If ever we needed a clear cut illustration of the yawning chasm and the double standards between the political class and the rest of us, the issue of dual citizenship and the right to sit in parliament would have to be the gold standard of that insider, outsider paradigm.
Many ask, what’s the big deal? Why is this so important?
Well, it’s a big deal, its important because the high court says it’s a big deal and important.
That is, under section 44 of the Australian Constitution, the owner operators manual of Australia, if you hold dual citizenship you are not entitled or eligible to sit in the Parliament of Australia.
Ok, maybe that should change to reflect the multi culti mixed marriage composition of contemporary Australia but that’s the way it is at the moment and that’s what the High Court has to work with.
What it underscores is not just an offhanded contempt for process and the ticking of boxes but also a sloppiness and tardiness of attention to detail.
But up until recent days what was seen to be an even bigger deal, is that to demonstrate the even greater contempt in which the major parties hold the constitution and the people of Australia, they were joined at the hip in not being in favor of or allowing for an audit or similar of the 200 or so members of the house of reps or the senate so as to establish their bona fides and whether they are, under section 44 of the constitution, eligible to sit in parliament.
Both parties know that it’s better than an even money chance that there are others on both sides that shouldn’t there. The liberals would be particularly concerned because they can’t afford a single by election because:
A – They only hang on to government by a single seat majority.
B – They know from current polling and the toxic mood of the electorate and the contempt in which Turnbull’s Liberals are held, that they would lose the seat and therefore lose government.
And they wonder why they are held in contempt. They wonder why the average voter is drifting to alternatives like Australian Conservatives and One Nation.
These are the same people who make the laws that you and I are expected to abide by under penalty for failure to do so. What about them? Forget about the penalty, they won’t even submit to the test to establish their bona fides in the first place.
In fact on Friday, the media reported that “..Malcolm Turnbull has slammed the door shut on a citizenship audit of all federal MPs..”
Got that, ALL federal MP’s.
Someone is hiding something. Someone is running a protection racket. Malcolm Turnbull is running interference for people who have no right to be sitting in parliament and, like Penny Wong for example refuse to show and tell about her Malaysian citizenship.
That’s how imbued these people are with their own over weening sense of entitlement and self-righteousness
For a couple of months now the former President of the senate, Steven Parry has officiated while a great deal of argy bargy has been swirling around him on this issue of citizenship.
We’ve had the specter of the Senators from his own chamber falling on their swords all around him and blood and bodies piling up all over the place with the eligibility of senators Fiona Nash, Matt Canavan, Malcolm Roberts, Larissa Walters, Scott Ludlam and Nick Xenophon on the line and under the microscope
We’ve had Attorney General George Brandis at the dispatch box in the senate, fielding questions from the opposition over whether or not Barnaby Joyce should retain his ministerial portfolio and continue to sit in the parliament and exercise his vote whilst all along Steven Parry himself, President of the senate, knew that there was a cloud over his own eligibility.
And then we’re informed that Malcolm Turnbull’s bestie The Minister for the ABC, Mitch Fifield knew weeks ago about Parry’s dilemma. We can therefore safely assume that Turnbull was also in the loop.
It was only after the High Court handed down its decision last Friday week that Parry realised that the jig was up. He too had no right to be sitting in Parliament let alone to be holding the prestigious position of President of the senate.
But Steven Parry’s defense earlier last week when he outed himself was that:
“..It only just occurred to me..”
He has known all along that his father was born in Britain and obviously thought that if the decision of the High Court wasn’t so black letter, his dirty little secret was safe he would be able to fly under the radar.
So what’s to be done?
If the major parties remain intransigent and averse to the idea of a full audit or similar and this cloud of suspicion continues to hang over the parliament, the Governor General obviously can’t be certain that the parliament is properly constituted and it therefore flows from that, that bills to which he’s is expected and obliged to give royal ascent, are also not in accordance with the constitution, by virtue of some members being ineligible to even be there.
Given all of that, as in 1975, if the party leaders won’t take action and facilitate an audit then it’s up to the Governor General to act and the power resides with him under section 5 to prorogue the parliament.
Proroguing the Parliament it essentially terminates the current session as opposed to dissolving it entirely as would happen ahead of an election for example.
It is NOT about sacking the government as in 1975.
It’s basically hitting the pause button until the matter of dual citizenship in this case is resolved, after which parliament can be recalled to sit again and pick up where they left off.
So the score board at this point reflects the fact that the Prime Minister remains intransigent and has slammed the door shut on a citizenship audit of all federal MPs, the opposition leader is on the sidelines milking the politics of the situation and BOTH continue to drag their feet and insult the intelligence of, the Australian people.
So if any faith is to be restored in the system, the Governor General Sir Peter Cosgrave should use the powers vested in him under the constitution, call upon his military experience and sense of duty make a unilateral decision to override the recalcitrants of both the government and opposition and prorogue the parliament.