Horan

      No, no, no Peter ... eve the Americans now acknowledge that Iraq was all about supply of oil for the US multinational oil corporations. Shrubya Bush even allowed the US taxpayer financed invasion to fund huge arms manufacturing while preventing corporate profits made in Iraq from being taxed in the USA.

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    110. Jack Arnold

      Polymath

      In reply to Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      No Gerrit, Isaac Isaacs, later High Court CJ, successfully and strongly that aborigines were "lower than chimpanzees" and unfit to be considered Australian citizens. Isaacs was a strange Jewish lawyer from Beechworth Victoria who profited considerably from attending the later Conventions.

      Indeed, it might be claimed that Isaacs was responsible for the subsequent policies of state sponsored genocide that prevailed in Australia until 1975.

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    111. Jack Arnold

      Polymath

      In reply to Robert Molyneux

      Thank you Robert for your contribution here.

      But how could the Commonwealth Election Act (1918) extend universal suffrage to Aborigines when the 1901 Australian Constitution specifically excluded Aborigines from citizenship?

      Oh silly me ... no Australians knew the Australian Constitution because it was held in London until the 1980s and copies in AUstralia were exceedingly rare, even in Law Schools.

      Indeed, the New England State Movement push for a separate state in Northern NSW was frustrated by the threat to exclude milk production in the Lower Hunter Valley from the Sydney Milk Zone, contrary to the provisions of s92 allowing free trade between states.

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    112. Jack Arnold

      Polymath

      In reply to Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      Gerrit, so what is your take on the International Harvester case, won against the odds by Menzies, and entrenching Commonwealth precedence over states rights which is quite the reverse of the intention of the Framers of our Constitution?

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    113. Peter Horan

      Retired

      In reply to Jack Arnold

      Had Blair said no, GWB would have had a much tougher time convincing others. Probably Bush convinced Blair and he could not resist because of belief in his infallibility to fix things.

      Of course it was about oil, but not only about it. I did not say it wasn't. I was talking about the motives of the politicians. How venal their actions are - but I say to myself, "There but for the Grace of God go I" - would I be any better in their shoes?. "The road to hell is paved with good intentions" - short term solutions seem good, but lead us downhill. "Power corrupts" and that is interesting. Unless we believe that power changes people, we cannot understand them, and we think they are stupid or greedy or blind or ... We need to know and understand that winning changes people and warn those that are not yet corrupted that they are playing with fire.

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    114. Jack Arnold

      Polymath

      In reply to Robert Molyneux

      Thanks for the link Robert, Bonner sat in Parliament after the 1969 referendum gave Aborigines citizenship in their own country after decades of being non- citizens counted under the various state Flora & Fauna Acts.

      The demurrer was about Isaacs intent ... my reading suggested a desire by Isaacs to claim that Aborigines were not human beings and so should be excluded as citizens of Australia.

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    115. Graham Bell

      Scrap-heaped War Veteran

      In reply to Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      So the Governor-General after the next one, recently announced, may well be - allowing for a bit of Constitutional reform and for applying my selection criterion in the meantime - His Excellency, Tommy K. van der Merwe-Billabong? Well, there you go. At least he wouldn't disenfranchise South Australian Aborigines as did Sir Isaac Isaacs nor would he imitate the Duke of Gloucester's "distinctive(??)" manner of delivering an after-dinner speech. :-)

      Wonder if anyone has actually tried to assert 17th century Dutch Common Law here - if not yet, then it might be time to give the born-losers' end of Collins Street a shake-up. :-)

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    116. Graham Bell

      Scrap-heaped War Veteran

      In reply to Jack Arnold

      Hey. Fair crack of the whip! Never forget that Senator Neville Bonner had the guts to stand up and insist that every pensioner had the right to a decent basic funeral. I saw him later too, after the deadwood and the fuddy-duddies in the Liberal Party gave him the flick, and he was certainly no dummy; he was very much his own man.

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    117. Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      Constitutionalist

      In reply to Robert Molyneux

      Robert, we have gone a bit of track from the issue Malcolm Fraser referred to and I might call it the day on this issue other then to post a final statement which I view is what really should be the issue regarding "any" commissioner, being it a Royal Commission or otherwise.
      As I stated previously I have numerous people pursuing their kind of constitution all to favour their special interest against others. This we cannot have as then we may end up with millions of different constitutions.
      While…

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    118. Robert Molyneux

      Citizen at Drehmex Sales and Services

      In reply to Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      Hi Gerrit,
      A very courteous post, thank you. I have found your posts very interesting, and they have inspired me to drag out my wife's copy of Blackshield and Williams Australian Constitutional Law and Theory - all 1417 pages of small print.
      I think it is a bit harsh to dismiss Native Title http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Native_title_in_Australia. I think Eddie Mabo and Paul Keating achieved a huge change in this regard. That is, they moved on from voting to battling for real change.

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    119. Graham Bell

      Scrap-heaped War Veteran

      In reply to Robert Molyneux

      Way, way off topic but - the unrecognized implication of what Eddie Mabo did was to give every citizen the right to call some place "Home" - and that was of benefit to all Australians, regardless of creed, class or race.

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  27. Jane Middlemist

    citizen

    Reading the history of 'cabinet confidentiality' via the link in the article, it seems to me that this is a highly respected convention which has stood the test of time (until recently) to ensure that ministers in cabinet discussions can speak frankly, secure in the knowledge that most likely, cabinet papers will remain completely private for 30 years.
    Malcolm Fraser points out that nothing substantial will come out of the RC other than the hoped for embarrassment of the ALP. Meanwhile it is expensive…

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    1. Ken Alderton

      PhD student, former CEO

      In reply to Jane Middlemist

      You can never tell where a Royal Commission will end up. There are two distinct outcomes from such public enquiries. The first and most obvious outcome is the findings of the Commission. But the second outcome arises from the media treatment of the evidence as it comes out, particularly from an enquiry with such strong political overtones.
      The government may find that some of its strongest supporters particularly in Queensland might be severely embarrassed by the second outcome. They might start to reflect on the 'soundness' of Abbotts et. al.

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    2. Jack Arnold

      Polymath

      In reply to Jane Middlemist

      "It seems more likely that Mr Abbott has a simple urge to destroy everything that has happened since 2007".

      Jane, I am reminded that the Cambodian Pol Pot regime restarted the calendar to recognise their rise to genocidal power supported by the USA. Then, I seem to remember the burning of the books (featuring in a recent movie) in Nazi Germany that was funded by five USA banks including banker Prescott Bush, progenitor of two US Presidents.

      The work of the Spanish Inquisition should not be overlooked because they are a marvellous model for Abbott style fascism.

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    3. Jane Middlemist

      citizen

      In reply to Ken Alderton

      'They might start to reflect on the 'soundness' of Abbotts et. al.'
      Thanks, Ken. I hope you're right.

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    4. Jane Middlemist

      citizen

      In reply to Jack Arnold

      Thanks Jack for those alarming words! I do remember being horrified by the book-burnings and also when I first learned about the inquisition. How barbaric, and how primitive our 'civilisations' still are in some ways.
      I didn't know that GW Bush had such illustrious - not - ancestors tho' knew about his dad of course, and also his delightful brother, Jeb, previously, Governor of Florida and who fixed the votes in Florida for Georgie boy). And only the foggiest notions about Pol Pot. Don't know that TA needed a model for fascism, he went to school at St Ignatius College for boys.
      Nuff said…

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  28. Allan Gardiner

    Dr

    Malcolm, whilst it may be but a long-standing principle in Australian politics that incoming governments should not seek to use confidential cabinet discussions to embarrass and/or lead to the prosecution of their opponents, there's something that has stood for far longer than has Australian politics, not to mention [since we're supposed to be keeping things secret, but are seen to fail miserably in the process] many other things besides, and it's simply that "nothing lasts forever", which in itself…

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    1. Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      Constitutionalist

      In reply to Allan Gardiner

      It seems to me you make a cardinal error. You are going on about a Cabinet decision but as I have explained before that the Cabinet decision it totally irrelevant to the legal accountability of the "responsible Minister". For all I know Cabinet may decide to annex China as a colony of the Commonwealth of Australia but that doesn't mean it will eventuate. Cabinet itself has no constitutional powers. It is merely like a group of people being it home owners, etc, which decide to get together to try to come to some consensus in a decision but in the end every home owner will still be legally accountable for whatever decision he may or may not make such as not paying rates. Therefore, if the "responsible Minister" is a weakling without back bone and allows Cabinet to dictate him/her then nevertheless in the end the "responsible Minister" is and remains responsible.

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    2. Ken Alderton

      PhD student, former CEO

      In reply to Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      Why don't you face politcal reality. Minisiters can be fired at the drop of a hat. The first miinsister to defy the Cabinet of any party would become an instant non Minister. That's how the system works and until the Justices of the High Court say otherwise it is constituitonal. No matter how much you may disagree with their decisions the same Justices are collectively the sole arbiters of what is constitutional or not.

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    3. Robert Molyneux

      Citizen at Drehmex Sales and Services

      In reply to Ken Alderton

      Actually, I'm with Gerrit regarding Ministerial Responsibility. He has also pointed out the idea of the Justices being the arbiters of what is constitutional..
      The political reality is another matter. I suspect that Rudd micromanaged Garrett as he saw the Home Insulation program coming unstuck, and Garrett reacted against this - hence the bad blood between them.
      Whether Garrett, his political advisers and his departmental heavies in the City of Sheltered Workshops did everything they ought to have…

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    4. Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      Constitutionalist

      In reply to Ken Alderton

      Ken you are wrong in until the High Court of Australia say otherwise because it got nothing to do with the High Court of Australia. If Cabinet decides a fellow Minister has to go then they can advise the Governor-General-in-council about this. And if I were a Minister and placed with the choice to unconstitutionally and so illegally act or lose my portfolio then I rather choose the latter. If however I prefer to hold on to be a Minister then well I must face the legal consequences.
      If you have a…

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    5. Ken Alderton

      PhD student, former CEO

      In reply to Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      Cutting through all the verbage to the essence. The High Court is relevent because it is they, and only they, who would decide whether a Minister or the collection of Ministers called the Cabinet has acted or is acting contrary to the law or Constitution.
      In practice Cabinet has the same membership as the Federal Council so in effect the Cabinet advises the GG.

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    6. Allan Gardiner

      Dr

      In reply to Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      As you so rightly say, "For all I know Cabinet may decide...", but your cardinal error is that you've bypassed the necessity of the public's being privy to every important *discussion* concerning the nation's welfare, discussions that'll always precede any decisions [good or bad] likely being made. Well-known is it that:

      "You'll have The Devil's own job trying to get them to change their minds now that they've actually made a decision."

      Given that Australia is supposed to a democracy then the…

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    7. Allan Gardiner

      Dr

      In reply to Robert Molyneux

      Speaking of nasty things being 'made', the making of quite dastardly decisions, resulting from Cabinet having first had nefarious discussions in camera, is no different at all to when the mafia 'makes' itself a new member who's then entitled to think of himself as now being a 'made' man, a law unto himself where every poor pleb on the street's concerned, not unlike how many a known politician thinks of themself, but if it later turns out that he really is "the law" and the mob evidently never succeeded in grinding him down slowly with a proper grilling from the beginning...then they'll make mincemeat of him as they slip him some skin.

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    8. Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      Constitutionalist

      In reply to Allan Gardiner

      Allan, suppose you were a Minister and the "responsible minister' provides you with fraudulent details, but this is not done within the Cabinet meeting, and you end up making comments during a cabinet meeting to support a certain conduct/action based upon what you were (albeit deceptive) briefed by the "responsible minister". Why would you question the integrity of the Minister? Would you really be able to sit in a Cabinet meeting questioning every minor or other details to establish if the "responsible Minister" told you the truth? So, you support a certain decision and this is what then is recorded with any comments you make, and then for the record you would be held accountable and no one may be the wiser you relied on false/misleading information.
      the "responsible Minister" may have likewise misled others also and then blame everyone else but himself/herself. Again, I see absolutely no justification for disclosure of Cabinet documentation.

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  29. Graham Bell

    Scrap-heaped War Veteran

    CASCADING RESPONSIBILITY might seem an attractive alternative to the impractical present system that a Minister must know everything that is happening in her or his portfolio 24/7. It might look attractive since most Ministers are appointed to specific portfolios for factional reasons (on both sides) and not for any interest, understanding or expertise of that portfolio.

    One example of the flaws in Cascading Responsibility comes from the Imperial Japanese occupation of South East Asia. Imperial Japanese officer gets into trouble so he slaps the face of a senior NCO - who slaps the face of a junior NCO - who slaps the face of a private soldier so hard he is knocked to the ground - who then beats the living daylights out of the first Chinese local who is unlucky enough to pass by. Yes, Cascading Responsibility MIGHT work but only if it is thoroughly planned and carefully implemented.

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    1. Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      Constitutionalist

      In reply to Graham Bell

      Cascading responsibility is not applicable in our constitutional framework. As the Framers of the Constitution made clear that ultimately one person must be responsible and that is the "responsible Minister". As I have set out previously, it is his management that is relevant. If he lacked in management then he/she must take full responsibility.

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    2. Graham Bell

      Scrap-heaped War Veteran

      In reply to Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      So then, it would take an amendment to The Constitution to attain achievable responsibility in a Minister, good or bad.

      Hmmm. That would be very difficult.

      There must be some practical way to overcome the unreasonable assumption that a Minister has to know everything that happens in her or his portfolio - a practical way that does NOT reward incompetence, wilful ignorance, laziness or blame-shifting in a Minister - nor one that does not unfairly punish a Minister for what is manifestly the wrong-doing of subordinates; especially for deliberately misleading a Minister.

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    3. Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      Constitutionalist

      In reply to Graham Bell

      Graham, if a Minister manage his department well then he/she can avoid most of the problems now eventuating. But in general they are too busy pursuing photo opportunities then being on the job.
      You ought to understand that while politicians may argue political issues, a Minister is appointed to run department not just for his/.her political followers but for all people regardless of their political, if any, affiliations. If we do not attribute to a "responsible minister' any responsibilities then why have them at all, as after all generally there are department heads (public servants) running the show. And this is the real problem, that ministers generally tend to disregard their responsibilities and then blame whomever, where as they are the "responsible Minister".

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    4. Graham Bell

      Scrap-heaped War Veteran

      In reply to Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      Perhaps once a Parliamentarian becomes a Minister, they should be made to relinquish ALL their other duties, parliamentary or party or ornamental, other than as the Senator for a certain State or Federal Member for a certain Electorate.

      Since the business of being a Minister is so serious and so important, then they must be undistracted and unhindered.

      No more opening flower shows, no more dinners with the President of the North Kerguelen Republic, no more committee work, no more fishing trips thinly disguised as "maritime research", nothing!. Absolutely nothing! Except attending sittings of Parliament, attending to constituents needs in their home office several hours a month - and Ministerial duties, more Ministerial duties and even more Ministerial duties.

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  30. Graham Bell

    Scrap-heaped War Veteran

    G-G / MONARCH'S INDEPENDENCE: Not sure where I should have chimed in on the last 14 hours' discussion - so blow it, I'll just chuck it in here.

    We do need a Governor-General or Monarch with a lot more authority, discretion and independence than we have in Australia at present - but without all of the self-inflicted problems the Americans have with their overly-powerful Presidents and certainly without a return to the bad old days of the Regency and George IV. Can this happen without a referendum to change The Constitution?

    Anyone with a spare truckload of the Wisdom Of Solomon is invited to drop it off here - please!!

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    1. Gayle Kenny

      University Liaison

      In reply to Graham Bell

      Do you think that the Presidency is really that powerful? President Obama has found it quite difficult to deliver all those 'hopey changey' (Sarah Palin) things he promised. Why, if he is so powerful? Seems to me that the Industrial Military complex/Wall Street is the power that needs to be challenged. Democracy in the USA seems to be a toothless tiger. And the Constitution is being re-written. Who is supposed to protect the Constitution? Could that constitutional re-writing happen here?

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    2. Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      Constitutionalist

      In reply to Graham Bell

      Our constitution is very powerful but we have really nothing to enforce it. The High Court of Australia in my view has betrayed us, the people by failing to uphold the true meaning and application of the constitution to so to say serve their political masters.
      And politicians while appointed because we have a constitution basically are turning their back to it the moment they are in a position of power unless it can serve their goals.

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    3. Graham Bell

      Scrap-heaped War Veteran

      In reply to Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      You are right about there being nothing much to enforce The Constitution. The High Court is about as useless as an ashtray on a motorbike and just as out-of-date. When it comes to The Constitution it moves at the velocity of frozen molasses on an incline of less than one degree - I'm all for taking plenty of time to reach wise decisions but its long-drawn-out decisions sometimes seem to me to be (how should I put it?) 'quaint' or 'surprising'. Trouble is, what mechanisms could be put in to replace the High Court that would be immune to the influences and abuses of power and money?

      Let's have a new Constitution - an incorruptible body to enforce its provisions - and then a completely new and effective means of ensuring accountability and responsibility.

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    4. Graham Bell

      Scrap-heaped War Veteran

      In reply to Gayle Kenny

      Yes Gayle but the U.S. President has infinitely more discretion and influence than does either Queen Elizabeth II or the Australian Governors-General.

      Obama has only to worry about the Military-Industrial Complex and the Wall Street scoundrels - we here have those as well as investors warned off the Shenzhen Stock Exchange and one step ahead of a severe "headache", the re-cycled Soviet Nomenklatura, Yakuza-in-fine-suits, bigger bushrangers than Ned Kelly, Sheik Shaitan and his merry bunch of opiate and amphetamine merchants, Dick Turpin incarnate and every other crook on the planet.

      Oh for the simplicity of the good old days when all you had to do was to hand a dodgy Minister a paper-bag full of used ten-pound notes, smile and then favourable bills would be draughted or profitable decisions made. Nowadays, you have to compete with all these other crooks.

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    5. Peter Horan

      Retired

      In reply to Graham Bell

      Alistair Mant wrote a book mid-nineties called "Intelligent Leadership". A particular point he made was that having a third party who was not directly involved to which two protagonists were answerable improved the quality of leadership. It is about Australian leaders from various walks of life - a school principal, William Hudson of the Snowy Mountains Authority, Robert Clifford of Incat Tasmania, etc. Worth a read. See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hHeZHSUaoSc

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    6. Graham Bell

      Scrap-heaped War Veteran

      In reply to Peter Horan

      Thanks a lot for the links, Peter, shall watch later when free of distractions.

      Thought "Leadership" was a criminal offence in Australia .... mainly because it was in direct competition with the immensely successful philosophy of "I'm the Boss. I do all the thinking - you're not allowed to!"

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  31. Lynne Newington

    Researcher

    I've just caught up with this "Conversation" and Tony Abbot's sinister act of directing all papers be made available to the royal commissioner without the knowledge of the attorney general speaks volumes about his integrity.
    Let's hope it comes back to bite him on the backside causing him to back down, as with his good pal and adviser Cardinal George Pell soon to front up before the royal commision into abuse whereby he is under scrutiny over the Ellis case, a lawyer who as a child was abused by his parish priest and treated abominably by Pell and his cohorts.
    Apples never fall far from the tree, spiritual or otherwise.

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    1. Graham Bell

      Scrap-heaped War Veteran

      In reply to Lynne Newington

      Unfortunately for Tony Abbott, his threat to reveal Cabinet discussions far too soon before their due date for public release has already come back to bite him.

      Not only has he made full-and-frank discussions retreat to hidden places - and have them replaced by play-acting - but he has also cast serious doubt on his own ability to handle complex issues and political strategies (as opposed to political tactics). Not a good look at all for someone wishing to remain Prime Minister longer than the fortnight after the 2014 Budget.

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  32. Graham Bell

    Scrap-heaped War Veteran

    I'm surprised. This discussion is still going. Could it be that the participants refuse to become apathetic about things that have been worked out only after decades and centuries of very painful experience?

    Earlier, I suggested an Office Of Vigiles - under the direct control of the Governor-General - to ensure Ministers and Senior Public Servants do act in the best interests of the whole citizenry and act to a standard matching their pay (or pelf?).

    Now that I've heard about all our kindness…

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    1. Peter Horan

      Retired

      In reply to Graham Bell

      The discussion has kept going because it covers constitutional matters, characters of the protagonists, the Australian condition, plots and counter plots, lobbyists with the politician's ear, leadership and management, power and its corrosive effects - what more does Will Shakespeare want?

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    2. Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      Constitutionalist

      In reply to Graham Bell

      Graham, fort many years, and so also published in my books in the INSPECTOR-RIKATI® series on certain constitutional and other legal issues I have been canvassing the "OFFICE-OF-THE-GUARDIAN" (Don't forget the hyphens!) a constitutional council under direct authority of the Governor-General, that advises the Government, the People, the Parliament and the Courts as to the true application and meaning of the constitution. Which office also could pursue enforcement of constitutional matters before the courts without citizens having to do so at their own peril.
      currently politicians are fattening themselves more and more and basically no one to stop them.

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  33. Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

    Constitutionalist

    I anticipate this to be my final post to this subject and for this provide a copy of my submission to the Royal Commission in full. (6 pages) but which is really what I view Malcolm Fraser and others seemed to ignore.
    We are constantly subjected to all kind of investigations by Royal Commissions or otherwise with so called coercive powers and it is time if such extensive powers really exist! that I view is a critical issue that has been too often overlooked, as most people assume that whatever powers…

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    1. Robert Molyneux

      Citizen at Drehmex Sales and Services

      In reply to Gerrit Hendrik Schorel-Hlavka O.W.B.

      Gerrit, my friend, you must get used to quoting The Australia Act 1986 (Cth) and read up on it.
      See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australia_Act_1986
      I hope you don't mind me saying so, but I assume that you as a Dutchman have been naturalized as an Australian citizen, or you would not be able to carry out the various activities you have described. This rather undermines the idea that the Commonwealth does not have any standing, does it not?

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  34. Graham Bell

    Scrap-heaped War Veteran

    Way back on 4th March, Malcolm Fraser asked " What is the purpose of this royal commission? I know it was promised before the election, but the question still remains, for what purpose?"

    Answer 1: A job-creation scheme for (fellow) lawyers?
    Answer 2: A substitute for wise policy?
    Answer 3: A diversion - so the public will be too busy looking at the Roaring Circus to notice what important changed are being sneaked in?
    Answer 4: Revenge and spite?
    Answer 5: No purpose whatsoever - like many policies and decisions?
    Answer 6: Possession by demons and witches?

    Sorry, I've no idea what the real purpose is or should be. Anyone else know? ....

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    1. Janeen Harris

      chef

      In reply to Graham Bell

      I could suggest that the purpose is to make things more complicated. It takes a superior intellegance to deal with incometance.

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    2. Robert Molyneux

      Citizen at Drehmex Sales and Services

      In reply to Janeen Harris

      Hi Janeen, .
      pEDANTIC ARSE HOLE. Does your browser have a built-in spellchecker? It should show misspelled words in red and allow for correcting them. Mine doesn't like UPPER / lower case mixtures. Mind you, I thought Arse Hole was one word (arsehole) but my checker thinks it should be "hoarse" and it does not like arse at all. I suppose "hoarse hole" might be OK as a euphemism.
      Anyway I hope you don't mind me stirring a bit - but I don't think your comment makes sense exactly.

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    3. Jeff Payne

      PhD in Political Science and Masters in Public Policy

      In reply to Robert Molyneux

      Robert, I think you're being a little hard on Janeen. I'd be lost without my spellchecker.

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    4. Janeen Harris

      chef

      In reply to Robert Molyneux

      It was intentional dick head ,. I'm a chef, not a fool. But I must admit I have problems with making myself clear. I don't mind stirring things up a bit myself. But if the intelligent don't deal with the others they will have an endless battle to defeat them. " ie. can't" .

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    5. Robert Molyneux

      Citizen at Drehmex Sales and Services

      In reply to Jeff Payne

      Jeff, so would I. I tend to hunt and peck and then use the checker to work back to fix stuff. Sometime the wrong word slips though but I think we owe it to each other to try to keep good spelling and grammar - sometimes it interferes with understanding an argument.

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    6. Jeff Payne

      PhD in Political Science and Masters in Public Policy

      In reply to Robert Molyneux

      I disagree Robert. I think an insistence on 'correct' grammar and spelling is exclusive. Indeed, even an insistence on a well formed arguments excludes many. Remember Robert, I don't know about you, but, and this might surprise some, I trained for years to learn how to shape an argument and use strategies of persuasion. We should encourage, not just allow, inclusion of those whose writing, whether it be style, grammar or spelling, is to some wrong or annoying. I suspect you have been a marker of university papers at some stage and this can make you overly pedantic but everyone's voice needs to be heard. We need more chefs, bakers, plumbers and the unemployed to have a voice in the public sphere. I support Janeen here.

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    7. Janeen Harris

      chef

      In reply to Jeff Payne

      Thank you Jeff. It's a wonder that we can pick on people for such a small offence. Seeing things differently, spelling things differently, as long as it doesn't affect their ability to breathe air it's fine. Unfortunately , it does.

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    8. Robert Molyneux

      Citizen at Drehmex Sales and Services

      In reply to Jeff Payne

      Janeen, my apologies for offending you. I still don't understand the points you have made relating to this current exchange..
      Jeff, grammar and spelling are NOT exclusive, especially on this live conversation gadget where the browsers used have built-in spell checkers. Sorry, but I think this is reverse snobbery.
      Grammar is trickier, but if people read their offerings and looked for the red underlings of dud words before hitting the send button a lot of clumsiness of expression could be avoided…

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    9. Jane Middlemist

      citizen

      In reply to Graham Bell

      I think, Graham, for what it's worth, the purpose of ditching the convention of cabinet confidentiality is to continue trashing Labor as much as possible - in public. It could backfire and I hope it does.

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    10. Jane Middlemist

      citizen

      In reply to Robert Molyneux

      Dear Robert, seeing as you've kindly overlooked my criticism on another thread, may I suggest that hunting and pecking is for the birds. Touch typing is very easy to learn and allows you to stare at the screen without glancing down at the keyboard.
      Thus, since I learned, touch-typing (in a self-education spasm) I now make just as many mistakes - but much faster…
      Just a suggestion, no offence intended : )

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    11. Jane Middlemist

      citizen

      In reply to Janeen Harris

      I agree Janeen. We should respect each other as equals. I'm all for as much equality as possible, though sometimes I'm inclined to criticise the dick-heads currently in government…

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    12. Robert Molyneux

      Citizen at Drehmex Sales and Services

      In reply to Jane Middlemist

      Dear Jane, I type like the clappers. Now that I am developing arthritis(?) in my fingers I will have to give up touch typing, I think. "I can type without looking at the keyboard" - I just did this sentence!
      What criticism? No offence taken. :)

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    13. Robert Molyneux

      Citizen at Drehmex Sales and Services

      In reply to Robert Molyneux

      BTW - there is an interesting conversation about health outcomes across OZ - worth checking for a tired old nurse.

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    14. Jane Middlemist

      citizen

      In reply to Robert Molyneux

      Thanks Robert. I always read the health threads, but don't always comment. "Tired old nurse" I'll second that…
      Cheers, Jane.

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    15. Graham Bell

      Scrap-heaped War Veteran

      In reply to Janeen Harris

      So then this is merely another manifestation of " COMPLEXITY IA ALWAYS THEFT".

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    16. Graham Bell

      Scrap-heaped War Veteran

      In reply to Jane Middlemist

      I agree. Hammering away at The One Big Enemy worked well enough for Mr Hitler, Mr Goebbels and their accomplices when they were gaining and holding absolute power but it cost them easy victory and it led to their annihilation.

      So Abbott and his crowd were elected to government - yet they continue to play with their Labor Is Evil toy long after all the other kiddies have left the playground. How self-destructive - and ludicrous - is that? I'm astonished they managed to get any of their playmates elected in Tasmania and South Australia. Unless they grow up, those will be their last ever election wins.

      Back on topic: The Witch-Hunt has started. Sponsors of The Block and of My Kitchen Rules should be worried about the new competitor for their bread-and-circuses audience..

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