ER Editor: Kudos to Dr. Meryl Nass for drawing our attention to a piece by the New York Times, which lies behind a registration wall. We had reported a while back on how power had been illegally usurped by various governments during the Covid period, especially the UK one. Here is a reveal into the workings of the Scott Morrison government in Australia at that time. The election of a new leader, Anthony Albanese, doesn’t fix the basic problem, of flawed and non-existent democracy over there (and everywhere), however. Some of this is explained below.
Unfortunately, the piece takes aim at Scott Morrison almost exclusively, and even manages to link negatively to Trump(!), but here’s a curious mention of behind-the-scenes workings:
The governor general, the representative of Queen Elizabeth II, officially Australia’s head of state, also said nothing through the entire period, after providing a rubber-stamp approval of Mr. Morrison’s appointments.
Note that the picture of the Queen in the featured image comes from a Wikipedia page titled Monarchy of Australia. Something has to change …
Australia lost its freedom in the blink of an eye
Here is what happened and how to get it back: The Universal Pledge will help us all turn the corner on tyranny and corruption by providing a roadmap for the initial fixes
Australia showed the world how a nation of free people could turn into a totalitarian regime in the blink of an eye. Today’s NY Times explains that Australia’s Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, decided to seize new powers from 5 members of his cabinet, secretly, that would allow him to control certain spending and other measures. As described by the NYT: “Transparency problems have been getting worse for years, with the prosecution of whistle-blowers, raids on journalists’ homes, suppression orders that keep court proceedings private, and a persistent rejection of public records requests.”
Here it is, in black and white, straight from the mouth of the Grey Lady:
“… his government’s declaration of a “human biosecurity emergency” would give the health minister extraordinary powers to direct any citizen in the country to do anything to control the spread of Covid-19.”
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Scott Morrison was busy during the pandemic. In addition to being prime minister, he covertly put himself in charge of five ministries. Critics say he damaged democracy.
And the current prime minister, Mr. Albanese, seemed eager to hammer the point home. On Tuesday, three months after taking office, he described the previous government’s moves as an “unprecedented trashing of our democracy.”
… Turns out, the blustery leader that Australia chose to evict from office in May, Scott Morrison, had elevated himself to new heights. After Covid arrived in March of 2020, he wasn’t just the prime minister. He swore himself in as a second health minister, finance minister, resources minister and home affairs minister, along with appointing himself co-treasurer. And he kept his new roles a secret from the public and most of his colleagues in Parliament.
The baffling arrangement apparently began with Mr. Morrison’s realization in 2020 that his government’s declaration of a “human biosecurity emergency” would give the health minister extraordinary powers to direct any citizen in the country to do anything to control the spread of Covid-19. The laws of public health essentially put the health minister above the prime minister.
So, according to a new book excerpted in the newspaper The Australian, Mr. Morrison and the country’s attorney general, Christian Porter, came up with an administrative workaround. Finding there was no constitutional block on having two ministers in charge of the same portfolio, Mr. Morrison promptly appointed himself health minister, then finance minister, to make sure he could also have a say over emergency spending.
… Jason Bosland, a professor at Melbourne Law School, noted that the trouble went beyond Mr. Morrison, to the way Australian government works. The Westminster system may require shared responsibility, but it does not prioritize information sharing for public oversight.
“We have a lack of legal mechanisms for accountability and transparency embedded in the law,” Professor Bosland said. “And we have a growing culture of secrecy in government.”
Mr. Albanese was asked repeatedly by reporters on Tuesday what he planned to do about the systemic issues that Mr. Morrison’s actions seemed to reveal. Transparency problems have been getting worse for years, with the prosecution of whistle-blowers, raids on journalists’ homes, suppression orders that keep court proceedings private, and a persistent rejection of public records requests…”
So, Australians, take the Pledge and ask your candidates, members and ministers to sign it too. Soon there will be a website where the responses can be publicly posted: ThePledge2022.com
1. REVOKE UNENDING STATES OF EMERGENCY
I support limits on emergency powers. All government emergency laws, rules, regulations, orders, and directives that haven’t undergone legislative review and approval must have strict time limits, not to exceed two weeks.
2. PROHIBIT FORCED MEDICAL CARE
I support the prohibition of all pandemic medical mandates enacted by federal, state, county, city, and private actors, including compulsory drugs, vaccines, vaccine passports, testing, and masking.
3. END CENSORSHIP AND PROPAGANDA
I support the termination of all methods used to censor citizens, misinform the public, or restrict communication among people.
4. REQUIRE GOVERNMENT COMPLIANCE WITH SPENDING TRANSPARENCY
I support fiscal accountability of all our governments.
5. BAN GAIN-OF-FUNCTION RESEARCH
I support the elimination of all “gain-of-function” research and related activities. “Gain-of-function” is defined as the intentional manipulation of microorganisms to make them more virulent, dangerous, or contagious.
As a citizen, I support the Pledge and urge my elected representatives to do so as well.
As a candidate or elected representative, I pledge to introduce and strongly support legislation to accomplish the five Pledge items above.
office for which you serve, or are seeking if applicable
Featured image, Queen of Australia: Wikipedia
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