Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

Governor-General and the Australian Constitution

The Governor-General and the Australian Constitution

Recent events surrounding the accusations levelled against the Governor-General of Australia, although disquieting, have proven that Australia's system of constitutional monarchy has, as always, worked and worked well.

Amidst the controversy, the machinery of government proceeded smoothly and without interruption despite the standing aside and now the resignation of the Governor-General, Dr Peter Hollingworth.

It was the Labour Prime Minister James Scullin who, quite rightly, insisted in 1930 that the decision of the Australian Cabinet on the nomination of the Governor-General was paramount. However, it later became convention that responsibility for later nominations fell into the sole prerogative of the Prime Minister.

The reasoning of those Australian Labour Party leaders, in particular, who are now asserting that the process is flawed and that the flaw is somehow related to the constitutional monarchy is not only totally unsound but fails to take into account that there have been five Labour Prime Ministers since Scullin, all of whom jealously guarded their prerogative rather than opening the nomination process to wide consultation.

There is no constitutional impediment to prohibit any Prime Minister from consulting with his or her Cabinet or with the Leader of the Opposition prior to submitting a nomination to the Queen. This consultation did occur. It is unfortunate that the possibility of later accusations arising against Dr Hollingworth was not disclosed then, but there is no reason to suppose that involving the public, Parliament, or anyone else, would have done so either.

Those who argue for involving Parliament or the electorate are guilty of attempting to mislead the public. They are motivated by a desire for a republic, but are not honest enough to say so - nor are they able to admit that this whole unfortunate situation has little if anything to do with the monarchy-republic debate in Australia - except that the republicans saw an easy target and subjected the Governor-General to merciless attacks until he resigned. The President of the Australian Council of Civil Liberties has described this as a witch-hunt.

Dr Hollingworth's appointment was widely welcomed at the time. It is only with hindsight that it may have been unwise. In any event republics do not necessarily handle similar events with anything like the flexibility of the Australian (or indeed New Zealand) Constitution. We might recall the serious allegations made against Dr Kurt Waldheim and President Nixon. As a result of the former, the President of Austria was ostracized at home and abroad for most of his term, and the latter, the government of the USA was destabilized for a long period. To suggets that electing the Governor-General would have prevented the Hollingworth episode is simply incorrect. The beauty of the system is that good candidates are appointed without having to secure political support - as would be required for any elected system. The great majority of people thought that Dr Hollingworth was a good candidate

Dr Noel Cox Chairman Monarchist League of New Zealand Inc.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Supreme Court: Worksafe Decision On Whittall Pike River Prosecution Unlawful

The question in issue on the appeal was whether WorkSafe New Zealand acted to give effect to an unlawful agreement of this nature when it offered no evidence on charges against Peter William Whittall for breaches of the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992...

The Supreme Court... has found that the decision to offer no evidence was made under an unlawful agreement to stifle prosecution. It has granted a declaration to that effect. More>>

 

Cullen To Chair: Tax Working Group Terms Of Reference Announced

Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Revenue Minister Stuart Nash today announced the Terms of Reference for the Tax Working Group and that the Group will be chaired by Sir Michael Cullen. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The New Pike River Agency (And The Air Strike Wing)

Much of the sympathy the public still feels for the families of the Pike River miners has been sustained by the sense that the previous government – let alone the mining company and the processes of receivership and litigation – has never dealt honestly, or fairly, with them. More>>

ALSO:

Not Going Swimmingly: Contractor Cut, New Dates For Christchurch Sports Centre

“As an incoming Minister, I have been conducting a thorough review of progress on the Anchor projects and to learn of a $75 million budget blowout on this project was very disappointing..." More>>

ALSO:

Tertiary: Allowances, Loan Living Costs To Get Boost

“From 1 January, student allowance base rates and the maximum amount students can borrow for living costs will rise by a net $50 a week,” says Education Minister Chris Hipkins... further adjusted from 1 April 2018 in line with any increase in the CPI. More>>

ALSO:

Foreign Affairs: Patrick Gower Interviews Jacinda Ardern

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says discussions have already begun on how to bring climate change refugees into New Zealand under a Pacific seasonal employment plan... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Centre Right’s Love Of ‘Nanny State’

You’d almost think it was 2005 again. That was a time when the rugged individualists of the centre-right were being beset by government regulations on the nature of light-bulbs, the size of shower heads, the junk food available at school tuck shops and other such essentials... More>>

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election