PQ Wolves Want A Vote On Eating Anglo Sheep For Dinner

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And so all things come to pass.

Thankfully, the most repugnant thing in Canada today has come to pass, at least for the time being, as the Quebec PQ Government, headed by socialist xenophobe Pauline Marois, heads to the polls on 7 April.

Marois has declared her Government is fighting against corruption left behind by the Liberals, which is ironic given the Charbonneau Commission will cease hearings for the duration of the election.

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On a Queensland House of Review


Rsz_1197515_108482069234461_1417439_n (1)March 24, 2012 was a historic day in Queensland's history, writes Michael Smyth

Not only due to the utter devastation for the ALP, but also due to its ushering in of "conservative" rule in this state; a sign that the Right in Queensland has shaken off the spectre of Joh.

Before the apologists of Joh get outraged by such a statement, I want to clarify what I mean.

Joh did some good things for Queensland, but his government was ultimately undone by the shortcomings of some of its members.

Whether you love or hate the memory of Joh is irrelevant. The reason that I cite this is that Joh would not have been able to do so much had there been an upper house.

In 1922, the ALP won a landslide victory and decided to abolish the Legislative Council, a move that was questionable from a constitutional point of view.

This led to the ALP holding government for decades, until the 1950s, when the Coalition parties finally won back the Legislative Assembly. This ultimately led to the Joh era, and the expansion of Queensland, but the issue here is the means by which it was expanded.

Due to the fact there is no Upper House, Joh was able to implement his reforms without any opposition from the parliament.

This sounds good in theory, except when you fast forward to the Beattie and Bligh years (1998-2012), where bad laws were made and such an appalling lack of transparency became so apparent that even Tony Fitzgerald complained about it.

Tony Fitzgerald, for those that don't remember is the guy who ran the Fitzgerald inquiry that exposed corruption in Joh's ministry.

So when the proverbial horses mouth comes out and says something along the lines of Labor makes Joh look vaguely translucent, you know you've got a problem.

Freedom of Information requests were frequently ignored by the Beattie government.

So how do you fix this problem? How do you prevent abuses of power – by either side – in the face of only having a unicameral parliament?

You can't really prevent it, once you've cleared the Legislative Assembly, it goes to Government House for Royal Assent, and under our conventions, it is signed into law.

To prevent Joh happening again, and to prevent Beattie from happening again, an Upper House should be restored as a check and balance of our Westminster system.

It is good for constitutional democracy to have the powerful kept in check by a proportional representation of the people.

QUESTION: Won't this mean that reforms don't get pushed through as quickly if they are obstructed by a recalcitrant Upper House?

ANSWER: Yes, but the payoff is that bad policy gets filtered out, or turned into good policy, by consultation with the other parties. It is not healthy to have one party controlling the political and policy agendas.

QUESTION: Why should we allow the Greens (or any other minor party) representation in the parliament if they don't have enough votes to gain a seat in the Assembly?

ANSWER: Because the way our system works in Australia, as a clone of the old Westminster system, is that the state (or country) is broken up into electorates with a roughly equal number of voters, and then to protect the rights of all citizens there is proportional representation for each State (at federal level), and each group of people who feel a certain way at State level.

QUESTION: Won't this cost us more money?

ANSWER: Everything costs money these days, but realistically speaking, we have not increased the number of State electorates for more than two decades. Surely, when we have the money again, we could easily facilitate a restoration of the Upper House, so that no group of voters can make the claim that the government does not represent them.

However, if money is a concern, and at this time it is, it would be feasible to reduce the number of MPs – even if only for a short time – in order to facilitate the restoration of accountability.

QUESTION: What about the Parliamentary Committee system that has been set up?

ANSWER: The Parliamentary Committee system that was set up merely serves to rubber stamp the government’s decisions. There is also the remuneration aspect of each Parliamentary Committee, and each MP sitting on each Committee. Finally, in regards to committees, it detracts from the representative work that each MP does for their constituents.

The 14 years of Labor government serve as a cautionary tale, to those of us who love liberty.

It is our civic duty as citizens, to ask for accountability from our politicians, instead of waiting every three years to undo any policy that could be put through in the night.

There are people with similar complaints about the incumbent LNP government. We need accountability from our politicians, and accountability that does not come just once every three years.

Michael Smyth is the Queensland Branch Treasurer of the Australian Monarchist League

VOTE ‘NO’ TO LOCAL GOVERNMENT REFERENDUM GROUP FORMED MEDIA RELEASE

“Australians opposed to the local government referendum have officially formed and welcome the support of any Australian opposed to Canberra’s power grab”, said spokesperson Peter Reith.

Mr Reith’s comments follow the introduction of the Referendum Alteration (Local Government) Bill into the House of Representatives last week. Former Councillor, Julian Leeser, will be Convenor of the Vote ‘No’ campaign, with the support of Mr Reith, Dr Gary Johns, Nick Minchin and Tim Wilson.

“We welcome any Australian who wants to stand up to Canberra’s power grab”, Mr Reith said.

“Anyone opposed to this local government referendum can register their interest at:

www.nopowergrab.com.au

“We’re building a broad-based coalition of people, regardless of their political background, to defeat this Canberra power grab. We want organising committee members, activists, donors, anyone prepared to play a part – big or small – to defeat this Canberra power grab”.

“If you want local communities to provide services based on local need, not Canberra priorities, you will want to sign up”.

“The Constitution isn’t just any old piece of paper, it’s the document that limits the power of Canberra politicians and bureaucrats and outlines the very structure of our democracy”.

“Canberra politicians and bureaucrats are trying to change the Constitution that limits their power using every trick in the book at their disposal”.

“The Vote ‘No’ group is standing up against Canberra’s power grab”.

“$21.6 million of public money is being used to campaign for this referendum. The Australian Local Government Association is amassing a $10 million ratepayer-funded campaign war chest. The Federal government has appropriated $11.6 million for a campaign that they have admitted will be a defacto ‘yes’ campaign”. Under questioning, Senator Jacinta Collins stated in the Senate:

“Certainly we will be looking at a broad education campaign, but a component of that campaign will be a position where the government seeks to advocate that there are strong benefits in accepting what is proposed in this case”. – Senator Jacinta Collins, 15/05/2013

“Defeating this referendum will require every Australian standing up for their community and services being delivered on local need, not Canberra priorities”, Mr Reith said.

Media contact Peter Reith: 0408 803 891, Dr Gary Johns: 0438 290 852, Tim Wilson: 0417 356 165, Nick Minchin: 0427 462 469, Julian Leeser: 0419 630 955

Why strengthening the state weakens humanity

Highlighting one international judge's view on State-sanctioned attrocities

Cross-posted from Major Karnage

I have just had to read through the entire ICJ decision on the Jurisdictional Immunities (Germany v Italy) case, including the mammoth dissent by Brazilian Judge Antônio Augusto Cançado Trindade, which was longer than the leading judgment and all of the other separate and dissenting opinions combined. I’ve been reading up on the guy a little and it sounds like he’s the ICJ version of Michael Kirby (anyone who has studied law in Australia would know what I mean).

I did come across one portion of his judgment that I thought would be worth reproducing. The case in general concerned judgments made in Italy against Germany for war crimes committed between 1943 and 1945. The issue was whether Italy had the right to put Germany on trial for war crimes or whether Germany had state immunity.

Trinidade thought they should, and he spent 88 pages constructing a legal system where the interests of humanity prevail over the interests of States and people subjected to massacres and slave labour would be entitled to justice in any legal jurisdiction. Fanciful? Maybe, but definitely compelling.

This is the best point that he made IMO, it concerns how the State creates a collective identity that dehumanises the individual to the point where atrocities like the ones committed by Nazi Germany can occur. These acts could never have been carried-out by

individual people without the State structures giving them the physical means and resources, as well as the psychological impression that they were “doing their job” rather than committing acts for which they were accountable.

Dissenting opinion of Judge Cançado Trindade

XVII. The State-Centric Distorted Outlook in Face of the Imperative of Justice

172. The beginning of the personification of the State ⎯ in fact, of the modern theory of the State ⎯ in the domain of International Law took place, in the mid-XVIII century, with the work of E. de Vattel (Le Droit des gens ou Principes de la loi naturelle appliquée à la conduite et aux affaires des nations et des souverains, 1758), which was to have much repercussion in the international legal practice of his times. The emphasis on State personality and sovereignty led to the conception of an International Law applicable strictly to the relations among States (the jus inter gentes, rather than thejus gentium), that is, an inter-State legal order; it amounted to a reductionist outlook of the subjects of the law of nations, admitting only and exclusively the States as such.

173. The consequences of this State-centric distortion were to prove disastrous for human beings, as widely acknowledged in the mid-Xth century. In the heyday of the inter-State frenzy, individuals had been relegated to a secondary level. To G.W.F. Hegel (1770-1831), ⎯ apologist of the Prussian State, ⎯ for example, the individual was entirely subsumed under the State; society itself was likewise subordinated to the State. The State was an end in itself (Selbstzweck), and freedom could only be the one granted by the State itself. Hegel endorsed and justified the authoritarian and absolutely sovereign State; to him, the State should be stronger than society, and individuals could only pursue their interests within the sovereign State.

174. From the late XIXth century onwards, legal positivism wholly personified the State, endowing it with a “will of its own”, and reducing the rights of human beings to those which the State “conceded” to them. The consent of the “will” of the States (according to the voluntarist positivism) was erected into the alleged predominant criterion in International Law, denying jus standi to individuals, to human beings; this rendered difficult a proper understanding of the international community, and undermined International Law itself, reducing its dimension to that of a strictly inter-State law, no more above but rather among sovereign States. In fact, when the international legal order moved away from the universal vision of the so-called “founding fathers” of the law of nations (droit des gens ⎯ supra), successive atrocities were committed against human beings, against humankind.

175. Such succession of atrocities, ⎯ war crimes and crimes against humanity, ⎯ occurred amidst the myth of the all-powerful State, and even the social milieu was mobilized to that end. The criminal policies of the State ⎯ gradually taking shape from the outbreak of the I world war onwards ⎯ counted on “technical rationality” and bureaucratic organization; in face of the aforementioned crimes, without accountability, individuals became increasingly vulnerable, if not defenceless. It soon became clear that there was a great need for justice, not only for the victims of their crimes and their relatives, but for the social milieu as a whole; otherwise life would become unbearable, given the denial of the human person, her annihilation, perpetrated by those successive crimes of State.

176. It was at the time of the prevalence of the inter-State myopia that the practice on State immunity took shape and found its greatest development, discarding legal action on the part of individuals against what came to be regarded as sovereign “acts of State”. Yet, the individual’s submission to the “will” of the State was never convincing to all, and it soon became openly challenged by the more lucid doctrine. The idea of absolute State sovereignty, ⎯ which led to the irresponsibility and the alleged omnipotence of the State, not impeding the successive atrocities committed by it (or in its name) against human beings, ⎯ appeared with the passing of time entirely unfounded. The State ⎯ it is nowadays acknowledged ⎯ is responsible for all its acts ⎯ both jure gestionis and jure imperii ⎯ as well as for all its omissions. In case of (grave) violations of human rights, the direct access of the individuals concerned to the international jurisdiction is thus fully justified, to vindicate such rights, even against their own State.

Major Karnage can be followed on Facebook or Twitter.

 

It’s time for more “State” governments

Paul-McCormackThe process of decentralising government in Australia should begin in North Queensland, writes Paul McCormack.

As a conservative who has watched the events of the past fortnight in Victoria with a considerable degree of renewed hope, it should come as no surprise that I am an advocate for an increased number of ‘State’ governments in Australia. However, I am not arguing for more State governments because they have been successful; I am arguing for more of them for the reason that State governments are not truly representative of the regions in a geographical or social context. However, current State governments are so enshrined in the Constitution that the changes made must be incremental rather than revolutionary. For this reason, advocates of regional government for the future must adopt the language of “States” to pursue our objectives and the Constitution is obviously the only means to achieve this end.

The States were the original colonies of Australia and it was only their acceptance of the federation that ultimately enabled it to come to fruition. Interestingly, the three States that were most reluctant about joining the Commonwealth were Western Australia, Queensland and New South Wales. The pivotal role of the States, rather than any particular allegiance to decentralism, was in all likelihood the catalyst for the protected place of the States in the Constitution. Moreover, it was interstate rivalry that led to the creation of the Australian Capital Territory. Canberra, which has flourished as the nation’s capital and one of which we should all be proud, came into being largely because neither Sydney nor Melbourne could tolerate the prospect of the other being made the capital city.

Nevertheless, the story of Australia since federation has essentially been one of the increased powers of the Commonwealth at the expense of its State counterparts. Legal historians often trace this back to such cases as The Engineers Case but very few, if any, deny that the Commonwealth has grown as Australia has grown and the institutions that have had to give in order for this power shift to happen have been State governments. This change to a more national approach has basically been in sync with the lives of Australians in that time up till the present. We’re less attached to States than ever before. More Australians (such as myself) tend to have lived in more than one State in our life and we are far more parochial than provincial as a nation.

With this in mind and high levels of dissatisfaction among the electorate, it does raise the obvious question of “where to from here?” for State governments. I believe the Constitution offers us a means of truly ‘moving forward’ to reform State governments in such as way as to satisfy those who staunchly defend State governments and those (such as myself) who see more value in regional governments. It is to be found in Section 124, which pertains to the formation of new States:

A new State may be formed by separation of territory from a State, but only with the consent of the Parliament thereof, and a new State may be formed by the union of two or more States or parts of States, but only with the consent of the Parliaments of the States affected.”

There are many defenders of our current States who will argue that they are regional governments. I reject that assertion, although I accept that “region” is one of those words that can be very broadly interpreted. (Julie Bishop comprehensively exposed Julia Gillard’s lack of thought on this matter when the Government was explaining its misconceived East Timor ‘regional processing centre’ plans earlier this year.)

The region of North Queensland is very distant to that of the southeastern corner of that State. The sheer scale of the Sunshine State is hard to comprehend for those of us from the southern states but one of the most revealing facts is that there is less distance between Melbourne and Brisbane than between Brisbane and Cairns.

Therefore, North Queensland should be the first (but certainly not the last) new Australian State of the 21st century. For this to occur, however, the clincher within the Constitution is obviously “the consent of the parliament thereof.” The ALP is sympathetic to local governments but is a centralist beast by nature. Therefore, the task will likely fall to an LNP government to initiate this new State. The support of the federal branch of the Party is obviously very important to its success. When Queensland will lead, other states will follow; it is not just a big State in size! It would be likely that growing populations in regional areas of other States (far removed from their capital city) would be able to see the model to follow.

I am not the first person to advocate this arrangement and I won’t be the last. New States will make governments more regional and this will be a good thing. It is said that “all politics is local.” Political authority and representation that is more local (i.e. closer to the people) is an outcome that is the ideal of all decentralists. The founding fathers of our nation had much wisdom in the way they drafted the Constitution and it is clear in the chapters that they saved the best for last, even if it is now the case in Australian politics that the first (State/colonial governments) have become the last. New States that are truly representative of regions in Australia will strengthen the position and legitimacy of all States, something that will undoubtedly be healthy for our country and our democracy.  

Paul McCormack is a high school teacher in Wagga Wagga. He writes exclusively for Menzies House.

Why have the Social Democrats monopolised State Government over recent years?

Matthew-KellyMatt Kelly analyses why the centre-right has not been able to fully connect with the wider voting public.

Education and health issues would appear to be the reason that slick union-backed marketing campaigns headed by mouthy Marxist apologists have convinced electors that they are better off with the high taxing 'consensus' policy choices of the ALP rather than the alternative.

But honestly, where has the centre-right gone wrong in selling the message that it has a better approach based on competency and integrity? Take NSW as an example: the last time NSW had a centre right government the youngest voter was born in 1978. That voter is now 32 and has on average 2.3 children. Why don't they wish to see an alternative government?

The answer it seems, is that they are not inspired. Barry O'Farrell is competency personified but what can he offer that particular 32 year-old that the Labor machine hasn't thought of already? O'Farrell's action plan cites economic growth as the number one goal – a great motherhood statement we all want that but here's the catch – you already are number one! It wouldn't matter if you had the likes of Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott at the helm, NSW is the Premier State and, for the foreseeable future, will outstrip Victoria as the diversified powerhouse of the Australian economy.

So what are O'Farrell's second and third priorities to bring our 32 year-old centre-right friend on board? Quality services and renovated infrastructure. Bullseye! Localised ability to formulate policies that will promote quality services have fallen into desuetude in direct proportion to the increase in a world class economic foundation that we see at the federal level. A fair and equitable taxation system, a fair and equitable welfare system, defence spending at about the right level, infrastructure spending similarly so, industrial relations – pretty good, international relations – all good. So what we see is the Howard-era reforms having left our 32 year-old voter happy as a pig in mud when it comes to these meta-policy issues but dazed and confused, and living in the debris of sour jokes, when looking at their local neighbourhood.

O'Farrell's fourth priority, restoring accountability to government and giving people a real say on issues that affect their lives is laudable but we must ask, is it perceived as sophistic rhetoric by the electorate? Centre-right politicians have been losing government time-after-time because the message is hollow. It is not hard for committed conservatives/libertarians to believe O'Farrell will do this but what of the broad spectrum of electors of NSW?

So why have the Social Democrats, the guilty Socialists, won the debate these past years?

They have won because intelligent, committed conservatives and libertarians have failed to articulate an alternative message that incorporates the fundamental requirements of good hospitals and schools for all, and have failed to articulate commitment to giving our kids a better chance at life. Despite innumerable failures by the Social Democrats, extrapolation of the reason that we need to ensure that our representatives do not embarrass us or show us up to be fools incarnate has not cut through the lowest common denominator media culture. Holding this culture to account has to be high on the agenda of the centre-right parties' executives.

Ultimately, what is wanted at the state level of government – arguably the level of government most worth fighting for – is the ability to deliver quality services and infrastructure. Centre-right candidates, with their variegated life experiences and commitment to personal freedom and liberty, have the unique ability to choose good civil administrators to run the programs that will provide quality services. They also have the ability to tap the public purse and credibly seek the backing of the polity when big ticket items, and hard decisions, need to be made. Selling both these qualities should not be hard. The vagaries of economic growth do not cut it with 32-year-olds happy with a revitalised federal sphere of government, and the blessings of the mining boom, and unaccustomed to seeking accountability from entrenched political elites.

Social Democrats, the guilty Socialists, will be defeated when they are taken on in the contentious areas that we can most make a difference in: services and infrastructure. Rusted-on Labor voters will walk a mile from their traditional representatives if they trust the centre-right candidate to deliver results in these areas.

The elegant solution to the problem of interminable and ordinary Labor administrations at the state level is that parties that deliver these results also have the ability to offer economic growth and accountability in addition to these core competencies to an increasingly desperate electorate. What is certain is that the unconscionable machinations that underlie Social Democratic politics will conspire to ensure that their representatives and their administrations are never able to deliver all of these blessings in the same political cycle.

Matt Kelly is a member of the Tasmanian Liberal Party who has a distinctly libertarian political philosophy. Matt is a businessman focussed on the property and transport sectors and holds the degree of Master of Arts from the University of South Australia. Matt is currently undertaking an MBA at Murdoch University and, appropriately for a resident of Hobart, enjoys the antediluvian past-time of Real Tennis.

States Rights or Euthanasia Debate?

Cory-BernardiSenator Cory Bernardi questions whether the Greens are truly interested in the rights of the states.

The divisive Greens Party have opened up a new campaign on euthanasia, this time dressed up in the cloak of 'states rights'. Although on this occasion it is a territory (whose citizens don’t want it to be a state) that the Greens are demanding states rights for. Confused? Well so are Bob Brown and the Greens Party.

Under our Constitution, there is a sensible separation of powers between the states and Commonwealth. Sometimes these separations become blurred with the Commonwealth playing a stronger role in influencing state policy than it should, but there are limits as defined in the Australian Constitution. This is not the case in regard to the two territories. Whilst they have self government, they do not have the status of states in our Constitution and thus Federal Parliament can make laws that more directly apply to them.

This was the case when the Northern Territory introduced euthanasia laws in 1996. Three people used these laws to end their own life before euthanasia was once again made illegal by an amendment in Federal Parliament to the Northern Territory (Self-Government) Act 1978. The reason (there may be others) that the Commonwealth could do this was simply because the Northern Territory was not a state and thus isn't afforded the same constitutional rights as the states.

Given the constant assertion by the pro-euthanasia lobby that public support for euthanasia is 'around 80 per cent', it was surprising that the Northern Territorians subsequently rejected a referendum to make them a state just two years later. A ‘yes’ vote in this case would have given Territorians the right to re-enact their euthanasia laws – yet it was decisively rejected.

This suggests to me that euthanasia is scarcely a vote changer for many people and the apparent public support for it is directly related to the question they are asked to respond to. Experience demonstrates that how polling questions are phrased can influence the outcome markedly and pro-euthanasia campaigners are skilled at manipulating such outcomes.

I also note that when a Voluntary Euthanasia Party runs at state elections, the vote is a tiny fraction of the claimed public support, suggesting a tiny minority of people actually consider this a priority matter.

For the Greens though, few things (except perhaps gay marriage, higher taxes and an Australian republic) are as important for them. This is another example of the Greens having their policy priorities all wrong. This was exposed to me when I sought to introduce a Private Senator’s Bill to implement measures that would protect disadvantaged children from horrific child abuse by Australians taking foreign sex tours and the Greens wouldn't allow it to even be debated.

Now the Greens want the Federal Parliament to overturn the amendment moved in 1996. Surely if the Territorians themselves felt so strongly about euthanasia or having the same rights as a state, they would have voted for statehood just two years later?

As they didn't, it would appear that Bob Brown and his band of radical reformers are more interested in this issue than the Territorians themselves and is another case of the Greens having the wrong priorities. Now why doesn’t that surprise me?

Senator Cory Bernardi is the Shadow Parliamentary Secretary Assisting the Leader of the Opposition and a Senator for South Australia. This article is courtesy of his personal blog which can be found at http://www.corybernardi.com.