Extraordinary and Reprehensible Circumstances.
In 1975, the then Whitlam Labor government, which had been in power for just three years after 23 years in opposition, was being hounded ruthlessly and viciously by the press and the Opposition, over a series of events that pale in comparison with what we are witnessing in Canberra today.
A seemingly innocent, if not poorly thought-through attempt to raise overseas funds for infrastructure projects went horribly pear-shaped. Ministers were replaced for misleading parliament and the whole affair prompted a calculating Opposition to block supply. This ultimately led to the sacking of the government by the Governor-General, on the grounds of ‘extraordinary and reprehensible’ circumstances.
Comparing that episode in our political history with the farcical events of today, we must wonder why the Governor-General has not stepped in already, to resolve what is a much more serious example of ‘extraordinary and reprehensible’ circumstances.
In just over five years, the government has had three prime ministers, lost its majority, refuses to account for the legitimacy of one of its senior ministers and has a serious undermining factional issue that threatens its ability to govern effectively.
To ignore the oncoming impact of climate change, and trash a bi-partisan National Energy Guarantee (NEG) plan that would ensure distribution and supply of electricity, is a disgraceful abdication of its oath of office.
The NEG was designed to provide certainty to the business sector and its future investment plans, something which is critical to the economic well-being of all Australians.
Then came the resignation of Julia Banks, the threatened resignation of Craig Kelly who is about to lose preselection, former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull’s call for an early election to save the NSW Liberal government and the very public statements of discord by Craig Laundy, Julia Bishop and others. It demonstrates all too clearly, the government has become so toxic, it cannot govern.
The Labor Opposition has ruled out blocking supply, presumably to maintain the high moral ground and probably comfortable in the knowledge that a federal election is only six months away. Its consistent lead in the polls over the past two years almost assures it of winning in May 2019.
But can we afford to wait that long? With such chaos in play, a prime minister who appears unable to control his party and the internal party blood-letting only threatening to worsen, surely it is time for the Governor-General to act.
We are entering a critical time, economically and diplomatically and are entitled as a people and a nation to have this matter addressed.
Our economy is slowing as we speak, in line with a slowing of the Chinese economy. Confirmation of this can be seen by the fall in clearance rates of weekend auctions in the housing market. They have fallen from an average of 69% a year ago to 48% today. Furthermore, our growth rate is insufficient to cater for what will be rising levels of job seeking in 2019.
Tensions between the USA and China and the emerging conflict between Russia and the Ukraine will be a testing time. The present government has lost its credibility with our international partners and is in no position to deal responsibly with these issues.
We need certainty in decision-making and confidence in our administrators. At the moment, we have neither. Without sufficient prompting, the Governor-General will not interfere. We need a movement to campaign for a March 2nd election.
There are too many reasons not to act. The prime minister, Scott Morrison, is clearly out of his depth and his parliamentary and party woes further weaken his government’s ability and its competence. They should present themselves now to a bewildered and increasingly unsettled people. But they will never do that. The prospect of an electoral wipeout makes them shudder.
They will stay in government until dragged kicking and screaming from the government benches.
Something has to give. What will it take to mobilise a protest movement? If a small group of schoolgirls can mobilise a national one-day school strike on a non-existent budget to protest inaction on climate change, how hard can it be for Bill Shorten and the Opposition, Get Up, Change.org and other such groups with all the resources at their disposal, to mobilise and bring the government to account?
We should be demanding an election on March 2nd, 2019 on the grounds of extraordinary and reprehensible circumstances, just as happened in 1975. To wait until May only allows this pathetic collection of misfits to inflict further damage on our economy and our international reputation.
26 commentsLogin here Register here
John, I think the Governor General can only call for an election if the Prime Minister advises him to do so.
I may be wrong, but I believe that is the protocol.
If it is correct, I cannot see Morrison doing anything to shorten(no pun intended) his reign as PM.
Apart from that, I doubt the GG is a Labor man!
wnen will all this conflick pass over then get on and running off the country ,seems more time in all partys are trying to outdo one and another ,and i think no matter who they are they get good money to put things right for all of us not just for a few , when some of these promises are made it is always in the distant time ,but by that time they may not be in power ,time they all woke up and do what they get money for and help the ones in need ,i wish i could get the money to sit on my ass and get paid well for it , when i left work like many others it seems that we are forgotton but it all boils down that we worked hard for them to get where they are now i have gave so much to my country but as i said the rich get richer, and poor get poorer , there is no pot of gold when you get old no matter what you did all your life .it has to all stop .it seems to me once they get their noses in the ftoff of power they dont like to get out
It will not be enough for this mob to be defeated at the next election, they need to be destroyed. Reduced to a rump. Then they need to split into moderates and conservatives.
In historical terms this period of Mudochracy on 3 countries will be seen as the nadir of Murdoch’s pernicious influence. The death throws of this kakistocracy is a sight to behold yet none of it is at all surprising. The same will unfold in Britain and the US over the next few years.
Then Murdoch will die knowing his life work is all about to unravel.
Of course it would be great to see the back of them sooner than later but all indications are that the longer they wait the worse things will get for them so there is no need to hurry.
To paraphrase Keating I want to see them die slowly.
The future is looking good.
John Kelly, your second last paragraph says it all; well said!
I am increasingly disappointed by the number of seemingly concerned Australians who want the Governor General to remove a government that at the time of posting retains the confidence of Parliament. That is not how our system works and God forbid it ever should. Your dislike of any government does not constitute grounds for such undemocratic intervention.
Oh how we protested at that time. How we railed against an unelected representative of a foreign royal (the Crown) dismissing a democratically elected government, chosen by the Australian people. And now some want a repeat! An action replay!
How quickly the outrage is forgotten. Wrong then! Wrong now! Wrong in principle. Just wrong, wrong, wrong! For fu@k sake.
Nothing will save the Governor General. Kerr’s cur! And so on.
@Potoroo: There was no test of the House for confidence in the Whitlam government in 1975, only the sycophantic legal opinion of Barwick CJ, the interference of CIA General Black (or Green?) and later disclosed input by Sir Antony Mason J. Fraser knew what was occurring, but may not have been wholly in the loop.
Jenny Hocking has made a life long study of this corruption of Australian democracy by the Australian borne-to-rule establishment, so check out her many academic articles.
I don’t think the GG has anything to do with it. I would have thought this government should be brought to the attention of the ” World Circus Association “
Matters Not: thanks for the lead/led heads up. On the other point you make, yes, we protested, but the final decision was left to the people. I have waited ever since, maintaining my rage, for the moment when that wrong would be righted. The hour hath come. Take hold and thrust the dagger deep.
The “extraordinary and reprehensible circumstances ” was indeed the slogan used at that tumultuous time but the official cause of the sacking was Whitlam’s inability to get supply bills passed (at that time) and therefore could not govern. There were some Liberal Senators who were about to buckle when Kerr made his move.
The other option for the GG to remove a government is a loss of confidence vote in Parliament, which seems to creep closer every day.
The third but unlikely option is a revolutionary overthrow and popular uprising or a military coup.
However the most satisfying of all is at the polls where we can witness a losing government die the death of a thousand comments on TV and scrabble for excuses and start “blame-storming”.
@New England Cocky
Kerr is the exception that proves the rule. His unprecedented and premature intervention (the Whitlam government still had nearly two weeks of money left), is precisely why GGs should refrain from acting without the utmost need and no, it doesn’t matter how intensely you dislike the government. That’s politics and the GG’s job is to stay out of politics. I don’t understand why people keep bringing Kerr up as a justification to act anti-democratically when he should be the exemplar of everything a GG should not be or do.
John Kelly, whether the people ultimately decided is/was NOT the point. The main issue was the act of dismissal itself. A Governor General is simply an overpaid rubber stamp with some expensive trimmings whose role is to do what the Prime Minister of the day advises.
He doesn’t even have to understand what he is signing. And even if he does (or doesn’t), it’s irrelevant. The role is to be that of a ceremonial head. Nothing more. A groom of the stool.
” A groom of the stool.” And the stool, I mean Prime Ministool…darn it, Minister…is leaving his horrible brown stain all over the parliament, the country, and overseas.
Extraordinary and reprehensible ???
Should we expect anything different from a dirty filthy rabble of crooks and thieves ?
Look at the picture and tell me if any of those bastards raising their hands to support the dickhead-n-chief, have any self respect ? The so-called nice guys, John Anderson, the ‘lovely’ Sussan Ley, the ‘effervescent’ Julie Bishop etc, all enthusiastically and with broad grins or grimaces prepared to be seen publicly backing their knobhead leader ??
It gets hard to comment on this government on so many aspects.
Henry Rodrigues, I don’t know what they are ‘voting’ for, but if I look carefully, I think Bishop, Banks and Laundy seem to the least enthusiastic about issue at hand….?
@Potoroo 2: There is no doubt that Curr acted inappropriately, but he was being pressured by CIA General Black because the foreign policy of the USA (United States of Apartheid) under Nixon at that time called for US domination of everybody, and Australia under Whitlam was considered a “socialist country” and so fair game for CIA hi-jinks.
Check out the book, “The Falcon and the Snowman” by one of the participants.
Curr was an alcoholic with a reputation as a fixer and an ego to match. He was a Whitlam appointment.
The crap about the journo being removed for “showing too much skin on her arms” is incredibly puerile and childish. To put it bluntly, I would rather look at the journos “too much skin” than see the the ancient turkey neck arms of Julie Bishop.
Scummo, oops, El Prime Minister for Life, Emperor and Master of All has just shown that he’s a power hungry little shitheel –
Using “Speaking to reporters tonight, Mr Morrison said the rule change was “putting the power back into the hands of the Australian people”.” is a pathetic and disgusting excuse to keep himself from being “Et tu brute’ed” by other little dictators in training…cough…potato..cough, cough. This really smacks of a (used to be a bit of a joke) potential coup and martial law takeover of the country. Should we become a little more concerned? With all the new security laws that have shown up and are trying to be slammed through by Scummo and Crony Co, I would say, yes.
Helvityni………..you’re right, it doesn’t matter what the vote is about, its just like the blind following the dumb. Laundy, Bishop and Banks seem perpetually deflated after Malcolm’s departure, but still intimidated enough to go through the motions.
According to one local University historian Whitlam had too many strikes against him in the eyes of the USA and had to go.
Strike 1 was our exit from Viet Nam and our diplomatic recognition of China.
Strike 2 was Whitlam’s insistence that we share in the intelligence being gathered at Pine Gap and other US installations but Strike 3 was about our yellowcake/uranium exports.
The USA had a global patent on processing yellowcake but France developed a new system. Whitlam thought that we should “add value” by refining our own yellowcake using the French process so the USA would lose the monopoly.
The CIA put pressure on MI5 who in turn pressured Kerr to act.
In 1977 at a meeting with US government representatives later a message was delivered to Whitlam from President Jimmy Carter apologising for the USA role in overthrowing Whitlam and (falsely) suggesting they would never again meddle in the politics of their allies.
The release of the personal letters from The Palace still being held would clear the matter up but these will probably remain sealed for at least our lifetimes.
@New England Cocky
I know about ‘The Falcon and the Snowman’. What does any of that have to do with the fact that Kerr is only useful in this argument as the epitome of what Cosgrove should not do? All over social media the moment you point out that he has no grounds to intervene people bring up Kerr as if that appalling precedent makes anti-democratic interference by the GG somehow acceptable. Cosgrove sacking Moralsnone would only bring us closer to fascism, not hinder it.
@Zathras. That is part of the story. It was a joint MI6/CIA operation (just like Iran 1953). Jenny Hocking is doing her best to uncover the British end. More significant was the role of “The coupmaster” Marshall Green. He oversaw the coup in South Korea, then went to Indonesia, then to Chile to remove Allende. He was then sent to Canberra in 1974 to deal with the “Whitlam problem” (direct quote from US declassified documents.
It is one major reason why successive Australian governments have toed the American line ever since.
Potoroo, the strength of a system is indicated by its weakest point. The fact that a snivelling drunk, a vacuous imbecile can be appointed into a position with enough power to destroy the system shows one that this position is pernicious and ought not to exist, at least in this guise and with this much power.
Kerr is a phosphorescent exhibition of what is normal and not the opposite. Kerr can recur ad infinitum. Kerr may stay dormant for a while -a long enough while for us to think his position is simply a since cure, that he is a benign creature but he can also raise his putrefying head at any time.
The GG is a Trojan Horse, ready to release a jungleful of wild beasts to tear up Democracy, as it did with Gough. Let us not fall asleep, let us not placate our rage and let us not be so arrogant as to think that we’ve won the battle against the countless hordes of barbarians.
That would be lethal!
“sine cure” not “since cure!” Bloody autocorrect!
I could not agree more John.