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Wyatt Promises Indigenous Recognition Referendum Within Three Years

The Minister for Indigenous Australians, Ken Wyatt, has announced that the Morrison government will hold a referendum within three years to entrench Indigenous Recognition in the constitution.

Wyatt
Minister for Indigenous Australians, Ken Wyatt, speaks at the National Press Club

Speaking at the National Press Club in Canberra today, Wyatt stressed that the government would only proceed if it was certain that a referendum would succeed. “It will take time, it will need to be measured,” he said.

“We need to design the right model to progress to a point at which the majority of Australians, the majority of states and territories and indigenous Australians support the model so that it is successful.”

Wyatt said he would work across the political spectrum to develop the model. He said the ALP’s Indigenous spokeswoman, Linda Burney, would be “integral” to the process.

The minister said he was committed to bringing an indigenous voice to parliament, but that this may not be part of the constitutional reform. [Read more…]


Morrison, Albanese And Hurley Speak Following G-G Swearing-In

Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese have spoken at ceremonies following the swearing in of the new Governor-General, David Hurley.

All three men spoke of the role and value of the Governor-General’s position.

Hurley was sworn in at a Senate ceremony at 10.30am today. His first constitutional duty will take place tomorrow when he opens the 46th Parliament.

Watch the speeches (28m):

Listen to the speeches (28m):


David Hurley Sworn In As 27th Governor-General Of Australia

Retired General David Hurley has been sworn in as Australia’s 27th Governor-General.

Hurley
David Hurley takes the oath of office as Governor-General

The ceremony to install Hurley in place of Sir Peter Cosgrove took place in the Senate chamber at Parliament House.

Hurley, 65, was the 38th Governor of New South Wales from 2014 to 2019.

Listen to the swearing-in ceremony (16m):

Watch the swearing-in ceremony (16m):


Election Officially Over As Writs Returned By AEC

The 2019 Federal Election is officially over, following today’s return of the writs by the Australian Electoral Commission.

The AEC returned the writ for the House of Representatives elections to the Governor-General, Sir Peter Cosgrove. Writs for state senators were returned to state governors. The Senate territory writs were also returned to the Governor-General.

The writ is an official command from the Governor-General to the AEC to conduct elections. Section 12 of the Constitution specifically outlines the requirements for Senate writs.

Now that the election is over, Section 5 empowers the Governor-General to summon parliament. This must occur within thirty days of the return of the writs. The government has already indicated the Parliament will meet on July 2. The Governor-General issued a proclamation to this effect on June 19.

Media release from the AEC announcing the return of the election writs.

Writs Returned


Governor-General Summons 46th Parliament For July 2 Meeting

The Governor-General, Sir Peter Cosgrove, has issued a proclamation summoning the 46th Parliament to convene on July 2.

The proclamation was issued on the advice of the prime minister, Scott Morrison, in accordance with the Governor-General’s power under Section 5 of the Constitution.

The first day of the new parliament will be largely ceremonial. All 151 members of the House of Representatives will be sworn in, as will the 40 senators elected on May 18. The other 36 senators, elected in 2016, remain in office until the next election and do not need to be sworn in.

Proclamation issued by the Governor-General, Sir Peter Cosgrove.

Proclamation


Senate Refers Nash And Xenophon To High Court; Hinch And Gallagher Safe; Hanson Audit Motion Defeated

The Senate today voted to refer Senators Fiona Nash and Nick Xenophon to the High Court. The court, sitting as the Court of Disputed Returns, will rule on their eligibility to nominate at the 2016 election.

The government leader, Senator George Brandis, moved that Senator Nash be referred, in order to determine whether she was a British dual citizen in breach of Section 44(i) of the Constitution.

Senator Xenophon moved to refer himself to the High Court. He delivered a statement explaining that he was born in Australia to Greek and Cypriot parents. He said that “out of an abundance of caution” he had renounced any rights to Greek or Cypriot citizenship but had been advised that he might hold British “overseas citizenship” on account of his father having been a British subject before he migrated to Australia.

The Senate heard a statement from Senator Derryn Hinch (DHJP-Vic). Hinch explained the circumstances in which he was eligible to receive a United States government pension. The government and the ALP have agreed that Hinch’s circumstances do not warrant a referral to the High Court.

The Senate also heard a statement from Senator Katy Gallagher (ALP-ACT). She explained the circumstances which gave rise to the possibility of her holding Ecuadorian and British citizenship. No attempt was made to refer Gallagher to the court.

Senator Pauline Hanson (One Nation-Qld) moved to establish an audit of all members of parliament to clarify their eligibility. The government and the ALP both opposed the motion and it was defeated by 43 votes to 13.

The High Court will hear the dual citizenship cases next month. In addition to Nash and Xenophon, it will hear the cases concerning Scott Ludlam, Larissa Waters, Matthew Canavan, Malcolm Roberts and Barnaby Joyce.

  • Watch the Senate proceedings (39m)
  • Listen to the Senate proceedings (39m)

Hansard transcript of Senate proceedings to refer members to the High Court.

Senator BRANDIS (Queensland—Attorney-General, Vice-President of the Executive Council and Leader of the Government in the Senate) (10:07): by leave—I move:

That pursuant to section 376 of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918, the Senate refers to the Court of Disputed Returns the following questions— [Read more…]


George Williams On Dual Citizenship And Same Sex Marriage Survey

Professor George Williams, Dean of Law at the University of New South Wales, has addressed the National Press Club on the dual citizenship issue and the same sex marriage postal survey.

Williams suggested that the Turnbull government is “running against the grain of existing High Court authority” in relation to the marriage survey and the seven dual citizenship cases currently before the court.

In his address, Williams called for a range of constitutional reforms.

Williams, 48, has been Dean of Law since 2016. He was admitted to practice in 1993 and served as an associate to Justice Michael McHugh in the High Court. He has worked as a solicitor and barrister and has extensive academic experience at a number of universities.

A member of the ALP, Williams has unsuccessfully contested preselection on two occasions.

  • Watch Williams’ Address in full (59m)
  • Listen to Williams’ speech (33m)
  • Listen to the Question and Answer session (25m)

Transcript of Address to the National Press Club by Professor George Williams.

The Constitution is not normally front-page news in Australia. Despite the profound impact it has on our politics and society, it is easy to see why.

The United States Constitution reflects its revolutionary origins in beginning with the famous call “We the people.” By contrast, our Constitution is contained in a British Act of Parliament that opens with:

Whereas the people of New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Queensland, and Tasmania…

“Whereas” is hardly the sort of beginning that gets the heart racing. In addition, these words are not even complete. They fail to mention Western Australia, which joined the Federation just before the commencement of the Constitution in 1901. [Read more…]