Australia Needs a Constitutional Council
As the Australian government seeks to establish a more
efficient and cooperative model of federalism it is appropriate to consider how
this could be locked into our system of government and not just be a fad of the
Our Constitution is in need of considerable change in order
to reflect the nation we are today, and the one we aspire to be in the future. To
do so we need to develop a path that educates, earns public trust and promotes
The establishment of a permanent Constitutional Council of
eminent citizens is a way of achieving this.
What do Australians value?
While our community is seeking a recovery strategy from recent
dislocations, it is worth thinking about what we value as Australians and what sort
of society we wish to be. Here are some thoughts to contemplate:
Democratic: Free and fair elections (competition
solely funded by the public purse); efficient, effective and corruption free
government processes; community engaged with the political processes - and feels
that they are listened to; the government respects civil liberties and
minimises intrusions into people’s lives.
Fair: Equality of opportunity for health,
education, wealth generation.
Compassionate and caring.
Fun loving and happy.
“Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown”
“Politics has become a vocation once again, ruled by an
ethic of responsibility, whereby options need to be carefully calibrated
against alternatives, probabilities assessed, decisions made even though the
outcome is unclear, and responsibility taken for the result, whatever it may
happen to be. “Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.” Politics has been
lifted above the banal everyday swamp of networking for influence, career
opportunism and public relations.” Prof.
John Carroll (Sociology, La Trobe University)
A better future is possible if we can lock in these improved
behaviours of our politicians. Is that too much to ask for?