Monday, November 3, 2008

Sir David Smith, Mr. Harry Evans and republicanism by stealth

Mr. Alan Ramsey’s Saturday column in The Sydney Morning Herod contained an account of a fascinating exchange of correspondence between Sir David Smith K.C.V.O., a monarchist and former Official Secretary to the Governor-General, and Mr. Harry Evans, a republican and present Clerk of the Senate.

Sir David wrote in protest against Mr. Evans’ interpretation of the following sections of the Constitution:

59. The Queen may disallow any law within one year from the Governor-General's assent, and such disallowance on being made known by the Governor-General by speech or message to each of the Houses of the Parliament, or by Proclamation, shall annul the law from the day when the disallowance is so made known.

60. A proposed law reserved for the Queen's pleasure shall not have any force unless and until within two years from the day on which it was presented to the Governor-General for the Queen's assent the Governor-General makes known, by speech or message to each of the Houses of the Parliament, or by Proclamation, that it has received the Queen's assent.
Mr. Evans asserted in the eleventh editions of Odgers' Australian Senate Practice that “'(Provisions in the Constitution - ss 59 and 60 - for a bill to be reserved for the Queen's assent are now not operative).'” But sections 59 and 60 have not been changed in a referendum and remain fully operative, recent non-use notwithstanding. Mr. Evans said that they were inoperative in

the same sense as a ship is inoperative when tied up at the breaker's yard with her engine dismantled
which is plainly a misrepresentation. Sir David rightly expressed his surprise that Mr. Evans

should take it upon [himself] to make a judgment about what some future government might or might not do in relation to a section of the Constitution that is still alive and well and full of life.
The exchange of letters ended in a compromise: Mr. Evans changed his comment to

Provisions in the Constitution for the interpolation of the monarch into the legislative process do not now operate
in the twelfth edition of Odgers' Australian Senate Practice. ‘Do not now operate’ is an improvement, but now the involvement of the monarch has become an ‘interpolation’, which is hardly the best choice of words.

What we see here is another example of ‘republicanism by stealth’, softening us up for the inevitable second thrust to depose H.M. The Queen.

Reginaldvs Cantvar
All Souls’ Day, 2008 A.D.

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