Government House Sydney. The NSW state constitution can be altered by politicians

Letter to the Editor

Australia’s system of Government has some serious deficiencies as evidenced by the events of the last few years and the terrible state of debt and decay in which this country, its citizens and its States find themselves.

These flaws have come about because of the historical evolution of this system of Government. Key to this sad state of affairs is the fact that each colony came to the Federation with its own Constitution, Constitutions that were not the result of a Constitutional Convention formed by the popular will of the people but ones that were crafted by the societal elites of that day.

One example of this is the Constitution of the State of New South Wales. Much of it can be altered by the politicians of the day rather than by a referendum of the citizens of New South Wales. Given the essential role of a Constitution, allowing politicians anywhere near it is tantamount to trusting the fox with the chickens.

In a similar vein, the focus of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Australia was not on the rights of citizens but on how six contumacious colonies would agree to form a Federation of States. At the root of all of Australia’s problems is the foundation upon which it was formed and that reality has to be a high priority for rectification.

It must be remembered that no democracy has ever survived in history. Democracies are poison to any society because an efficient and effective democracy is tantamount to rule by the mob. For that reason, almost perversely, and certainly counter-intuitively, there has to be established and universally agreed a set of rules that are based on human self-interest rather than the interests of the collective. In order to protect everyone in that society from being exploited and robbed of the fruits of their labour the “mob” must agree on certain inviolable principles, one of which is the right of everyone to earn a living and keep their earnings without being compelled to share these with the entire community.

Next to this is the right to defend oneself, be treated fairly by the criminal justice system and the right to free speech. And so it goes. It must also be appreciated that many people who become involved in politics do not go there for noble reasons.

Coincident with this is the fact that every law these people pass is often driven by self interest and strips away the freedom of at least some sectors of the community; always on the basis of this being “for your own safety or benefit”. For that reason, every obstacle should be placed in the way of legislation so that any legislation is subjected to the maximum level of scrutiny before it is passed.

Our Constitutional Monarchy fails us in this regard because both Governors of States and the Governor General of the Commonwealth are selected by the Parliament; the very group the Governors are supposed to hold in check. Because Australia has effectively separated from the British Monarch, an entity that does have some proper separation from the Legislature, there is a need for Australia’s Governors, at all levels to be popularly elected by the people.

With selected Governors, Australia is already a de facto Constitutional Republic but it is a seriously flawed one because there is no proper separation between the Executive and the Legislature. This is but a small part of a much greater matter upon which I could easily write a book. The “take-away” from this is that I see the opportunity for us to use this initiative of forming a free State to debate this subject and, maybe, either affect the system of Government throughout Australia or form our own free State, based upon the ideas we arrive at, to provide an example to the rest of Australia as to how a State Government should be better organised.

From Kevin Loughrey