Australian Constitution & Govt Illegitimate?

Heres an interesting history lesson about Australia.

Most believe the Australian Constitution became law on 1 Jan 1901 (The Federation) … but in fact it was not until 1942 with the introduction of the Statute of Westminster Adoption Act 1942 that we “legally” became a nation independent of the British Imperial Parliament. This meant citizens could no longer overrule the highest court in Australia by appealing to the British Privy Council or the Queen.

BUT was any of this legal at all??

Australian FlagIn 1999 Australia held a referendum. We were asked TWO questions:

Question 1 asked If we wanted to become a Republic – independent of the Queen and Commonwealth – with a President chosen by a Parliament voted by the people.

The nation voted NO.

It was expected a second referendum would be held with the “direct-vote” republican model – but ultimately we were denied.

But here is the most important part …. the 2nd question.

First some history – The Oz “Constitution was approved in referendums held over 1898–1900 by the people of the Australian colonies.” (Wikipedia – Constitution of Australia) How many of those people voted? 11% (assuming one vote per person) – and the amount of votes you got, depended on how much land you owned (plural voting was still practiced at the time). Also, a large majority of the country’s population did not qualify for enrolment to vote – eg. 99.9% of Indigenous, Asian and African immigrants, women in most states, etc etc.

Until 1999, this was the only time the “nation” voted in a referendum to accept the Australian Constitution as law of the land. So in reality, the Australian Constitution (and therefore the govt who swears to uphold it) had not really been “approved” by the majority of Australian people at all.

By 1999 this had become a source of contention about the legitimacy of not only the constitution itself, but the Australian Commonwealth Government, and ALL LAWS that have been made under that constitution (including the all important Australia Act 1986).

The 2nd question in the 1999 referendum was supposed to resolve this problem of “illegitimacy” by asking the Australian people to agree to the inclusion of a “Preamble”:

“With hope in God, the Commonwealth of Australia is constituted as a democracy with a federal system of government to serve the common good.
We the Australian people commit ourselves to this Constitution:”

95.1% of the nation voted in the 1999 referendum. Do you know what the Australian people voted on the 2nd question?

NO, they answered.

That’s correct. At 60.66% the majority of Australian citizens voted AGAINST commiting ourselves to an imperial, illegally imposed constitution, government, and laws. None of it is legal!!

We are either living under an imperial dictatorship of the Commonwealth, or we are a truely fresh and free land – having been granted legal independence by the Queen in 1942.

So which is it that we wanna be fellow Aussies??

Are we going to continue to allow those people who pretend to represent us, to continue leading us into illegal wars that really have nothing to do with us? To allow Australian representitives to condone and be involved in torture and slaughter? To steal land of the Indigenous Australians a SECOND time through mining, fracking, and storage of nuclear waste?

The time is now to stand up for the values we truely believe in as Australians!

We must remove the old corrupt political system that has been built from an authoritarian British installed prison colony, and is overrun by traditionalist old croneys who are about to kark it – and create something modern and new for a truely free Australia of the future.

Further Reading:

edit (31 Aug 2013): Corrected citation link for 11% population statistic. Original link was

3 Responses to “Australian Constitution & Govt Illegitimate?”
  1. Joshua Robertson says:

    Very interesting, however very revolutionary….

    • Thanks for reading and for your comment. You’re right about it being a revolutionary piece – it’s purpose is definately intended to challenge the status quo. It’s important Australians learn more about their history and also think about where we heading. I’d much rather be writing a celebratory piece about Australians implementing a Bill of Rights. 🙂

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