AUSTRALIA: Burdened with arrogant, self-serving systems of government almost totally unsuitable to the current political demands of a modern nation-state.
The Commonwealth of Australia is a sovereign nation comprised of several sovereign States and some Territories. All these entities joined together, voluntarily, in 1901, to become the nation of Australia.
In general terms this event was called an Act of Federation; it worked quite well for us for a very long time. It saw us through two World Wars and a depression that ripped the heart out of the country, leaving indelible and lasting impressions upon those Australians who had to endure the degrading hopelessness. But that system of Government worked for us and we were admired by a host of other nations as a “lucky country”.
Joined together by a far-sighted Constitution, the fundamentals of the arrangement were designed to be simple. The Commonwealth Government would have carriage of Taxation, Customs, Defence, Foreign Relations (Cranky Lizard uses that term due to the likelihood of causing angst to some poor bugger who has never had a foreign affair) and Transport, which embraced the fledgling aviation industry, together with other matters relating to mineral rights, currency issue and maintenance. The States would carry the responsibility for Law Enforcement and Justice, Education, Health, State Infrastructure, Business and Economic Development, various licensing functions and the operation and maintenance of their State legislatures.
And, as previously mentioned, it all worked pretty well. Until the Fourth Horseman arrived on the Pale Horse – bringing Pestilence in the form of COVID-19.
From that moment the general and common order in Australia began to unravel as the opportunistic, mean spirited, arrogant, self-serving coteries of State Governments discovered ways of tearing the authority of the Commonwealth apart.
We all know and have experienced, in some form or another, the ways in which various State Governments have interfered in our lives.
Much has been said and written about that. Cranky Lizard does not intend to pursue the subject of health advice-inspired “lockdowns” in much detail, except to comment that, apart from a few examples, the mainstream media, again, has demonstrated its shallow intellectual base and its slavish worship of the trivial, herd-like muttering of the left-wing nonsense coming from the various socialist State Governments.
Very few question the consequences of the bizarre human auctions taking place – as unpredictable, devastating lockdowns and border closures provide press conference stages for strutting, smugly-arrogant and wildly-staring politicians who promise nothing and openly display their contempt for the citizens who elected them.
As they posture, strut and rant about threats to the community, the real pain extracts its uncompromising toll.
Elective surgery is stopped or delayed – thus rendering treatable conditions terminal; formal schooling is stopped and another generation of drones is cultivated, literature, science and mathematics disciplines are sacrificed on the altar of political expediency and point-scoring.
Do we just have to accept this? Cranky Lizard does not accept any of it.
Cranky Lizard does not accept the wildly-staring press conferences of Daniel Andrews or the reflected authority of the Queensland press conferences, where the next State Governor usurps the role of the smug-looking Premier. Cranky Lizard does not accept the arrogant posturing of the Western Australian Premier, adorned with a massive electoral majority that leaks hubris all over him. He has forgotten that ‘hubris‘ has a sister who follows her about quite closely; her name is ‘nemesis’. And she will come to McGowan – she will come!
Cranky Lizard does not accept the vacuous dithering of other State Governments as they flop about like headless chooks.
State parochialism is the order of the day; it is clear to any objective observer that many people now see themselves as citizens of states, Victoria, Queensland, New South Wales et al, rather than Australians.
AND THIS IS WRONG – WE ARE AUSTRALIANS!
Cranky Lizard openly acknowledges that, until the recent developments, the NSW Government of Gladys Berejiklian had tried to apply solutions that had an element of humanity about them.
Cranky Lizard accepts that Governments must lead and, in so doing, take actions that will probably affect peoples’ lives.
The Commonwealth has powers, during times of clear threats to National Security and during times of war – witness World War II and the proximity of enemy forces on our coastlines and in the lands to our immediate north, which it can use to superimpose upon the sovereignty of the states for the national common purpose.
But, in times of health emergencies and matters of public order, the Commonwealth has no authority unless, or until, matters degenerate to such an extent that National security is threatened.
Some credible commentators suggest, considering the constant disruption to education, commerce and community intercourse, that National security is being threatened and that the application of Commonwealth powers should be considered.
Cranky Lizard can see no credible argument for this … yet!
What he can see is a need to examine the structure of government authority in Australia.
In a democracy, all elected governments have authority over their citizens by their consent.
Recent events have indicated that elected state governments no longer consider the need for a common cause and government-to-government discussion necessary – the establishment and operation of a National Cabinet, for the right reasons, has been twisted by egotistical Premiers to suit their narrow agendas, which are, simply to extend their time in Government by whatever means!
Police Services in all states have become instruments of enforcement and curtailment of personal freedoms by legislation; some, inevitably, have overreacted. The examples are obvious and need no detailed explanations, but the image of a handcuffed, pyjama-clad, pregnant woman, regardless of whether you like her or not, remains a clear example of overreaction by the Police.
To be clear, the Police have been asked to carry out onerous and superfluous duties in these matters, and, in almost all cases that Police have acted professionally and credibly. Community respect and gratitude are due to them; Cranky Lizard extends that to them in these words, “Thank You”.
But all that does not address the principal issue here, which is the application of government authority and States’ Rights vis-a-vis the Right of the Commonwealth to govern in the national interest.
The scope of this matter is nation-changing, enormous in its ramifications, and space available plus expertise does not allow the matter to be fully persecuted in this column.
But a start could be that utilising a National Referendum, the Commonwealth could be given constitutional powers to override state laws in matters of great national concern regarding general community health in times of declared pandemics.
And you can start the conversation by referring these matters to your State Senators, there are twelve of them in each State and a couple in each Territory.
Fire them up! Get them started. Do you want to sit on your bum on your lounge and wait for some bright, shiny politician to tell you when you can go and shop for lamb chops or do you want to take control of your life and make your own responsible decisions?
Cranky Lizard knows what he’s doing; Senators for Queensland - take note and check your mailboxes!