Taken from the Liberty Newsletter April 2017
The Multicultural Statement:
The Australian government has just issued ‘Australia’s multicultural statement’.
It talks about ‘Our shared story’ and owing our accomplishments as a nation to the contributions of more than 300 different ancestries—from the First Australians to the newest arrivals.” It mentions the foundation of modern Australia, through British and Irish settlement (in the colonial days I rather thought the Irish were British?) and the establishment of our parliamentary democracy, institutions, and law.

BUT nowhere does it mention that our constitution is established under the Crown! 
Of course, this is not unexpected. In fact we had written to the Prime Minister to specifically request that any statements regarding multiculturalism or Aboriginal recognition must make mention of the fact that we are a constitutional monarchy.
The problem is that there are republicans right throughout the Coalition government including the persons responsible for the multicultural statement, the Minister for Social Services, Christian Porter MP and his Multicultural Affairs Assistant Minister, Senator Zed Seselja.

No wonder, new citizens not only know nothing about our system of governance under the Crown but obviously are led to supporting a republic when the ministers in charge of them are themselves republicans, despite their having given their allegiance to the Queen to enable them to take up their seat in the parliament. There is a word to describe such persons.

The Australian Monarchist League has tried to overcome this pro-republican blockage by producing a booklet on “The Story of Australia” for schools and new Australians but not having the sort of backing the republicans are attracting, we were unable to obtain the funding required to mass distribute amongst State and Federal MPs and schools.

Issues Facing the Electorate
There are two issues facing the Australian electorate at the moment.  The first is in relation to same-sex marriage. This is not a constitutional issue but one of law.  However, there is a lot of misinformation put about by politicians and the media in regard to the government’s proposal of holding a plebiscite.

The fact is, a plebiscite is a non-binding poll of the electorate to determine their wishes on a particular matter. A plebiscite cannot change the law. Only the parliament can do that.
The Parliament will decide on the mechanics of a plebiscite, how people are to vote - whether postal, at a polling booth or online - or a combination of two or more of these. It will also determine questions to be asked. Funding may or may not be provided to the ‘yes’ and ‘no’ cases.

If a plebiscite is held then the government is morally - but not legally - bound to follow the dictates of that plebiscite. However, it would be a very brave government which thumbed its nose at the will of the people.
The end result can only be by a vote in the Parliament to amend existing legislation. A plebiscite, as mentioned, has no power other than advise politicians on the thinking of the people.

The other issue is in regard to change to the Constitution to recognise the indigenous people as First Nation or something along those lines - the goalposts seem to change with every taxpayer-funded conference they hold.

The disturbing factor is that many politicians and political activists see the Constitution as a way of making political statements.  This should never be.  The Australian Constitution is the rulebook for running the country not for grandiose politically-correct statements to suit any particular moment.

Despite many announcements no formal proposal has as yet been put forward. We hear that a number of Aboriginal groups, for there are many, do not want constitutional recognition only as they see that as lacking power. What seems to be proposed is a treaty, or more probably a series of treaties, between the Australian government and the Aboriginal peoples leading up to a constitutional change to create a third tier of Parliament for Aborigines only.

At the moment this is only supposition but seems to be an indication of the way matters are slowly moving.  It is certain that the 50th anniversary of the Aboriginal referendum of 1967 will pass without any constructive development taking place, only more words.

Of course, the years of debate are doing nothing to alleviate the problems of poverty, malnutrition, sickness and lack of education affecting a large proportion of the indigenous population. Surely that should be taking priority over any sort of political dealings? Likewise, should not Aboriginal housing, health and education be a priority for the disbursement of funds received by traditional owners from royalties and the suchlike?

Our stand on the matter of constitutional recognition remains as it is always been and that is: “all under the Crown are equal and none should be any more equal than anyone else.”

As Joseph de Maistre, philosopher at the time of the French Revolution, had said “A constitution that is made for all nations is made for none.” This is something well worth us bearing in mind when faced with proposals to change our Constitution. (emphasis added…ed)
Philip Benwell
National Chair

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