8) FEW THOUGHTS ON EXTRA CONSTITUTIONAL SAFEGUARDS FOR THE PEOPLE
In the previous Chapters the Constitutional and legal powers available to the people to get what they want, and to protect themselves against the manipulators of party politics, have been outlined.
The question now arises whether additional Constitutional safeguards are required to further protect the people. In this chapter a few thoughts are advanced.
Clearly, whilst the Commonwealth and State Constitutions give the people the power to have their Lower Houses of Parliament dissolved at any time of the people's choosing, there is presently no authority:-
(a) For the Upper Houses to be sent back to face the electors when they so WILL it.
(b) For any Senator or Legislative Councillor to be forced to face reelection at any time the electors so WILL it.
(c) For any electorate to have its existing Member, Federal or State, sent back to re-contest his seat if a majority of his electors so WILL it.
The inclusion of all three above powers in both Commonwealth and State Constitutions are essential to give the electors even more effective control over their parliamentarians and the machinery of Parliament, and make both more sensitive to the requirements of the people.
To bring any Senator, Legislative Councillor or Member back to face a re-contesting of his seat ought only to require a simple majority of electors in each of the three constitutional areas to inform the Govenor-General or State Governor - which ever is appropriate - that it is MY WILL that "so and so be sent back to recontest his seat in his House of Parliament."
It may be contended that such a constitutional provision would make the Houses of Parliament unworkable because the actions of opposing groups would involve Members and Senators in continuous elections. Such a contention, however, misses the point that electors would not be interested in recalling a Member or Senator who was giving public evidence of faithfully performing his judicially defined legal function and duty. Naturally legal safeguards would have to be included in the Constitutions making it illegal, even an act of conspiracy, for any recall of a Senator or Member to be initiated, organised and or financed from outside the electorate concerned.
In this work it is not intended to go into the question of the actual machinery necessary to allow the electors to replace any Member or Senator whom they have recalled. Rather it is the purpose to raise the point for serious study by the electors themselves as to how they may determine what basic protection changes they want in their Constitutions. Undoubtedly there would be many competent persons who could work out the machinery necessary to give full and proper legal effect to the WILL of the electors in this matter.
Another extremely vital protection element for the people is that no treaties, international conventions or agreements, and the like, should be entered into by Parliament, or by executive action, without the specific consent and authority of the people themselves. This point is raised because such things are agreed to, far too often, without the people having the faintest idea of the direct and indirect legal and other significances and consequences of such actions.
Indeed, few would be the politicians, let alone the people, who would have any conception of the far reaching effects that many such Treaties, agreements and conventions could have upon Australia and the Australian way of life. Under the influence, if not the manipulations, of international interests, theorists and idealists, Ministers of the Crown far too often persuade the legal government and the Houses of Parliament (under party control) to agree to bind the nation and States without the full implications of the legal, political and economic impacts being first thoroughly publicly debated.
Even at this moment of writing there are agreements and conventions afoot of which, in Australia, few indeed have any real knowledge; agreements and conventions that can have far greater impact upon the liberty and way of life in this country than some Ministers would care to fully explain.
The people should also insist that the Commonwealth and State Constitutions be tightened to make it absolutely impossible for Ministers of the Crown and Houses of Parliament to effect, what some would call, snide changes in the Constitutions without a referendum of the people. Those who have made long and deep researches into constitutional law are aware how these changes can be affected without the real understanding of the people and most politicians.
It cannot be denied that this country is suffering from "government by regulation" and many writers have drawn attention to this indisputable fact. In Commonwealth and State Parliaments the volume of legislation which is implimented by subsequent departmental regulations is quite unbelievable. Even during the last War, the noted N.S.W. constitutional authority, Dr. Frank Louatt, K.C., was moved to direct attention to the fact that for every 1000 pages of Acts of Parliaments there were over 5000 pages of regulations.
In their own interests the people should forbid the passing of any legislation which requires departmental regulations to impliment it. If regulations are thought to be required then the parliamentarians, party pressures notwithstanding, must be adamant that the departmental officers seeking those regulations shall be brought before the bar of the House of Parliament and made to publicly prove that such regulation is absolutely vital in the interests of the people.
This Chapter advances but a few thoughts: a few of the many arising from many long years of Constitutional research, coupled with both parliamentary and departmental personal experience. They are offered to stimulate deeper thought and study by the reader of this book.
It has been said of the great Henry Ford_of the "tin lizzy" fame_ that he once stated:-
"It matters not how many degrees you may have after your name, unless you can think, you are uneducated."
The writer hopes that the contents of this book will make you
AND THEN ACT.
"BUT THEY SHALL SIT EVERY MAN UNDER HIS VINE AND UNDER HIS FIG TREE; AND NONE SHALL MAKE THEM AFRAID;...."
MICAH I V, iv.