No vote for you!

14 10 2007

Little Johnny has paid his visit to the GG and the election has been called for November 24. If you are 18 years old and not enrolled to vote, sucks to be you because you have only until 8pm tonight to get on the electoral role before they close. It wasn’t this way before.

There used to be a 7 day period after the writs were issued during which you could update your details or get on the roll for the first time. But since the Electoral and Referendum Amendment (Electoral Integrity and Other Measures) Bill introduced by the Howard Government last year that is no longer possible. And we call ourselves a democracy. What a fucking disgrace.

At the 2004 election 136,000 people aged 18-25 enrolled after the election was called. That must be more than 1% of the entire adult population that have just been disenfranchised. How did we let the little weasles in the Liberal Party get this one by us? Maybe Australia was just too busy worrying about all those Sudanese refugees hanging around in groups of 3 or more and scaring the nice white people.

So just to sum up. 18 years old and not enrolled? Yes? Then the Liberal party have just denied you one of the most fundamental citizenship rights. And why is that you ask? Electoral fraud? I’m going to call bullshit on that one. Its because John, Pete, Phillip and the rest of their cohort are pretty sure that you won’t vote for them anyway (younger voters tend to go for the left of centre parties) and if that’s the case then you musn’t deserve a vote.

I swear if these guys get back in, I’ll have to leave the friggin country for the next three years.

In the interests of accuracy, you apparently have until Wednesday to enrol, which is still fucked. Don’t miss your chance to vote Howard out.


Is Australian Federation Broken?

12 09 2007

I’m currently writing a research essay for a constitutional law subject that requires me to have an opinion and I was hoping that babbling about it would help me get my own thoughts straight.

The recent High Court decision in NSW v Commonwealth (the decision upholding the Workchoices legislation) was a ruling that many would have seen as a long time coming based on the previous authorities. But the true extent of the expansion of the Corporations power under 51(xx) of the Australian Constitution needed to be spelled out. Effectively the majority decision gives the Commonwealth very wide power to use the Corporations power to legislate indirectly on Industrial Relations. This was never envisaged by the framers of the Constitution, but that in itself is not sufficient to make the decision wrong.

Kirby in dissenting, stated that the High Court needed to ‘rediscover the essential character of the Constitution’ and I think that I tend to agree. Being quite left leaning in my views I generally tend to favour ‘big’ government that intervenes in the economy to effect social outcomes. But having watched the Howard government over the last decade I think I have moved closer to a ‘small l’ liberal position where I see the Australian federal compact as an effective way of limiting the power of the Commonwealth government.

The Australian Constitution in contrast to the Canadian Constitution (which establishes a federal system similar to our own), read literally sets up a very decentralised federal system of government. The moves towards centralising power in the Commonwealth have largely come from evolving interpretations in the High Court rather than Constitutional amendment. It is notoriously difficult to amend the Australian Constitution by referendum so maybe this approach by the court has been a necessary one. After all the Constitution should be seen as a living document that evolves and adapts to suit modern circumstances. The world we inhabit now has changed markedly from the one in which the Constitution was drawn up, and much change occurred during and in the aftermath of the two world wars.

It would seem apparent that the Australian system of government would be a poorer one without its federal nature. It encourages innovation admittedly often through bitter disagreement but generally, I would argue, produces better outcomes. It is not in our interests that we allow the Commonwealth Government to reduce the states to mere service providers.

Kirby’s reasoning in the Workchoices decision, in invalidating the legislation was not based upon the heretical ‘Reserved State Powers’ Doctrine. This doctrine exemplified in the 1920s decision in Huddart Parker v Moorehead stated that there were implied limitations on the powers given to the Commonwealth based on the assumption that certain powers and responsibilities were ‘reserved’ to the states. This decision was overruled in the Engineers case and the High Court has never gone back. Thus it will get you nowhere to argue in front of the High Court that power over Industrial Relations is reserved to the States.

It is apparent also from the authorities on what activities of constitutional corporations (foreign and trading or financial corporations) are covered by the Corporations power, that a very broad range of activities are covered. This includes activities incidental and in preparation to trading and on the broadest view, covers any activity done by constitutional corporation. Kirby in Workchoices could not then argue that matters related to employment did not fall within the Corporations power as it would appear that battle has been lost long ago. What Kirby did argue is that 51(xx) should be read subject to 51(xxxv) of the Constitution. This provision relates the the Commonwealth’s power over industrial disputes that extend beyond the limits of one state and provides for a Conciliation and Arbitration commission to deal with such disputes. Any Commonwealth legislation regarding industrial relations has long been based on this power.

Kirby’s argument was essentially that the Commonwealth could not defeat qualifications to this power by using another power, 51(xx), to indirectly legislate for that subject matter. To do so would render the industrial disputes power in the constitution a nullity. I accept this view and it is difficult to understand how the High Court adopted an interpretation that effectively destroys a particular section in our constitution. With any luck, if the Howard government is voted out at the coming election the balance in the High Court may start to shift closer to Kirby’s view point, though it may be a bit late for Kirby. Unfortunately, he may have to spend his remaining years on the bench, in dissent.

Leave a comment if you have one.

Kevin, Kevin, Kevin…

19 08 2007

I really hope Rudd doesn’t lose the election over tittygate. I’m still going to vote greens but he is the lesser of two weevils.

Greens spoof of Labour party Howard ad.

9 08 2007

I think I’ll vote for them.

Nine loses electronic program guide case

9 08 2007

Channel 9 can go fuck off too.

Congrats to IceTV

Another nail in Howard’s coffin…

9 08 2007

Sorry to all those people with mortgages but I jumped for joy when the Reserve Bank announced that rates would be going up yesterday. I have a fair share of debt for a 23 year old and I’ll take a hit, but I don’t fucking care. Anything that harms the prospects of that slimy little, deceitful, arrogant, dishonest, immoral, lying man getting re-elected is OK with me. And he can take his fucking Workplace propaganda ads with him along with the Australian Industry Group and the mining company bastards and Tony Abbott and Christopher Pyne (can anyone listen to that guy without wanting to punch him?) and they can all go piss off.

Now I feel better.

All Australians deserve free health care

9 08 2007

Great article here by Catherine Deveney, who occasionally seems a little bit mental but I fail to understand people who do not agree with this basic premise.