9 March 2023
What is a tyranny? You probably know that China is a tyranny, even if the experts prefer the term totalitarian. Social scientists use the term totalitarian because to call China a tyranny would be to make a moral judgment about it. They prefer totalitarian because it suggest a numerical scale of authority and even liberal democratic Australia is only less totalitarian or authoritarian than China. The experts remind me of Thomas Hobbes, the English philosopher who substituted law for morality:
For they that are discontented under ‘monarchy’, call it ‘ tyranny’: and they that are displeased with ‘aristocracy’, call it ‘oligarchy’: so also they which find themselves grieved under a ‘democracy’, call it ‘anarchy’.
The fact that Australian governments must obtain the consent of the people to a new government every three years or so is one big difference with China and that is the rule for both the Commonwealth and each State (I’m not sure about Victoria!). Our governments are often referred to as democracies because we elect our representatives. Strictly speaking, because the people elect their representatives to government, the Australian regime is not democratic but republican, like the United States, and it is fundamentally different from anything that Hobbes dreamed of.
The 1897-98 Constitutional Convention adopted the US federal division of the powers of government, the Commonwealth having what was called limited and enumerated powers while the states retained all the rest.
The Convention voted for the constitutional structure as stated by the Leader of the Convention, Edmund Barton QC:
There must be two Houses of Parliament, and in one of these Houses the principle of nationhood and the power and scope of the nation, as constituted and welded together into one by the act of Federation, will be expressed in the National Assembly, or House of Representatives, and in the other Chamber, whether it is called the Council of the States, the States Assembly, or the Senate, must be found not the ordinary checks of the Upper House, because such a Chamber will not be constituted for the purposes of an Upper House; but you must take all pains, not only to have a Parliament consisting of two Chambers, but to have it constituted in those two Chambers in such a way as to have the basic principle of Federation conserved in that Chamber which is representative of the rights of the States; that is, that each law of the Federation should have the assent of the States as well as of the federated people.
Barton’s argument for a federal Constitution, two parliamentary chambers one representing the Australian people equally, the other representing the Australian States equally, ensured that Australia was both liberal and democratic. His view was accepted by the Convention and later approved by the Australian voters in 1899. Barton had the benefit of studying classics at university.
His two chambers, representing the equality of the one people and the equality of the separate states, remain to this day even if the powers of the states were stripped in 1920 by a High Court with a Hobbesian mindset. Australia is still liberal and democratic; but not federal.
Despite receiving the political recognition as equal citizens that Indigenous Australians deserved, their plight was placed in the hands of ministers in the states and Commonwealth who have proven so incompetent that the majority of them still remain in isolated communities with little or no work, limited education opportunities, and no hope of achieving their potential.
While some Indigenous people have finally recognised that their people are living in poverty, it is difficult to believe that having a Voice without having control of the cheque book is going to remedy that situation. The stated purpose of the Voice might be to advise the Australian Parliament, but in reality that Voice will be raised in anger against the Parliament and the people it represents, resounding endlessly through the echo box of the left-wing media.
No one can look at the plight of those people without lamenting the historical incompetence of Commonwealth and state ministers with their billion-dollar cheque books who left them in that condition. Nor will be improved with the cacophony of Indigenous voices airing their disaffection with Australia, its institutions, and the English settlers who stripped them of their culture by insisting on education, a written language, modern medicine, houses, roads, and the rest of civilisation.
Two images of Indigenous Australia are already present in the Commonwealth Parliament and there is no reason to doubt that the current dichotomy between Jacinta Price and Lidia Thorpe will continue in the Voice. With the extension of the Voice by law throughout the land, that fight will continue everywhere.
Australia is no longer federal but its principles of freedom and equality of all citizens are still visible. It is liberal. But, if the Voice is implemented, it will create a new Indigenous class of citizens who will be superior in influence and power to other Australian people. Do not believe the secular priests who say the Voice does not have power.
Indigenous voices for good or bad will be heard and that influence is power. With that constitutional change, Australia will be neither liberal nor democratic. The natural ruling class in any democracy consists of those, regardless of skin colour or religion, with political knowledge of what is good for all. An oligarchy replaces knowledge with wealth. It is a defective regime. A tyranny, a defective regime, replaces knowledge by power and self-interest; and that is what will come when the power and influence of a separate Indigenous Voice is placed in the Constitution. When, after a short time, its defectiveness is recognised, it will only be removed by revolution. Such is the effect of unequal power in a regime.
Only a man of supreme ignorance of the necessary political knowledge on which the Australian regime was based, would plot to grant so great an authority to a minority.
It will be Australia’s greatest tragedy should the son of single, good, Catholic woman be the man to pervert a liberal Constitution and render it like some faction-ridden, Middle Eastern principality. With the Voice, Australia will not be liberal. It will not be democratic. It will be a shambles.
Dr. David Long is a retired solicitor. His PhD articulated how the federal element of our Constitution was removed without consent by the High Court, its methodology later facilitating a transfer of Australian sovereignty from the people to the Monarch’s representative contrary to the original intention of the founders. The thesis was published by Lexington Press as Australia’s American Constitution and the Dismissal.