“The Australian corporate élite is
demanding an end to ‘entitlements’ in order to force welfare recipients
to take any work available, and drive down the wages and conditions of
the working class as a whole” writes George Venturini in
the conclusion to his outstanding exposé on Scott Morrison. And who
better to implement these demands than Morrison himself? (You will need
to read/re-read Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 first).
Arise Scott John Morrison, Lord Sixwords of Cronulla!
But why Sixwords? Simple: Eine Sprache, ein Gezetz, ein Kultur – translated into ‘One Language, One Law, One Culture’ for the benefit of the ‘boys of Cronulla’, Morrison’s grand electors.
There were some subdued, critical voices from the Labor Party, too. None from the Coalition spoke against the bill.
Perhaps one should overcome a certain discomfort in giving so much
emphasis to the view of the Greens. They are what is regarded,
occasionally with a touch of disdain, as a ‘small’ party. It certainly
is so, if one counts heads more than ideas.
On the subject of asylum seekers the Greens are loyal to a
declaration which was prepared by a famous Labor man, Dr. H. V. Evatt,
amongst others illustrious contributors such as Eleanor Roosevelt. That
anchoring point is very simply but finally stated, and beyond
equivocation: Art. 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights reads:
“(1) Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.
(2) This right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely
arising from non-political crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes
and principles of the United Nations.”
It is a declaration adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on
10 December 1948. The Declaration consists of thirty articles which
have been elaborated in subsequent international treaties, regional
human rights instruments, national constitutions, and other laws. The
Declaration is the starting point for The International Bill of Human
Rights, and must be read together with the International Covenant on
Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and the International Covenant on
Civil and Political Rights and its two Optional Protocols. In 1966 the
General Assembly adopted the two detailed Covenants, which complete the
International Bill of Human Rights. In 1976, after the Covenants had
been ratified by a sufficient number of individual nations, the Bill
took on the force of international law. It binds all law abiding
countries – even Australia. It cannot be derogated from, unilaterally
amended – let alone disregarded for that would make of the actor an
outlaw. It cannot be debased by self-righteousness, or twisted in the
name of some kind of market-fundamentalist faith that everything and
everybody is for sale. The ‘gospel of prosperity’?
Perhaps, ministers such as Scott Morrison would not mind some deviant
aberration. It is not beyond the possibility that the ideal
representative of a ‘judicial’ system which would suit Morrison is a
High Court presided over by some Australian version of Roland Freisler,
who was a prominent and notorious Nazi ‘lawyer’ and ‘judge’, State
Secretary of the Reich Ministry of Justice and President of the
Volksgerichtshof, the notorious People’s Court which was set up outside
humane – and never mind constitutional – authority.
‘The Greens’ have a history which makes their Party almost
coterminous with the mandatory detention of asylum seekers. Both were
born in 1992.
The Australian Greens were brought together by a desire to respond to
a question persistently posed by the philosopher Peter Singer: “How
ethical is Australia?”
It is to that end that several groups and individuals, moving from
different positions: war resisters, Quakers, former members of a
‘Westminster wing’ – mainly Labor, environmentalists, surviving members
of the Nuclear Disarmament Party – others, too, got together in a
confederation of eight state and territory parties which form ‘the
Greens’. Members are linked by loyalty to four fundamental points:
grassroots democracy, social justice, ecological sustainability, and
peace and non-violence.
They see themselves as keepers of the country’s conscience which is rapidly disappearing.
In June 2014 a very distinguished scholar was publicly wondering:
“Is the Abbott government Fascist?” He felt justified in asking the
question by the observation that “Since the last Federal election,
people have been shocked at where Australia seems to be heading. So
where is Australia heading? Towards fascism? There are straws in the
He is in excellent and learned company. L. W. Britt’s fourteen
defining characteristics of Fascism have been re-examined by A.
Broinowski, G. Hassan, U. Eco, P. Cannon, and others.
They agree on identifying the basic characteristics in Australia:
nationalism, disdain for human rights, scapegoating as a means of
unifying, supremacy of the military, sexism, controlled mass media,
obsession with national security, religion and government intertwined,
protection of corporate interests, suppression of labour power, disdain
for intellectuals and the arts, obsession with crime and punishment,
rampant cronyism and corruption, fraudulent elections – and those
categories accompanied by pathological lying. They are all there, the
experience of one year of Abbott government.
Some of those characteristics are buffoonish: the re-introduction of
Imperial titles of Dame and Sir. No one rejected the ‘honour’ by the
way! The intention of the person responsible for such retrograde
‘reform’ must be regarded as indicative of a mentality of vassalage.
Further, there is a feeling of a predominant form of ‘exceptionalism’
– not in the American style, of course; no Australian leader would
attempt to justify him/(her ?)self on the ground that Australia is
exceptional, established by God. Historians such as Biggs, and Clark,
and Reynolds, and Ward still have readers and students to speak of
invasion, the theft of the land, the unimaginable suffering of
Indigenous People, the imposition of Christian bigotry and forced
conversions, along with genocide. Daily, the ordinary people are
presented with, reminded of life in the greatest country of the world,
and everything is the greatest, the most successful, in a grandly
inebriated ‘Australian way of life’. Australians like to think of
themselves as generous, fair minded to a fault and willing to help
foreigners who are less fortunate. True, somewhat. They tend to ignore
that every country crafts itself around a national myth which
incorporates its own unique virtues, believing instead that only
Godsownland is for real. Isolated and protected Australians frequently
have difficulty in realising that virtues and vices are pretty much
evenly distributed among most countries – including Australia. But
Australians can also be ignorant, bigoted, small minded and brutal, if
the foreigner who seeks help is dirty – and not by choice, without
documents, a ‘queue jumper’, and arrives in a way which is not ‘fair
go’. If in addition s/he is Hindu, there is a problem. And the problem
becomes a pest if s/he is Muslim.
Real-Australians, those born here or those who have assimilated the
rhetoric for lack of discernment or for personal convenience, may not
know much about the ‘unitary executive doctrine’, whereby the authority
of the government chief executive – the Prime Minister – is virtually
unlimited, particularly in time of national emergency. And it is he
(hardly she) who proclaims it.
Declaring a national emergency is itself conveniently the
responsibility of the chief executive, meaning that s/he can de facto
grant himself unrestricted authority. It is a prospective very much far
away from a regime of prevailing human rights for all, particularly if
the ‘popular’ view is that a Bill of Rights could be harmful if
administered by ‘un-elected’ people.
The ‘unitary executive doctrine’ was developed to its extreme by
‘jurists’ in Germany in the 1930s. It was described as the Führer
Prinzip – leader principle in English. It leads to the consequence that
the government can do no wrong and cannot be held accountable precisely
because it is the government. Against it there is a rudimentary form of
revenge at elections.
As to having a real, modern, republican, secular, direct, responsible
democracy ? Well, wait a minute, that is not a spectator sport! There
is no such thing in the ‘Mother of Parliament’! Go back where you came
So, to conclude, it is not beyond the realm of probability that Abbott may wish to reward
“a very tough and competent political operator [such as Morrison, who
is] also an extremely decent human being.”, as he said on moving
Morrison from Immigration to Social Services. Morrison’s new brief is to
apply the same brazen brutality to welfare recipients. The Australian
corporate élite is demanding an end to “entitlements” in order to force
welfare recipients to take any work available, and drive down the wages
and conditions of the working class as a whole.
Morrison’s task is to enlist supporters for policies to restrict
eligibility for social security, condemn people to utter destitution and
reduce government spending as part of a broader austerity agenda.
Access to payments such as unemployment benefits, disability support
pensions, aged pensions and family benefits will all be targeted. Will
the minister who ‘stopped the boats’ be the one to ‘stop the bludgers’
Perhaps, an elevation to the House of Lords may not be out of sight. That would place Morrison out of Abbott’s sight, too.
After all there is ‘precedent’. Stanley Melbourne Bruce, was first
made 1st Viscount Bruce of Melbourne and in 1947 he became the first
Australian to sit in the House of Lords; in 1960 Richard Gavin Gardiner
Casey, was made Baron Casey of Berwick in the State of Victoria and
became the second Australian to be ‘elevated’ to the House of Lords.
It would be consonant to the Führer Prinzip that similar ‘honour’ should
be bestowed, on delegation of a tired Hanoverian, by her consort:
Philip – originally a member of the House of
Arise Scott John Morrison, Lord Sixwords of Cronulla!
But why Sixwords? Simple: Eine
Sprache, ein Gezetz, ein Kultur – translated into ‘One Language, One
Law, One Culture’ for the benefit of the ‘boys of Cronulla’, Morrison’s
Dr. George Venturini has devoted sixty
years to the study, practice, teaching, writing and administering of law
in four continents. He is the author of eight books and about 100
articles and essays for learned periodicals and conferences. Since his
‘retirement’ Dr. Venturini has been Senior Associate in the School of
Political and Social Inquiry at Monash; he is also an Adjunct Professor
at the Institute for Social Research at Swinburne University, Melbourne.
He may be reached at George.Venturini@bigpond.com.