||Issue No. 167||21 February 2003|
Scales of Injustice
Interview: Agenda 2003
Peace: The Colour Purple
Industrial: Long, Hot Summer
Solidarity: Workers Against War
Security: Howard And The Hoodlums
International: Industrial Warfare
History: Unions and the Vietnam War
Review: Eight Miles to Mowtown
Poetry: Return To Sender
Satire: CIA Recruits New Intake of Future Enemies
The Locker Room
Who Let The Troops Out?
Wagga Wagga Calling
Ode to Johnny
Letters to the Editor
Who Let The Troops Out?
Who gave authority for our troops to be sent to Iraq or any other country for that matter?
Clause 68. of the Constitution says; "The commander in chief of the naval and military forces of the Commonwealth is vested in the Governor-General as the Queen's representative".
I wrote to the G-G when our troops were sent to Afghanistan and his reply was" The title of Governor General is purely titular and he has no power to order troops anywhere".
This being the case, just who is sending our troops overseas and on what authority?
John Howard referred to "our constitutional arrangements" on the 7-30 Report when he used Bob Hawke as his example of executive authority from the first Gulf War.
Our constitution was written when Queen Victoria ruled and the Governor General was her representative.
When the constitution was developed we took a lot of the USA's constitutional arrangements on board.
In particular, the convention of the separation of powers, which is designed to prevent any of the three arms of government (namely, the Executive [prime minister and inner cabinet], the Parliament [The Queen, the Senate, and The House of Representatives], and The Judiciary [the High court]) having untrammelled power, one over the other.
Under our constitution the people are sovereign and so a decision of this magnitude must have the legal authority sourced from the people. This must be done to ensure that people sent to war on our behalf are given the protection of law relating to their actions and to their subsequent injury or disease cannot be weaselled by future governments as has been disgracefully done by successive governments to the Vietnam Veterans and their widows, since 1983 and our most recent fatality in Afghanistan.
We therefore need to make it absolutely clear where the legal authority to make this most serious decision has its roots.
The authority to make the decision to go to war has moved to the point where now, John Howard is behaving more like a president of a banana republic. He has, it seems, more personal authority than George Bush who must get his authority to proceed to war from Congress.
In other words, we find ourselves drifting into a constitutional limbo. A change to our constitution will be the only way to prevent us handing unlimited power to the Prime Minister of the day, when the office of the President of the USA has restraints placed on it.
It seems to me that we need to call an immediate referendum to amend our Constitution so that the people retain sovereignty by voting on the question of going to war. Or the Parliament decides in a sitting of both houses and the Governor General issues the mobilization order.
10 Grosse Road
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