The living Constitution

Looking over Janet Albrechtsen’s dreary little hymn of hate on Michael Kirby:

And contrary to the claims of Kirby and his civil libertarian cheer squad, Callinan has not trashed the decision in the Communist Party case. The cases are different. Notorious facts about the dangers of communism were not established in that 1951 case. the majority opinions are not exceptional. They are grounded in legal precedents that say the Government’s defence power waxes and wanes. When Australia is threatened, the power broadens. In peace, the power shrinks.

There is a history of constitutional flexibility in Australia. Henry Parkes in 1888 on the Chinese peril:

You tell me about obedience to the law, you tell me…that I am to set an example of obedience to the law. I say…that there is one law which overrides all others, and that is the law of preserving the peace and welfare of civil society. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>