Guest Post: Bar Beach Swimmer -The Federal Government and the politics of Dantatorship

The website Australian Constitution Centre is designed to teach school aged children about our ‘…Australian Constitution and the Australian system of government.’
Under the heading How else am I protected by the Constitution? is the following statement:
Our Constitution is structured to protect our system of government. These protections mean we don’t have to worry about our country becoming a dictatorship. Only the courts can exercise judicial power. The Government cannot lock up their opposition and throw away the key!
The enabling legislation before the Victorian Upper House has such far-reaching powers that at sometime in the future the probability that the Victorian Opposition, or any free citizen including other political voices, could not be locked up is now not wholly certain.  So is none of this potential risk of dictatorship in Victoria not a concern to the Federal Government?

In her interview on Friday night on The McGregor Angle  on Sky, Qld LNP Senator Amanda Stoker discussed the Federal Government looking not to do anything about the Victorian enabling Bill currently before the Victoria’s Upper House by using the “careful what you wish for” adage of the classical “States Righter.”  But if the Federal Government will not intervene as Stoker intimated in her interview – she is the Assistant Attorney General – is this because the Coalition is full to the brim of “States Righters” or is this more a case of politics and the next election?
I am not suggesting that Stoker’s support for states rights is not her legitimate default position but given the current situation in Australia, especially in Victoria, where the real rights of citizens have been shockingly abused and are in manifest danger if the Andrews’ Bill is passed, the defence of states rights “always and everywhere” against the Commonwealth “bully” is, I think, become arguable.  For what we have seen over the last year is an overbearing use of power and force by the individual Australian States over citizens and yet not a word of warning from the Commonwealth.
As a States Rights advocate, Stoker must know very well the sections of the Constitution that address the rights of the States, what those rights are and what previous cases defended/limited states rights.  If she has not considered how the proposed Victorian powers will work in relation to the Constitution that would be remiss for the Commonwealth Assistant Attorney General and astute legal scholar interested in states rights.   In fact it would be remiss if she has not examined the Bill herself or asked for departmental advice given her position and given the amount of correspondence she said her office has received from Victorians asking the Federal Government for help to stop the legislation’s enactment.
What then is the reason for her (and the Government’s?) seeming disinterestedness in what could be the advent of a health dictatorship in Victoria?  I can only think of one reason and it is to the political that I turn.  There are many federal coalition seats in Qld and WA in which a strong protest vote maybe felt by the Morrison Government because of its move to a nett zero emissions target by 2050 – remembering that at the 2019 Federal Election it campaigned vigorously against the Federal Labor policy of a nett 45% emission reduction target below 2005 levels.  Before the Glasgow announcement,  a number of non-government held seats in NSW (Hunter,  Paterson and Gilmore) were looking favourable for the Government – or at least unfavourable for Labor – and could have become important potential gains for a Government with a tiny majority in the House.  Following its climate change decision, if Coalition HoR Seats are to be lost in the north and in the west of the country and the status quo prevails in NSW – (though some of those western Sydney seats may not be looking as healthy now,) where else may seats be found to shore up the Government’s chances?
In Victoria, the Coalition control fifteen of the HoR seats whereas Labor has twenty-one – there is also a Green (Melb) and an Independent (Indi).  By hiding behind the states rights issue vis-à-vis the Victorian Government’s enabling Bill, is the Government thinking that Victorian electors in frustration with Andrews will smash federal Labor at the next election – a rehashing of the demise of the Goss Government when voters were waiting on their verandas with baseball bats for Keating, and used Goss as batting practice, as Goss famously said?
If so, this would be a most egregious case of political self-interest over what is a frightening reality of dictatorship powers about to befall all Victorians.

45 thoughts on “Guest Post: Bar Beach Swimmer -The Federal Government and the politics of Dantatorship”

  1. “But if the Federal Government will not intervene as Stoker intimated in her interview – she is the Assistant Attorney General – is this because the Coalition is full to the brim of “States Righters” or is this more a case of politics and the next election?”

    Firstly, excellent post BBS.

    Secondly, I don’t believe that the federal government’s reluctance to intervene is due to “states rights”, I believe it boils down to cowardice on the part of Scumbag Morrison and his motley gang of spineless Liberals and Nats….and Stoker is a true representative of that cowardice.

    Thirdly, the federal government (rightly) stepped in to stop the Victorian government Belt and Road deal with China. Scumbag Morrison could and should speak up about this bill or at the very least he could delegate someone from Victoria to speak….but he doesn’t. The plain truth is that Scumbag Morrison and the federal coalition government have enabled this tyranny in Victoria over the last eighteen months. They gave the green light to Andrews and his thugs. And they’ve said nothing about the police violence, the harassment of citizens and the denial of basic liberty.

    Finally, the silence from Morrison and the coalition speaks volumes.


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  2. So, if this bill passes, is this the beginning of the slippery slope where states begin to usurp the Commonwealth? What next? States legislate that taxes collected via GST etc no longer go to the Commonwealth for redistribution?

    The states have noticed that the Commonwealth is impotent and so they can do what they want while Morrison wails about border closures etc. Sorry sunshine, that train has left and you aren’t in control.


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  3. Given the complete abandonment by the Coalition of fundamental conservative philosophic precepts, I can only conclude that the failure of those losers to condemn the brazen attempted coup by Dictator Dan is just the latest example.

    Of course, it may also be a cunning plan to let him hang himself & then come to the rescue of Victorian’s on their white charger.

    Fat chance. The Libs are shameless gamers who have totally lost their way.


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  4. The Attorney General of Australia has a moral duty to protect the independence of the judiciary and enforce the human rights obligations signed up to as treaties and ratified as statute law.

    It should be outlawed Federally and then Victoria can take the case up.


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  5. “miltonfsays:
    November 9, 2021 at 8:44 am
    Finally, the silence from Morrison and the coalition speaks volumes.

    Also Howard.”

    No equivalence. Howard is no longer PM.


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  6. No equivalence. Howard is no longer PM.

    But he has cast himself as Australia’s elder statesman, making self-important forays into public debates. He is also acts as an éminence grise to Morrison. His silence speaks volumes.


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  7. Kroger and Costa were discussing the federal election last night on Bolt’s show.

    The net year zero insanity Morristeen and the Beetrooter have enthusiastically endorsed will be their death knell at the next election, courtesy of significant seat losses in NSW, Qld and WA. Unless, as Costa observed, labore come up with an even more insane proposal, which he claimed, not even Albanzleazey would be stupid enough to endorse (at least not publicly before the election – goodness what what spiteful staggering idiocy they’ll inflict on us after they win).

    The possibility of picking up a handful of seats in Victoria to counteract significant losses elsewhere is wishful thinking and emblematic of just how craven and hopeless the gliberals have become.

    They thoroughly deserve the electoral thrashing headed their way, as do those equally loathsome mongrels in NSW. Good bloody riddance.


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  8. In the many months since the politidemic began, many commenters at the Cat have discussed the reasons why the Prime Minister and his front bench have stayed mute in response to the bully-boy tactics that the individual state governments have used against citizens to force their compliance. As a result, we know all about the restrictions on civil conscription in the Constitution.

    As the Prime Minister of Australia and the supposed defender in chief of our Constitution, we’ve all seen Morrison say clearly that there is no such thing as mandatory vaccination in Australia and that people have the right to make their own decisions about their health needs. But then use the states to implement that very thing and making clear by his silence on the rest of the states’ tactics, his deliberate and craven impotence for getting those “vaccination rates up.” This is shocking enough to come to terms with.

    But the Victorian enabling legislation is another thing entirely. The stakes are raised for a permanent use of the type of force and control in Victoria that were previously thought to be and sold as temporary measures because of the pandemic.

    Consequently, as the holder of the highest political position in this “democratic” land, Scummo’s determined ignoring of the consequences of this Bill is grotesque. Though hard, just for a moment forget everything else that the people have endured under these draconian controls over the last two years, because by his deliberate inaction on this reprehensible legislation, The Prime Minister, the “Hon” Scott Morrison has now lost all moral standing as the Prime Minister of Australia.


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  9. Matt Wong (from Discernable) discussed the Pandemic Bill last night with a senior lecturer on Constitutional law from Deacon:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XETOB3fP_U0.
    Essentially rights in Australia are political not natural. If they vote for the Bill, it is here to stay. Can the feds override it? Perhaps.
    He noted that, based on the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) (also the subject of an article he wrote for the ABC), which is the basis for the Victorian Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006 (Vic), the Charter Act contains mostly derogable rights (that are not absolute) and which can be infringed (for higher or political purposes). In the article — https://www.abc.net.au/religion/human-rights-and-mandatory-covid-19-vaccinations/13577278 — he is more forward about the fact that while the ICCPR contains certain non-derogable rights, the one that is of concern, mandatory vaccination, is treated by the Charter Act as if it is derogable. That is, you do not have a right to refuse imposed medical treatment.
    Where to from here? He noted that the PandemicBill is rightly a reflection not so much of the government but the people who voted for the government. And it seems that Victoria has a proportion of the poulation who voted for this government that want this Bill. (Although it is notable that in 2018 less than 43% of the primary vote was for the Victorian Labor Party).


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  10. Essentially rights in Australia are political not natural.

    That’s our problem in a nutshell and it’s going to be very difficult to overturn without some sort of fundamental rupture to our system of government and the opportunity to start over (of which there is Buckley’s).

    Remember, John Howard was against a Bill of Rights because it would have taken some power away from politicians. That’s the mind set we’re up against.


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  11. Great stuff BBS, well said.
    The PM has sacrificed moral credibility and this morning he sacrificed more credibility on the net zero front with the truly absurd electric car initiatives.
    This depends on massive amounts of RE and the amusing thing is that we have been in a wind drought for at least 24 hours. Overnight there was effectively no RE in some states until sunrise. SA the wind leader is still importing coal power (mixed with hydro from Tasmania) from Victoria. Victoria itself only turned the corner to become a net exporter after 9.15. It is now a conduit to feed power to SA and NSW.


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  12. The irony of it all is that we thought our constitution protected us from the excesses of government be it State or Federal, and those of us who know of the Nuremburg trials and the ruling on medical experimentation also thought it was against our human rights to be subject to vaccination by any means, direct or indirect, and apparently we are very wrong for none of the human rights people who were so adamant about the rights of country shoppers et al have even made a murmur about our human rights. An even greater irony is that we as a nation in the past have derided the Soviet Bloc countries and their Marxist Leninism system and yet here we are allowing the State Premiers and our Federal government to carry out practices just as bad or even worse given present day technology.
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  13. TPL001says:
    November 9, 2021 at 9:20 am

    The entire country has for 120 years been living under a misnomer – indeed we’ve sung for generations our national anthem that declares we are a free people. Much has to be changed. But one thing that could happen, indeed should happen, right now is real leadership – real moral leadership. Can’t see it happening when the active participants are politicians.


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  14. Dot,
    What we really need are:
    1) some solicitors and barristers willing to take on such a case.
    2) some honest(?) – are there any? – politicians.

    But none of this is going to happen quickly, short of the coming election and the pressure that needs to be applied to the sitting members.


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  15. Lord, is it THAT bad?

    From the comments here it appears that Dr. Augusto Zimmermann, who has written in Quadrant on Sect 51 of the Australian Constitution is wrong. I don’t have any expertise at all in this area, so I am aghast.


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  16. Roger says:
    November 9, 2021 at 8:55 am

    Incidentally, I agree, Cassie, this is not about state’s rights; it’s about political cowardice.

    I don’t think it’s cowardice, it’s complicity.

    The Feds have in the past used the States to implement Federal policies, i.e., the land grab for Kyoto which Howard farmed out to the States to execute. The politicians in the Federal Government are doing the same, passing on whatever obligation they have to whomever it might be to lock us up.

    Don’t expect a knight in shiny armour to come to your aid from Canberra, they are all in this together.


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  17. Living here in Melbourne I echo the posts on this subject . . .

    It can get pretty depressing at times, hence it’s important to find some distractions from the insanity we’re living through at present.


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  18. The plain truth is that Scumbag Morrison and the federal coalition government have enabled this tyranny in Victoria over the last eighteen months. They gave the green light to Andrews and his thugs. And they’ve said nothing about the police violence, the harassment of citizens and the denial of basic liberty.

    This.

    Everything, everything that is happening re vaccine mandates, vaccine passports, vaccine harrasment, vaccine, vaccine, vaccine, is only made possible by Scott Morrison bending over backwards to A) Make it mandatory to register all Covid vaccine jabs in the Australian Immunisation Register last year, then B) making Australian’s private health information (‘sensitive’ under the Privacy Act – the highest level that sends shivers down compliance teams spines in my world) data in the Immunisation Register freely available to the state governments. And doing it knowingly so they can then make it available to everyone and anyone they like, and worse, even worse! use the data to create and facilitate a system of discrimination based on a persons health history.

    Without him explicitly doing that none of the vaccine pressure could be brought to bear on anyone because nobody would know who has had the vaccine and who hasn’t.

    It’s not mere cowardice or happenstance, he is acting deliberately in his actions on that, so we must assume he’s acting deliberately by allowing everything else: the abolition of Australia as a country, the vicious attacks on citizens by the provincial governments, all of it.


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  19. I’ve just started watching the vid that TPL001 put up. Matt Wong from Discernable with Dr Ben Saunders. Saunders’ point is that in the absence of actual Human Rights the only way to fix this problem is to have the following three in place:

    1) a functioning Opposition
    2) an engaged media
    3) an engaged electorate

    I’m only a little way in but apart from the revelation that our rights stem from the political sphere, we already knew about those three legs of the stool. Viewed through the prism of Victoria, the only one that has any green shots is the third one it would seem. So if the entire system is politically driven that engaged electorate – as long as the electorate remains engaged – should drive/can drive the other too to change.


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  20. twostix says:
    November 9, 2021 at 11:40 am
    It’s not mere cowardice or happenstance, he is acting deliberately in his actions on that, so we must assume he’s acting deliberately by allowing everything else: the abolition of Australia as a country, the vicious attacks on citizens by the provincial governments, all of it.

    Add the distinct possibility that these “vaxxines” are designed to kill people and you might get an idea of the enormity of Scummos betrayal of the Australian people.

    95%+ to be injected doesn’t leave too many Australians to bother him politically. And the way they’re all acting is re-election is not a consideration for them.


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  21. I am no Constitutional “scholar”, but as I understand it, Australia, as a unitary nation, was established, in EXACTLY the same way as the USA.

    This involved a “Federation” of a number of pre-existing STATES / “colonies”. The Australian Senate was, as an idea, pinched DIRECTLY from the US model as a safety switch on the House of representatives. The “usual suspects” hate that idea as well, for obvious reasons.

    The States were NOT convenient administrative lumps created by random subdivisions of a pre-existing single “National” government.

    Therefore, unless the Constitution CLEARLY declares that the “Federal” government has utter primacy in ALL matters (thus rendering the pre-existing States null and void), anything not so “claimed” is STILL a state responsibility.

    The usual suspects have been calling for the elimination of Stares for decades, and all in the name of “efficiency / removal of duplication. What they REALLY want is a single, CENTRAL dictatorship by entrenched technocrats.

    Leave “local” government to deal with “minor roads, rates and rubbish” in the time-honoured Potemkin way.

    This will NOT end well, nor is that the intention.


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  22. Stage two of the discussion is whether/why health official should be centrally involved in what are political and moral questions – what are the costs/benefits of this or that policy? Which is why, Saunders points out, that under the Westminster System the political and bureaucratic are supposed to be separate: it is for the politicians to decide, after taking advice. Then, it is for the electorate to decide whether the benefit was greater than the cost. Experts can’t know the answer to that question because it is a moral question.

    Early in the politidemic I wrote to the Prime Minister – this would have been in around March 2020 – when the CMO of the day – Dr Brendan Murphy – started being present at Morrison’s pressers and said at one point that we would all have to change permanently the way we engage with our friends and family.

    In my letter, I pointed out that I didn’t see anywhere on the ballot paper Dr Murphy’s name. Nor was I aware that he had decided to run for parliament and had released his platform. I said until such time as he did, and he won a seat, his opinion and dictates were of no interest to me. Unfortunately, I was wrong – he did have the power because Scummo gave it to him.


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  23. Therefore, unless the Constitution CLEARLY declares that the “Federal” government has utter primacy in ALL matters (thus rendering the pre-existing States null and void), anything not so “claimed” is STILL a state responsibility.

    Read up on the external affairs power, corporations power & Ch. III courts.

    You can have lawyers up the Ying yang.

    The non appellate courts don’t want to be made fools of so they make timorous rulings. To be appointed higher you must be favoured by the ruling parties.

    Hazzard writes (delegated) legislation the way he changes his underwear.

    Any lawyer challenging can barely keep up.

    This is why we need recall votes etc.


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  24. An excellent post BBS.
    I have to rush as I have an unplanned drive. Will fill up the tank on the way. Just as well I’m not an EV driver as I don’t have 6 or more hours spare to recharge!


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  25. Stage three of the discussion: we’re up to the Constitution and how to fix this debacle. It’s use the external powers – pandemics affect the entire country and the Commonwealth has already responsibility for quarantine. But that would mean everything would stop with Scummo. Can we say that is likely to happen?

    ‘”Will you, PM Scummo of The Shire, accept this quest to rid the land of these evil creatures, The Nine Nazgul [edit: sh1t, only eight of them] The Eight Bloated Torturers of the People?

    “Sorry, I’ll have to pass on that” said PM Scummo, “for all along I have been ignoring my Oath of Prime Ministerial Office that I may reclaim my Big Chair in my Big Office [aside to the audience] (and my Super Generous Indexed Pension) which happens after the next election.”‘


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  26. BBS: it smells like payola to me. Greg Hunt an WEF fanboy uses our money and loads up 150 mn+ of the ‘solutions’ in an injection, but does not mandate them; then the states do, and do so with relish. There is some connection here that I cannot fathom, unless it is at the behest of the ‘Davos clique.’ Something stinks, though.
    Interestingly enough, Petrovsky and co have obtained approval by the South Australian government to exempt from mandates those undergoing the trial of his Covax-19:
    https://www.gofundme.com/f/bringing-covax19-back-to-australia?viewupdates=1&rcid=r01-163642380239-5ca237daa1064fbd&utm_medium=email&utm_source=customer&utm_campaign=p_email%2B1137-update-supporters-v5b


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  27. Next part: now talking about the actual legislation before the Victorian Parliament. While the current pandemic health order controls have a reasonableness test attached, the new legislation does not, which means the decisions made are subjective – if the Dantator thinks what he proposes to do is necessary, no-one can say it is not. Even the oversight committee can be overruled. The answer is: the people decide that he needs to go, and they vote him out at the next election, so it’s a political solution.

    Yet the Office of the Prime Minister does hold gravitas, so if Scummo so desired to denounce the Victorian-Dictator-In-The-Making that would have some bearing on the public square discussion. But all along, as twostix has eloquently pointed out on more than one occasion, he’s too heavily tied up with all of the Premiers, but especially Dan.


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  28. There is some connection here that I cannot fathom, unless it is at the behest of the ‘Davos clique.’ Something stinks, though.

    TPL001, +1. Normally, the Feds and the States go their separate ways; this time they’re like the honey and the bees.


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  29. Sorry, I’ll have to pass on that” said PM Scummo

    To me he is smirko but then scummo also works.

    Quintessential fake. Fake Christian, fake pm. Zero interest in standing up for the people. Nothing the left might find controversial or upsetting will ever be done by smirko, he just wants them to like him and to heck with the country.


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  30. To slightly paraphrase Ben-Hur to Messala in the film: “I tell you, the day Daniel Andrews falls, there will be a shout of freedom such as the state has never heard before.”


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  31. The discussion has moved to a Bill of Rights and how that system would work. Saunders points out that even were we to have enshrined rights we would need also to have a court to determine whether any of those rights had been violated, which would mean that courts and not the people would make decisions. He used the example of the United States Supreme Court deciding that gay marriage was a right under the American Bill of Rights and consequently the individual states of America were required to enact legislation to make it so. Essentially, the people were left out of the process. Whereas in our system, he argues, that ultimately it is the people who decide.

    So, in the case of gay marriage in Australia, it was pressure from the people via their representatives (maybe that’s a bit debatable since it seems there were some overly enthusiastic members and senators in the Australian Parliament along with some high profile business people and “celebrities” who really pushed for the change). But it is right that a plebiscite was held and the people (who decided to vote) brought about the change.

    I think what this shows is that, yes, our system is good because everything comes back to the political dimension by way of elections. But it’s bad when the representatives of the people represent themselves and not the people.

    Dot, yes, recall elections and finite terms may begin change in the right direction. Add to that the two-party system, which is broken because it allows in to parliament apparatchiks and not real representatives. And, of course, we need an engaged electorate and media.

    The legislation before the Victorian Parliament will be a tough cross to bear if the Danator decides to use it, but that, and what else has happened in the past 20 odd months should (fingers crossed) keep Victorians engaged in the political process to deal properly with this arsehole and give them practice for anyone else who comes along.


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  32. They have some interesting ideas about the constitution in Melbourne. When I was last in Victoria’s parliament house a couple of years ago, there was an explanatory poster in the foyer which had Andrews and the lovely Ferguson CJ, with a frosty glare in her face, shoulder to shoulder as the government of Victoria, supposedly under parliament- but we all know who calls the shots there.


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  33. If you took any notice of the GayBC-Fauxfacts-Grauniad axis, you would expect hundreds of thousands of desperate refugees to be steaming across the Vic, Qld and ACT borders to escape the Spanish Inquisition burning people on every street corner under the Perrotet Opus Dei fascist theocracy. So where are they?


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  34. Stoker is the perfect representation of the modern Liberal. I’m actually pleased she ended up so far down the Senate ballot. Newman should be able to take her out of contention.

    On a wider note, there are three places in Australia that swing elections barring some sort of massively peculiar moment. Those three are: Queensland, Western Sydney and Northern Tasmania


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