Tuesday, June 16, 2009

On yesterday’s Tele’s “on this day” column

Are the only Mediæval events which the mainstream media deem worthy of commemoration the ones which fit into the grand progressive narrative of mankind’s glorious march towards Fukuyama’s liberal ‘end of history’? From yesterday’s Sydney Daily Telegraph:


King John averts a civil war by stamping the royal seal on the Magna Carta at Runnymede, England. It guarantees a list of citizens' rights.


Wat Tyler, leader of the English peasants’ revolt against heavy tax on the poor, is beheaded in London by order of the lord mayor, a day after winning concessions from King Richard II.
(The Daily Telegraph, Monday, June 15, 2009, Sydney, Australia, p. 41)
The rest of the events dated from 1844. There was one listed modern-era event which I found particularly interesting, though:


Communist and fascist parties are declared illegal under the wartime federal National Security Act. It allows their property to be seized.
I had not heard of, or at least did not recall hearing of, this event until reading that entry. As is well-known, the High Court judged a Cold-War-era attempt by Sir Robert Menzies to outlaw the Communist Party to be unconstitutional. I wonder when the effect of the 1940 attempt ceased (which, presumably, it must have, if the later attempt was necessary), and why it succeeded in the first place? Surely it didn’t go unopposed?

Reginaldvs Cantvar


Anonymous said...

Magna Carta, exacted under duress, was unlawful and accordingly set aside by Pope Innocent III.

+ Wolsey

Cardinal Pole said...

Quite right, York. As The Catholic Encyclopedia records,

"By a Bull dated 24 August at Anagni, Innocent III revoked the charter and later on excommunicated the rebellious barons."
(my emphasis,

Note well that date; I'll be interested to see whether Innocent III's revocation of Magna Carta is mentioned in the Tele's "on this day" column for Monday, August 24, though I'm not getting my hopes up, of course.

Peregrinus said...

From memory, the 1940 ban of the Communist Party (and other organisations) depended on special defence legislation which was limited to the continuation of the war. Either the ban simply lapsed in 1945, or it was explicitly revoked at that time, but I’m not sure which.

I don’t know what the political reaction was when the Party was banned, but I don’t think there was a court challenge in 1940. Perhaps the Communists simply didn’t have the financial resources to mount a challenge, or perhaps they were advised that it would not succeed.

The 1950 ban was of course challenged, and if I recall rightly in the High Court judgments there is some reference to the 1940 ban. The 1940 ban was grounded in the Commonwealth power to legislate for defence, and the 1950 comments suggest that the courts give parliament quite a bit of leeway when they legislate under that power, and that the 1940 ban would probably not have been overturned, had it been challenged at the time. The 1950 ban rested on a different constitutional power (presumably because resting it on the defence power would not have been credible when Australia was not at war).

Cardinal Pole said...

Very interesting, Peregrinus--thank you for that information.