The Governor-General and the Constitution (letter)by S. MorganNews Weekly
, February 12, 2005
Sir David Smith's paper "The Governor-General is our head of state" (News Weekly
, January 8, 2005) establishes conclusively that that is so. As a keen follower of the head of state discussion, Australians for an Information Discussion on our Constitution (AIDC) adds two facts that confirm further this fact - if indeed further proof is needed:
"When designing the Australian Constitution, the founding fathers had before them the Canadian Constitution which describes the Queen as Canada's head of state, and they drafted a Constitution for Australia which contained no such provision. Instead they gave us section 61, which, as Lord Haldane, the Lord Chancellor, expressed it in 1916 and again in 1922, put the Sovereign in the position of having parted, so far as the affairs of the Commonwealth
(of Australia) are concerned, with every shadow of active intervention in their affairs and handing them over, unlike the case of Canada, to the Governor-General
Until the August 1992 edition of the Commonwealth Government Directory, the Directory announced only the name and date of appointment of a Governor-General. Under the Prime Ministership of Paul Keating a new heading was introduced in August 1992, namely "Function: He is the head of state". In the December 1996 edition, however, these words were removed from the "Function" section, but continued in be listed under the "Arrangement of entries" section for the March 1997 and June 1997 editions.
The December 1997 edition omitted the words, "He is head of state", altogether. These words were then reinstated for the following four editions! Mysteriously, once more they were again removed in the October 2000, March 2001 and 2002 editions - the latest available to AIDC.
An earlier F.O.I. request seeking to discover the reason for their original insertion, and on whose authority, produced no answers - likewise for their removal. Australians are therefore entitled to receive answers to what should be transparent happenings - especially of such constitutional importance.
AIDC is non-political and seeks only to encourage an informed understanding of our constitution and relevant matters. It believes that, were the Queen of Australia our head of state, an official document would assuredly state this.
To AIDC's knowledge, no such document exists. But if anyone can identify such a document, would they please advise us all of its source and authority? Failing the production of such a document, AIDC submits that, as Sir David summed up in his submission No. 20A to the Bolkus Inquiry:
"We have the Queen of Australia as our sovereign. We have the Governor-General of Australia as our head of state. We are a sovereign and independent nation."
Unless someone can rebut Sir David's paper to the Bolkus Inquiry, using reasoned argument with detailed references, dates and sources (as does Sir David), then his assertions may be regarded as final.S. Morgan,
Australians for an Informed Discussion on our Constitution,