Sixty Joyless De-Britished Uncrowned Commonpoor Years (1949-2009)

Elizabeth II Vice-Regal Saint: Remembering Paul Comtois (1895–1966), Lt.-Governor of Québec
Britannic Inheritance: Britain's proud legacy. What legacy will America leave?
English Debate: Daniel Hannan revels in making mince meat of Gordon Brown
Crazy Canucks: British MP banned from Canada on national security grounds
Happy St. Patrick's: Will Ireland ever return to the Commonwealth?
Voyage Through the Commonwealth: World cruise around the faded bits of pink.
No Queen for the Green: The Green Party of Canada votes to dispense with monarchy.
"Sir Edward Kennedy": The Queen has awarded the senator an honorary Knighthood.
President Obama: Hates Britain, but is keen to meet the Queen?
The Princess Royal: Princess Anne "outstanding" in Australia.
H.M.S. Victory: In 1744, 1000 sailors went down with a cargo of gold.
Queen's Commonwealth: Britain is letting the Commonwealth die.
Justice Kirby: His support for monarchy almost lost him appointment to High Court
Royal Military Academy: Sandhurst abolishes the Apostles' Creed.
Air Marshal Alec Maisner, R.I.P. Half Polish, half German and 100% British.
Cherie Blair: Not a vain, self regarding, shallow thinking viper after all.
Harry Potter: Celebrated rich kid thinks the Royals should not be celebrated
The Royal Jelly: A new king has been coronated, and his subjects are in a merry mood
Victoria Cross: Australian TROOPER MARK DONALDSON awarded the VC
Godless Buses: Royal Navy veteran, Ron Heather, refuses to drive his bus
Labour's Class War: To expunge those with the slightest pretensions to gentility
100 Top English Novels of All Time: The Essential Fictional Library
BIG BEN: Celebrating 150 Years of the Clock Tower

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

I'm Canadian, Hear me Roar

Give it up for the beaver and the maple leaf. Her Majesty's Canadian subjects can afford to be a little smug these days as the rest of the world goes to hell in a handbasket.

"Canada rated world's soundest bank system" according to the World Economic Forum. While such financial institutions as the Royal Bank of Canada, the Toronto Dominion Bank, the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (yes, our banks survived the Great Depression and still emanate from the heyday of the British Empire) show their comparable metal amidst the unprecedented credit crisis facing global capital markets, George Bush and Clement Atlee, I mean Gordon Brown, are busy nationalising and bailing out their nation's banks. I have always thought embracing the American sense of opportunity and entrepreneurship with the British sense of caution and prudence was Canada's historical God-given mission. When are the anarcho-capitalist Annie Oakleys south of the 49th going to learn their lesson? Since when did Britain throw caution to the wind? Answer: since they threw in their lot with the EU.

Vic-Tory in the Great White North: Earlier this month, the Conservative Party led by the Right Honourable Stephen Harper won its second straight mandate, with a stronger minority and just 12 seats shy of a majority government. The world of course greeted this result with a collective yawn, but it surely must be the strangeness of the times when the entire Anglosphere led by Princess Obama realigns itself seemingly wildly to the left, while Canada stays independently and nominally conservative. I think the last time this happened, FDR was president and R.B. Bennett was prime minister.

The path to Conservative dominance: This strategy would bring the Conservatives back to where Diefenbaker left off: The project of building a strongly nationalist, British North American alternative to the United States. It would attempt to build a unified "Canada" of more than just laws and flags, but of one culture and one people, if two languages. Perhaps George Grant even wrote the future Conservative slogan in Lament for a Nation: "Canadians first, foremost and always."

"The trashy flotsam of the global elite": I have my profound differences and sometimes intense dislike of Harper (his cowardly refusal to reign in the Human Rights racket and their deeply disturbing assault on our fundamental freedoms is a case in point), but to imagine the man sharing a few days and cocktails with crooked Russian oligarchs in Corfu is near impossible. George Osborne and Lord Mandy deserve what they get.

Where do you find an IMF to bail out the IMF? The world is going bust, including apparently the IMF, unless it starts to print its own money and lots of it. I'm not sure if the United States is tapped out fiscally, but a possible trillion dollar deficit is a scary proposition. Can you imagine Canada being $100 billion in the red this year? Just think of that, $100 billion! Perhaps it's more unbelievable that the Government of Canada is yet again projecting another budgetary surplus. Let's hope it lasts.

Australia, where even monarchists are republicans. The monarchy is not even a point of debate in Canada, and therefore the land north of summer prudently avoids any associated constitutional risk taking, but barely a day goes by Down Under without some wishful republican talk. The great David Flint at Australians for Constitutional Monarchy is moving the yardstick of republican debate by arguing that Oz is already effectively a Crown Republic. This would have to be the ultra, ultra-minimalist model for republican constitutional change, so minimalist that nothing changes. Keep the Crown. Declare yourself a republic. Brilliant. Problem is, so long as there is a Queen of Australia, you can't call yourself a Crown Republic. More on this in another post.

So I ask the question, which country is the most politically conservative, financially secure, jealously independent and constitutionally sensible nation in the English-speaking world right about now? Britain may be more Tory and the United States more right wing, but you'd be hard pressed to find on the planet any country more conservative, more secure, more independent and more sensible than Canada.

35 comments:

Lachlan said...

as a monarchist in Australia i would have to say it would be wrong to judge all australian monarchist under what Flint says. there are still many here that believe in the crown, problem is they are aging and most young people cant find a connection with the crown, many are torn between following the USA and what all american television says about asperations to becoming president while they also think it is a special and "cool" thing to have a queen.

In Australia republicans are not fighting against the Queen but calling for "mate as head of State", so flint claiming we are a crowned republic is based on the way the country functions and the fact that the Australian High Court recognised the G-G as our constitutional head of state with the Queen as our Monarch/ soveriegn.

that said what flint does is good, I find him less of a monarchist and more a conservative constitutionalist as he is much more focused on the constitution than the institution of monarchy.

to keep on theme, Australian banks are too quite sound in the current situation (or at least the main 4 are) our biggest problem is our dudd prime minister who saw other countries offering deposit garantees and thought it best to follow suit. causing much more problems than it solved.

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Lord Best said...

To be fair the bank deposit guarantee was supported by both parties, the Reserve Bank and interest groups, and it saved a run on the bank. Whatever one thinks of Rudd his government has handled this crisis rather well. Unlike the Opposition who said they would be bi-partisan and instead started playing games with the crisis for their own ends.

As to Flint, on the whole his articles are very well written and he is certainly the leading Monarchist intellectual in the country at present. I do not agree with the Crowned Republic statement, it being an oxymoron.

Lachlan said...

Lord Best.

just because i am not a fan of Rudd does not mean i think turnbull would be any better, but from what i have seen the only reason he won was because of work choices.
"Unlike the Opposition who said they would be bi-partisan and instead started playing games with the crisis for their own ends."
this statement i do agree with totally

sorry if i sounded against flint but sometimes his articles sound as if he more is against republicans than for monarchy.

Corporate Bully
please do not spam here

Lord Best said...

I did not mean to imply that you said Turnbull would be a better choice, I was just complaining about them. The opposition has a n important role to keep the government from making rash mistakes, and I see no problem about quibbling over the details on these economic measures - but behind closed doors where they cannot spook the market or be seen as cheap political shots. The moment you start calling press conferences to complain about the governments handling you have sabotaged bi-partisanship, in my opinion.

Henley said...

Canada politically conservative? Did you really say that? with its mad bill of rights and aggressive socially progressive judges and anti-discrimination boards everywhere? The home of political correctness par excellence? Wake up when the ice melts.

Anonymous said...

Please do not be too condident about the situation of the Monarchy in Canada.John Manley, former Cabinet Minister and touted as a potential Liberal Party leader is very much outspoken in his opinion against the Monarchy; it would not be unlikely he or his subordanates might make the question of a Head of State a Political issue............

Lewis said...

Flint's argument isn't that Australia ought to declare itself a Crowned republic, it is that Australia already is one. It's a deliberate attempt to 'screw the scrum' as we say, an Orwellian manipulation of the terminology of the debate intended to confuse. He didn't even come up with it - that honour goes to Justice Michael Kirby, a member of the ACM, who developed the claim in response to the republican debate during the 1990s. For some reason Prof Flint has now seen fit to revive the issue, perhaps because the ACM has started to beleive its own nonsense about the term "head of State", claiming nonsensically that the Governor-General of Australia is the head of State (even though New Zealand Constitution Act and Papua New Guinea's Constitution both declare the Queen to be "Head of State").

Lord Best said...

Uh, Lewis, the High Court of Australia declared that the GG was our head of state (technically the Head of the Commonwealth, the Commonwealth of Australia being the federal state, which each governor was the head of state for his state) and the Attorney General declared some years ago that the position that Her Majesty was our head of state is not supported by any evidence.

Lord Best said...

In addition, when on earth did Australia become New Zealand AND Papua New Guinea? What on earth has their constitutions have to do with ours? They are different! And you call what Flint says nonsensical.
Prime Minister - Head of Government
Governor General - Head of State
The Monarch - Sovereign.
The PM is the head of government because he fulfills that role, it is not named in the constitution.
The GG is the head of state because he fulfills that role, it too is not named in the constitution.
The Queen is sovereign, but she is not head of state because she does not fulfill any of the duties associated with it, and even when present in the country does not take those roles from the GG.

Lewis said...

Yeah, the Attorney-General in John Howard's government during the 1999 republic referendum. Why did he declare the Governor-General head of State? The same reason the ACM does - to confuse the debate. There's nothing more to it than that.

Sorry Lord Best, but I've read the precedent in question, and the High Court only named the Governor-General as "constitutional head of State", the caveat in "constitutional" being so because the Governor-General has the powers of the monarch. That's not hard evidence that the Governor-General is the head of State.

As for evidence the Queen is head of State, refer: Singh v Commonwealth [2004] HCA 43; (2004) 222 CLR 322; (2004) 209 ALR 355; (2004) 78 ALJR 1383 at 35, 39, 40, 41 and 57.
O'Sullivan v Central Sydney Area Health Service (No 2) [2005] NSWADT 136 at 19.
Ruddock v Taylor [2005] HCA 48; 79 ALJR 1534; 221 ALR 32 at 58 and 215.

All precedents overlooked, curiously, by Professor Flint.

As for Australia versus New Zealand and Papua New Guinea - why are these precedents not relevant? Because they're "not Australia"? Surely if you're willing to rely on the precedent of other Commonwealth realms for other issues - such as the dismissal of the Governor-General - surely then it follows that the precedent of the use of "head of State" also matters?

Sure it's true that the Governor-General undertakes all of the roles and functions of the head of State. That in itself actually invalidates any claim that the Queen's role is of any use to Australia (or New Zealand, or Canada). The argument that the Governor-General is head of State is in itself a concession that Australian ought to have a head of State of its own - the monarchists are making this argument for the purposes of screwing the scrum on the issue.

Lord Best said...

The Crown is of use because the GG operates at her discretion, not at the discretion of the parliament which he or she is supposed to monitor. That is the great advantage of our system, although the GG is appointed by parliament, he is not answerable to them, thus our reserve power is out of the hands of political avarice.
Generally older precedents are given more weight than newer precedents, from what I understand, and one of the precedents for the GG being head of state dates to 1907.

Lord Best said...

Sorry to double post, but I think this quote from the former GG is pertinent:
"We have a very good system now in terms of political stability... one of the reasons why we have had this wonderful stability is because of the constitutional linkages from Crown to Governor-General to Prime Minister at the Federal level, and Crown to Governor to Premiers at the State level. There are checks and balances in the system, and that is why we never had civil wars, that is why we never had huge political upheavals except in '32 and '75. So the system as it is has worked very well.”
—Governor-General Michael Jeffery, 2003

Even if the Queen is our HoS, which I personally do not believe, but freely admit there are arguments and precedents for both, the simple fact is there is no need to change from our current situation to one of constitutional uncertainty. It seems to be a matter of perspective really, whether you believe the role of the Crown is an asset or not. I believe it is, regardless of who is our head of state.

But what it really boils down too is that becoming a republic involves either giving absolute power to politicians, or creating a whole new set of politicians with a rival mandate and power structure to parliament. Not to mention many more elections. I would say let the people decide, but at the moment the people do notgive a damn about a republic.

Lachlan said...

I'm not sure how this thought may go down but..
Lord Best & Lewis

maybe we could solve this current problem/ issue by just creating our own monarchy with a live in monarch where our king (say prince Andrew, a high ranking royal with no foreseeable chance of assending)replaces the G-G and his childeren, become princes/princesses/dukes of each state replacing the current govonors.

tis is an idea that as a monarchist i really love though dont see as really being successful but at least this debate will end because the monarch will be head of state/country while princes become heads of states.

Lord Best said...

As it happens there was some talk of that on the occassion of Princess Mary's marriage to Crown Prince Frederick of Denmark, except replacing the British Crown with a Danish Crown. There has also been some small talk of a junior branch of the Windsors being established in Australia as well, but I do not think the Australian people take it seriously. Granted it would solve the head of state/foreign monarch question.

Lachlan said...

well the idea of establishing a junior branch of the windsors in Australia or accepting the danish crown/ establishing one of princess Mary's childeren as our crown does sound like a grand i dea to me, and as you said it would meet resistance but Australia is still conservative at heart and so long as our monarchy didnt become too pompous, Australia would love its own Royals. I think half of the problem with Australian monarchy is that we dont see our monarch or royals enough.

the ARM only calls for independence and a "Mate for Head of State" so our own crown would surely solve that whist keeping our constitution rock solid as minimal change would be needed.

on a side note sorry beaverbrook for stealing your post on how proud you are of Canada

Lewis said...

"Generally older precedents are given more weight than newer precedents, from what I understand, and one of the precedents for the GG being head of state dates to 1907."

Um, no. One of the most basic ideas of the British common law - stare decisis - is that newer precedents are binding on the courts and old ones are not. In lay terms, newer precedents have more weight. Otherwise we'd be stuck with precedents from the time of William II...

Secondly, as I noted above, the 1907 precedent referred to (R v The Governor of South Australia) doesn't name the Governor-General as head of State. I was mistaken when I said "constitutional head of State". A friend has corrected me - the Court actually said "constitutional head of the state". While I was wrong in quotation of that case, I'm not nearly as wrong as the interpretation the ACM has given it: namely that it somehow shows the G-G to be head of State. It doesn't, it simply shows that the Governor-General has all of the powers of the absentee Monarch; that the Governor-General is head of State de facto.

Nonetheless, it appears you've conceded this is an issue of "perspectives" and gone for some other side issues:

"...what it really boils down too is that becoming a republic involves either giving absolute power to politicians"

Politicians already have absolute power under the monarchy. The Crown - indeed the monarchy itself - provides them with a Pettie coat of legitimacy beyond the usual realms of Parliament. The Gov-Gen's ability to hold the Parliamentary executive is extremely limited - the Governor-General's only real recourse is to fire a Prime Minister. The last time that happened, it was because the Governor-General was himself under threat from removal by the Prime Minister (and given that Prime Minister had already removed a dormant commission without the Queen making a noise, there was a very good chance he would've done the same to the Governor-General).

"or creating a whole new set of politicians with a rival mandate and power structure to parliament."

I thought it was just one politician? Or has Prof Flint changed the party line now.

The mandate issue is a nonsense. If the office does not have the ability to direct policy, there is no mandate for them to direct policy. Sure, an elected head of state would have the ability to hold the Parliamentary executive account much unlike the Governor-General does, but that does not mean some whack job is going to fire governments at will and try to direct policy. That fantasy is nothing more than the product of monarchist fear mongering, intended to create mistrust amongst the general public.

"Not to mention many more elections."

Right - so having more elections is a bad thing? On that basis you might as well have 10 year parliamentary terms...

"I would say let the people decide, but at the moment the people do notgive a damn about a republic."

Sure they don't. If they didn't, you wouldn't have a problem with a referendum, because surely no-one would turn up. Or perhaps you know that the public actually would turn out and vote in a way you wouldn't accept.

Lachlan - you're dreaming.

Lachlan said...

im not dreaming nearly as much as you would like me to be. the world goes through different stages and it would seem that crazy stable democracies seem to be what everybody is looking for now and a constitutional monarchy does this perfectly. Remember the commonwealth games where the MCG rose to sing "God Save The Queen" even though the government said they didnt want the royal anthem sung.I think alot more peole than you realise would jump on the prospect of a resident royal family

Lewis said...

Yeah. Do you have any evidence to back that up?

Hasburg said...

You know, in my opinion, and you don't have to agree with it, the only people who continue to be monarchists tend, although not always, to be riffraff, anti-merit and love the monarchy due to the escapism is generates for their own pointless, mundane, unimaginative lives; even the Hasburgs (who are an educated Royal House, see below) have come out and declared they support a Republic. And that House has not married one commoner (like Liz or the person who writes this blog) for 1000 years. If you have capital, you don't need to dream and desire someone elses capital (i.e. the Queen's).

Anyways, lets address the issue at hand.

"...Generally, older precedents are given more weight than newer precedents...[this] precedent for the GG being head of state dates to 1907..."

Thise person clearly has NOT read the precedent in question (R v The Governor of South Australia). Flint has taken the precedent out of context. First, the precedent itself does NOT use the word Head of State at all. Rather, ‘constitutional Head’ of the State (i.e., talking about the State Governor). There is a difference between Head of State (a term that did not exist in 1907, but was invested in the late 1960s) and Head of the State of South Australia.

Second, the precedent, uses the word 'officiate' constitutional Head of the State (of South Australia) ie. officiate someone who administers his or her duties as a function given by someone, in this case the King or Queen.

Thirdly, Lord Best and Lachlan consider these things:

1. If the GG is our Head of State, why is it the The King v Governor of SA & not the GG v Governor of SA? (i.e. the case by implication suggested that the King should appoint a new GG to fulfil the various constitutional roles to be actually fulfilled, in this case elections and appointments the Senate). Thus, the executive (ie the King/Queen) makes sure the office of GG, as King's/Queen's representative, runs smoothly and efficiently. He does not have take instructions, but the King/Queen can dismiss the GG (thus ensuring the powers of the executive are administered efficiently).

2. If the GG is our Constitutional Head of State, then, why does the precedent in question make the following two remarks:

A.'the [GGs] powers [are] manifestly one the exercise of which could not be reviewed by any authority but the Sovereign....' If the GG is Head of State, how can his powers be reviewed by someone higher up & employs him? Thus, executive powers of the GG stems from the consent and review of the Queen). The Queen is both Constitutional HoS and symbolic Hos. This was seen back in the 1970s when the Queen dismissed one of the State Governors.

B. it calls the GG the officiating Constitutional Head (i.e. corresponding with the idea the GG is a representative and simply administrative). This is consistent with the notion that the GG is the Queen's representative (an 'ordinary and natural' reading our Constitution allows us to come to the same conclusion). The precedent says, 'The duty, ...the Constitutional Head of a State owes to the State (and in the case of a Governor, but in a slightly different sense, to the Sovereign'. A Head of State canot be nominally inferior to another executive office (ie. the Queen).

3) At no point in the case is the phrase 'Head of State' used in the precedent (although the phrase Head of the State (ie the State of SA)) is used.

So in the context of the precedent Head was simply refering to obligations needed to be fulfilled: ultimate power resides with a Crown who ensures the state functions (thus, I reject the assumption the GG is even a constitutional Head of State). Such adjectives are simply useful to describe domestic roles. Indeed, all other Heads of State is the person whom executive power is vested in (again, the Queen); Parliament may give Ken Henry the power to write laws without their approval to address the economic crisis, but does that mean Ken Henry is the legislative power? No, as the power can be REVOKED at anytime. The same with the GG; the Queen can revoke his or her power.

The GG is only a representative/employee, accountable to the Queen/ King. Clearly, even according to Flint's own precedent, the Queen Heads our State, reviews the GG, as noted in The King v The Governor of the State of South Australia. A Head of State is the person whom administers powers to other people (i.e. whom executive power is vested in). Indeed, nothing, per se, prevents the Queen appointing herself as GG; certainly after Section 2 and 4 are read (so I think the Royal Powers Act) was unnecessary; al lthe Queen had to do was appoint herself as GG.

Finally, all the precedents Lewis noted call the Queen the "Queen of Australia" and the Governor-General her representative. Precedents, which explicitly call the Queen Head of State are: Pochi v Minister for Immigration & Ethnic Affairs [1982] HCA 60 at 9, Re Burgundy Royale Investments Pty Limited v Westpac Banking Corporation; the Northern Territory of Australia [1987] FCA 454 at 8, Nolan v Minister for Immigration & Ethnic Affairs [1988] HCA 45; (1988) 165 CLR 178 at 10-11, The Queen v Sam Scott (1993) 114 ACTR 20 at 66-70, Authorities Superannuation Board v Commissioner of State Taxation (WA) [1996] HCA 32; (1996) 189 CLR 253; (1996) 140 ALR 129, Moller v Board of Examiners [1999] VSC 55 at 19-25, Sue v Hill [1999] HCA 30; 199 CLR 462; 163 ALR 648 at 83-88, Kingsman v Health Administration Corporation [2000] NSWSC 136 at 258-9, Buchanan, Donald v Lindisfarne R & SLA.-Branch and Citizens Club Inc and Returned and Services League of Australia [2003] TASADT at 13, 69, 79, 81, 85, 87, 94, 115, Services League of Australia Limited (Costs) [2004] TASADT 2 at 14-19, 21-24.

The law is crystal clear: the GG the Queen's representative, the Queen Head of State.

"...what it really boils down too is that becoming a republic involves either giving absolute power to politicians"

As Lewis points out politicans have absolute power under the monarchy, a rubber stamp who if they were to veto anything would amount to abolsute shock and disappointment (e.g. the King of Belgium vetoing abortion laws in 1992); CM are plagued with Constitutional crisises and are tacit fascism (when Howard deployed troops to Iraq where was the checks and balance? Oh that's right there was none, he reminded Michael Jeffery that he was THEIR man); indeed, all Parliament has to, to install a dictatorship, is pass a piece of legislation (during a State of Emergency) vesting executive and legislative power (i.e. the power to rule by decree in PM during such a State of Emergency, analagous to Fiji) and thereby zapping the GGs power from him or her (as Parliament overrides, or at least regulates, executive power: Brown v West). The Courts cannot do anything, especially if the PM has stacked the High Court with his or her people! Not hard to do. Even now, during a State of Emergency, the State Premier can already rule by decree (Public Safety Act). Furthermore, a Republic is "the rule of law, not the rule of men" - the monarchy, is the latter; the Britsh monarchy, is the result of bloodshed, slaughter, death, revolution, and perpetual tension from William the Bastard onwards and a result of tension between the King/Queen and Parliament. Its origins are hardly civilised (having said that neither is the American one). But two points: in America you cannot quite get the power to rule by decree, and look at Switzerland; they have citizen initated referenda (carefully regulated to ensure rational, open and empirical debate on key issues). Both Switzerland and America are the most stable and longest running democracies in the world; it ensures the votes of the people are heard and any laws against minorities can be struck down by the Courts beforehand (the judicary acts as the umpire as do the people, in Republics). Also, 23 out of the 25 Australian GGs were card holding political party members; 21 former members of Parliament. What were you saying about giving politicans more power? If you argue that the GG is Head of State, you must therefore condede we are ALREADY a politicans Republic.

"or creating a whole new set of politicians with a rival mandate and power structure to parliament."

Competition, not monopoly, ensures accountability, so you don't get rule by decree powers! Nevertheless, look at Ireland; their President, a politican, is less outspoken then our GG! Why? Due to regulation! So that is hardly an empirically valid argument! Furthermore, if you had at least 8 candidates nominated by a 2/3 majority of Parliament and chosen by the people, you would most likely get thinkers, sportsmen and women, academics, scientists etc as HoS. Not a philistine like Saxe Coburg-Gotha! You can still have the same characteristics of a monarchy (i.e. the glitz and glamour) but this time based on merit: http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/news/article-23429239-details/The+Queen+is+a+philistine+who+lacks+an+education,+says+David+Starkey/article.do

Alternatively, you can having rotating Heads of State, like in Switzerland (where people from each state choose a person, and rotate annually as President) - all the State Governors would be the "collective" Head of State, once every 8 years. Chosen either at ballots (optional voting) or on the internet (technology makes this so much cheaper).

Unlike Ms Saxe Coburg-Gotha, this would mean people like Doctor Fiona Wood, bipartsian would equal a non-politican (unlike now where most GGs are POLLIES!) or GG which costs 13 million dollars per year and has clearly codified duties!

Lord Best said...

Hasburg, you made a very convincing argument up until around half way through, where you devolved into petty bickering.
Perhaps the Queen is our HoS, but then, but what of it? Our system is more stable for it, and there is not mainstream movement for change any longer anyway.
I despised Howard and violently disagreed with his decision to commit troops to an unnecessary war in Iraq. But doing so was not unconstitutional so your point regarding Jefferies is quite immaterial.
Also Switzerland and America are not the longest running democracies, there are others. It really depends whether you take basic levels of democracy or uninversal suffrage as the starting point. I would hate to live in Switzerland, the same party has ruled the place for decades, talk about stultifying. Do not even get me started on America. A country where the president can give the CIA the authority to ignore an anti-torture bill and whos voting system is wretched with irregularities and opportunities for tampering hardly strikes me as a great role model for democracy.
Never mind that constitutional monarchies like Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, Canada, Autralia, Britain, Spain and Japan are all some of the best places in the world, not to mention the most free and democratic, eh?
As to monarchists being riffraif, I am a 23 year old university student, I am well mannered and sensible and am a firm believer in meritocracy. But merit needs to be tempered with constitutionality, or you end up with Napoleon, a man of undoubted brilliance but look what his meritocracy did to Europe.

Lewis, I WANT a referendum, so we can end the damn issue once and for all. I have no doubt as to the result. Anyone else remember ARM saying they would abide by the decision of the Australian people and disband whatever the result? A non-core promise I suppose.

Lord Best said...

Sorry for another double post, one of the problems with going away to research things.
I have been looking for evidence that the Hapsburg dynasty supports the republic, it does not. Here is a quote from Crown Prince Otto, the current heir to the Hapsburg throne:
"I am often asked if I am a republican or a monarchist. I am neither, I am a legitimist: I am for legitimate government. You could never have a monarchy in Switzerland, and it would be asinine to imagine Spain as a republic."
This could be interpreted as a republican statement in the sense he is not calling for a restoration in Austria, but he is hardly endorsing republicanism.
By the way Hasburg, you might want to learn how to spell Hapsburg.

Interestingly, according to a pamphlet provided by a friend studying law at the University of Melbourne, their law derparments position is that the Queen and the Governor General are BOTH our heads of state, which is not unprecedented, apparently, citing Switzerland.

Lachlan said...

the statement about a dual HoS makes most sense as Australia was created before the term HoS existed so it is a grey area.
maybe i should ask the law professor i know at melbourne uni about the subject for it would be an interesting topic to discuss.

Lord Best are you in Melbourne?

Lord Best said...

Not at present Lachlan, I will be returning to Melbourne to attend university at some point next year.

Hasburg said...

Sorry, Lord Best, that is MY surname, so when I was typing, I accidently wrote mine. Nevertheless, it is YOU who spelt it wrong even when you tried to correct me. It is spelt Habsburg. As for the evidence, no its actually Archduke Alexander who supports a Republic (he has recently joined ARM in fact), a member of that House. And duh, Switzerland, which is a Republic, and the worlds most stable, direct democracy would never become a monarchy. It ensures no concentrations of power due to contingency. I support an analogous adaption of the Swiss approach here in Australia (see below).

Switerzland has a "collective" Head of State, where the President rotates annually from members of the Swiss Executive Council. He or she carries no more powers than anyone else in the executive (i.e. he is first among equals). Nevertheless, as noted earlier, I disagree Australia has two Heads of State, it has one (the Queen), and the GG her representative. Remember the Queen has in the past decade assigned the GG with several new powers, as in Section 2 of the Constitution (so from a Constitutional POV she is Head of State, symbolic and Constitutional, as the powers RUN and STEM from the Queen and are reviewable by the Queen). The GG is her employee. Although for all intent and purposes, saying the GG is constitutional HoS is useful, but overlooks (A) the powers the Queen gives to the GG and (B) her powers of review; she is auditor and umpire of the Constitution and the GGs actions.

As to your other comments:
Hasburg, you made a very convincing argument up until around half way through, where you devolved into petty bickering.

~ I cannot teach a man, without insulting him.

Perhaps the Queen is our HoS, but then, but what of it? Our system is more stable for it, and there is not mainstream movement for change any longer anyway.

~ I certainly don't think people being able to choose their Head of State from Parliament's list, or the State Governor's rotating annually is going to make anything unstable; if Switzerland is anything it makes things more stable; it teaches us contigency makes things survive longer.

I despised Howard and violently disagreed with his decision to commit troops to an unnecessary war in Iraq. But doing so was not unconstitutional so your point regarding Jefferies is quite immaterial.

~ Erm, sorry, I did not say its unconstitutional, I simply made the point s68 is a weak check and balance, thus implying your argument that a Republic would give power to politicans fell into Hume's is-ought fallacy. Ought to be the case the GG is a check and balance, in practice, empirically, it isn't nercessarily the case. Indeed, the fact is the legislature wields enormous power over the executive (Barton v the Commonwealth; Brown v West).

Also Switzerland and America are not the longest running democracies, there are others. It really depends whether you take basic levels of democracy or uninversal suffrage as the starting point.

~ Um, example? Proof? I think they are. America is first, Switzerland is second. Some cite Iceland as first. I suppose when I say that, I mean the longest period of time without a civil war or the same document / ideals / Constitution operating, in effect, as an entire country with regular elections. Switzerland ironically gave women a right to vote on a local canton level in the early 1910s, but gave them a vote in the 1970s; ironiclly, though, it had equal pay before this, as well as abortion, human rights and refugee rights. Nevertheless, those three listed aove are all Repulics. Alas, correlation does not mean causation; although Switzerland makes great use of direct democracy.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/notesandqueries/query/0,,-80426,00.html


"...I would hate to live in Switzerland, the same party has ruled the place for decades, talk about stultifying..."

~ No, people are too busy thinking there. Switzerland's capital is the most prosperous place in the world to live, with an average IQ being cited at 120, with the highest standard of living. Nevertheless, erm, no, no the SAME party has NOT ruled for decades. Actually there is no ONE party RULING. Rather, there just happens that there is a "magic" number/formula, meaning the same parties get re-elected in a similar proportion. No one PARTY controls their Parliament, yet they work efficiently; they work faster due to CIR. This promotes a degree of consensus between the parties. It's amazing really, CIR reminds Parliament that the people have the final say, and makes them worker harder and faster and smarter.

Do not even get me started on America. A country where the president can give the CIA the authority to ignore an anti-torture bill and whos voting system is wretched with irregularities and opportunities for tampering hardly strikes me as a great role model for democracy.

~ Erm, yes, I am surprised the Supreme Court has not struck some of these laws down; nevertheless, their voting system was designed such that the "tyranny" of the majority never won over one branch of government. Arthur Schlesinger wrote a book called, "The Imperial Presidency", where he made serious of amendments that can be created; e.g. disbanding the President to rule by decree (which he can) and forcing him to withdraw troops if Congress declares so. I support these amendments myself in a new Australian Constitution (or statues, at least); the PM can rule by decree and zap away the GGs power during a State of Emergency and the PM/GG can deploy troops; if Parliament, or perhaps just the Senate, says 'no, you must withdrawl them' that must be followed. It is a simple check and balance.

"Never mind that constitutional monarchies like Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, Canada, Autralia, Britain, Spain and Japan are all some of the best places in the world, not to mention the most free and democratic, eh?..."

~ Whoa, NOT AT ALL! Am I suppose to conclude from that list that socialism and big government runs rampant in some of the countries that are CMs? No. Big government is freedom eg? Also, the Japanese Emperor hardly has no executive power. Sadly, it shall not conclude that correlation equals causation.Indeed, what is in common with the places you cited (US, Switerzland, Canada, Australia, Sweden to some extent etc) is that they have highly DECENTRALISED government (local and State); thus, power is DISFUSSED throughout various levels of government, and there is no concentration of power within one body that would allow for people to vent their anger at. I think it has more to do with Federalism, frankly, rather than monarchy v the Republic.

Nevertheless, if you want to play that game lets consider the following: 7 out of the 10 countries on the "propserity index" are Republics or have a Republican Constitution to them (they are free, democratic and have ECONOMIC freedom).

Hong Kong, Switzerland, the US, Germany, Ireland, Finland, Austria, Signapore... Last time I also checked India was getting better, China is getting bigger, Italty was doing ok...Bad logic there, mate.

As to monarchists being riffraif, I am a 23 year old university student, I am well mannered and sensible and am a firm believer in meritocracy.

~ Well, I said "generally" but nevertheless the 1999 referendum basically showed that the rich areas voted Republic, while the poorer areas voted no. It has do to with education levels. As for merit, oh yes, and Liz she worked really hard to get where she was. She is no Fiona Wood.

But merit needs to be tempered with constitutionality, or you end up with Napoleon, a man of undoubted brilliance but look what his meritocracy did to Europe.

~ Or you get King William the V who went on a dismissal rampage? Or you get a glorious revolution? Oh please. My prefered model of a "collective", rotating Head of State or if directly elected there would be caps. Nevertheless, it decentralises power and ensures one person doesn't hang around too long and get obssessed with power. The legislature keeps a tab on the executive, and the executive on the legislature; but I am worried about the legislature having too much power (from appointing judges to overriding, or at least regulating, the GGs reserve powers *in certain circumstances* (Brown v West).

Personally, when I think what Saxe Coburg-Gotha has done for the world, oh, wait, that's right...nothing, other than hand waving. I honestly cannot remember a single quote of hers, a single thing she did to change the world, in say, the way Ronnie Reagan or Thatcher did (Oh, I loved Maggie). Nope.... sorry, I just don't like the women. Complete parasite.

I WANT a referendum, so we can end the damn issue once and for all.

~ Oh, must we have a referendum? Can't we just get the State Parliaments to make us a Republic (there is a loophole where the Australian Constitution can be changed without resort to a referendum, the Australia Act accidently vested powers of British Parliament to the states, thus meaning they can amend the Australia Act).

Btw, its true, there is a loophole, but I wouldn't use it.

I have no doubt as to the result.

~ The Republic will prevail, ONLY if they had brains to implement things step by step. I must confess; I honestly think everything should be gradual. So start with codifying the GGs powers within a years time (like 5 other Commonwealth countries have done), then go on and make the GG directly elected or perhaps, as I prefer, having rotating directly elected State Governors (nominated in the manner I described earlier) acting as a "collective" Head of State. Then after all that, simply become a Republic by crystalling all the statues relating to the GGs powers and nominated and appointment method(using that same model already in place previously).

Anyone else remember ARM saying they would abide by the decision of the Australian people and disband whatever the result? A non-core promise I suppose.

~ Um, no, the model needed more inspiration and "uniqueness"; indeed, I, a Republican, would have voted NO - nevertheless, the Republic in polls has always scored higher than the monarchy; moreover, prima facie, if Republican support plummeted to levels as pityfully low as that of the monarchy, then yes, ARM would have to disarm. Although the monarchy did briefley reach support of 42% I doubt it will be that high when Charles takes the reigns. As I said, I am "gradualist".

Hasburg said...

* Oh and I know it can be spelt with a P (Hapsburg), although I prefer the German way (just me).

Anyways, after Law exams I shall put all my ideas to paper and write a book on all this.

Lord Best said...

My apologies Hasburg, you wrote it thus in the body of your post as well, I assumed it was a miss spelling.
Actually by petty bickering I was referring to your ill founded and petty mewing about Her Majesty, not anything you said to me. I would hardly be insulted. Funnily enough one of my politics lecturers met the Queen at a conference in London some years ago, arrived in London a republican, left a Monarchist. He coudl not believe how intelligent and knowledgeable she was.

A friend ofmy mothers migrated from Switzerland and visits regularly, most of her family are not happy there. From what she, and others, have said, I will stick with my view. Not saying it is a bad place, but I do not fancy it. Definitely a place to visit though.
I have never said republics cant be good countries, what I want to know is, given that our country is alreayd good, what impetus is there to change? Especially since the republican movement verges on farcical in its behaviour.

Getting back to generalisations, in my view most republicans are middle ages baby boomer ex-radicals who are desperately clinging on to what shreds of relevence they have and unable to shake off their generations rabid anti-British reaction against their parents generations loyalties. Just my generalisation, to even things out.

Whatever happened to diveristy, out of interest? Lets take another step towards a homogenous world of clone republics, where is the fun in that?

There are older democracies than Switzerland and the US. San Marino, the Iroqois Federation, Britain (1707 if you ignore how many peopel could actually vote). If you go by universal suffrage then New Zealand is the oldest democracy. Of course, many argue that the US is not a republic not a democracy so it does not belong on that list. And if you ask some Americans, they are the ONLY democracy in the world, because their system is th onl truly democratic one.

The GG is a constitutional safeguard, yet you ask what use he was in something that was out of his mandate? If he had intervened in a government action like that you or othe republicans would no doubt be accusing him of interferenceand calling for his dismissal.

New Hobbes said...

Beaverbrook, this could be an interesting article if you had insight to go along with reporting. You may dislike Obama, but there is a correction needed in he US. Republicans aren't conservative; they are anarcho-capitalists, and respect no authority more than money. They are as wrong if not more than the Democrats. The RNC has been a few sandwiches short of a picnic for decades, and the pandering to the theocrats is finally costing them. Canadian Tories have so far avoided such a stupid move, though a correction on both sides is necessary there as well.

We are at the cusp of a change, globally; the old right/left dichotomy is breaking down. The case for a type of constitutional monarchy is stronger than ever. It will be neither right nor left, or both- but the point is that these old concepts are not useful any longer.

Hasburg, you said "the only people who continue to be monarchists tend, although not always, to be riffraff, anti-merit and love the monarchy due to the escapism is generates for their own pointless, mundane, unimaginative lives" is certainly true for some, but your statement is too broad. It is certainly true of some who write this blog. Merit will become more important at least in the UK, though it must shake off the negatives brought by old Labour/Liberal ideas. On the other side, tradition for tradition's sake alone will change.

There is something that can come about in all Crown countries (meaning monarchical countries other than those with HM QEII as HoS), and it can make constitutional monarchy stronger. It will require leaving behind the worst of both left and right.

New Hobbes said...

that should be "meaning to include monarchical countries"

New Hobbes said...

Best-
"Funnily enough one of my politics lecturers met the Queen at a conference in London some years ago, arrived in London a republican, left a Monarchist. He coudl not believe how intelligent and knowledgeable she was."

Oh my. Sadly, I think your lecturer will be as deep a Monarchist as he was a Republican. HM Queen Elizabeth II is a wonderful sovereign; your friend may not have understood the benefits of monarchy were the sovereign not as wonderful.

"I have never said republics cant be good countries"

I'm sure you would agree that they are deeply flawed in many respects?

"Just my generalisation, to even things out."

Not far off in my experience, but I would add that they are additionally quite ignorant of both systems of government.

To the rest of the readers- does anyone else find that GGs in nearly every country have forgotten that they represent the Crown, that they are not the Crown? Surely we must clear up in every country the question of who the HoS is. If it is to be the GG, then you have appointed a president and are losing an important part of what makes a constitutional monarchy the best system of government on the planet.

Hasburg said...

"...There are older democracies than Switzerland and the US..."

~ The countries and places do no outweigh Switzerland or America. Anyways, as I said, I don't think correlation implies causation in this case; if anything it again has to do with decentralised government; all the "stable" countries you listed out, whether a CM or a Republic, have strong decentralised government. This is what many African nations lack.

"...The GG is a constitutional safeguard, yet you ask what use he was in something that was out of his mandate?"

~ You cannot argue he or she (GG) is a 'constitutional safeguard' if he does not keep the legislative branch accountable or in check. As I said, competition, not monopoly, ensures accountability. As I also explained, a simple act of Parliament can install a dictatorship here (as Parliament can regulate any law, codified or not, of the GG) - indeed, Jacob J and the obiter in Brown v West (that Parliament can limit the "scope" of powers of the GG) during a state of emergency Parliament can suspend the GGs powers. This is done moee easily if you stack the High Court with your people. This is one of the reasons I advocate that the people ought to have the power to choose the GG under a codified system of government where Parliament CANNOT override the powers of the GG (or President, whatever the case may be) and that the States should be assigned the power of choosing the High Court members (each state Premier nominates 1 person, State Parliament approves).

If he had intervened in a government action like that you or othe republicans would no doubt be accusing him of interferenceand calling for his dismissal.

~ Correct, as he was not democratically chosen (in the manner I described); this gives legitmacy to his actions and rightly keeps the legislature in tab.

Hasburg said...

Oh, please, a Constitutional monarchy is an anti-democratic, boring system of government and simply gives power to politicans (see above: there are problems with Parliamentary supremacy). No one knows who their GG is, no one cares, the GG often rubber stamps issues. In fact, I think monarchs ought to be entirely ridden out of history; I don't feel they actually do anything, certainly for Australia that a President or PM can do.

A CM is hardly the best system of government on Earth (I rank the Swiss, Irish and Finnish experience as more enjoyable); I see melding the status quo (i.e. a President excerising powers analagous to the British monarch, under a codified system of government - there would be a Parliament, a PM, of course), Swiss (directly chosen State Governors rotating annually as President, the President, after certain events, would be able to put issues to CIR and strong state rights), Irish- like system (ie. as noted, directly elect State Governors, but nominated by a 2/3 majority of Parliament, ensuring bipartsian support - more people can be added onto a ballot sheet) and American (judges elected on the advice and consent of Parliament and a bill of [negative] rights) models together as producing a better system of government.

All this would happen gradually, over a decade or so (i.e. these things listed would be applied to the GG), and then crystrallised (ie absorbed) into the Constitution when the Referendum comes up. We are not changing anything, if it is already part of our statues.

Moreover, we are loosing nothing (as all the touted benefits of a CM can be transfered to a Republic), but CLARIFY and fix so many loopholes in the status quo (e.g. the *potential* Parliament overriding executive common law powers and other abuses of powers).

Matthew Rae said...

We are fairly stable in Canada. Harper's general approach fiscally has been to provid incentives e.g. the new tax-free savings account (a la in the UK, I think), transit credits, etc.
On the housing front, we are very solid, actually Harper's done away with 40-year amortisations and zero-down schemes (although you can still borrow the downpayment).
The Canadian dollar has retreated 15 odd cents in the past month or so, mostly following the drop in oil.
All-in-all, steady as she goes.
BTW, Manley has chosen not to stand for the Liberal leadership. Might be a yawner between Rae, Ignatieff and Hall Findlay.

Dunraven said...

I must say that I was disappointed in David Flint in reviving the term, 'crown republic', which to me is only manipulative palaver; it is a desperate deceit designed to appease republicans, confuse the masses, and gain their support, but like all deceits it is fundamentally flawed and is doomed to failure. It is a contradiction in terms or, as Best has said, an oxymoron and it should never have been introduced into the the debate. I am, as many Australians are, a monarchist or royalist, not a 'crown republican', and I do not live in a 'crown republic' but in a constitutional monarchy, with HM Queen Elizabeth II the ultimate Head of State as Queen of Australia. Clarification and definition of terms are fundamental and vital to the debate and to monarchists and the constitutional monarchy prevailing against republicanism in the short, medium, and long term. David Flint's use of the term 'crown republic' is a setback for the monarchist movement and the constitutional monarchy in Australia. And the saddest part of it is that it should never have occurred.

Anonymous said...

Beaverbrook: "I'm Canadian, Hear me Roar

Give it up for the beaver and the maple leaf. Her Majesty's Canadian subjects can afford to be a little smug these days as the rest of the world goes to hell in a handbasket."

I thought roaring and being smug are what Canadians did best. As for republicanism not being an issue in Canada, that's your good fortune. Here in Australia, the constitutional monarchy is continually challenged and fighting for relevance and its continued existence--and so it should if it's to remain a viable institution. It is precisely because Australian monarchists took the monarchy as an institution for granted for so long that republicanism became a real threat and a real force in the constitutional debate in Australia. If the monarchy survives the next ten years in Australia, it will be entrenched and at least survive, if not thrive, for generations to come. If it fails to survive, then it deserves to perish. A bit of social Darwinism and natural selection through the survival of the fittest may not be a bad thing for the monarchy in Australia: if monarchy is naturally the stronger as compared with republicanism, then it should triumph; if it proves to be weaker, it deserves to die. Time will tell.