'Hi Officer, is everything ok?'
'Sir, I pulled you over because I just clocked you doing 110 in a 60 zone.'
'Oh, I'm sorry Officer, I didn't realise it was a 60 zone and I didn't know what speed I was doing.'
'Oh, that's ok then. But next time we would appreciate it if you knew the road laws and abided by them. Have a nice day Sir.'
Hello again Dear Reader,
As you may have guessed, the conversation above is one you are very unlikely to hear on any road anywhere in Australia. Highway Patrol Police Officers are in general rather inflexible when it comes to citizens breaking the road rules. And ignorance of the rules or the breach is a long stretch when you're trying to get off paying the fine. As a matter of fact, it's a commonly heard phrase in Australian legal circles that 'Ignornace of the Law is no Excuse',
So how the hell is it that when our much loved and hard working politicians break the law, they can use that very 'Ignorance' as an excuse?
Yep, today's blog is about the current ongoing debacle in Australian politics where a number of politicians have been discovered to be in breach of the law. And not just any old law, like jay walking or littering. Nope, they've broken the big law, the mother of all Australian laws, the one we hold up high when we sing the anthem and salute the flag.
The Australian Constitution! Yes sir, when these guys break the law, they mean business. 'What's that?' I hear you say. 'Surely you can't be serious.'
Well, unfortunately, I am serious. Now, I need to make one thing clear. It's almost certain that none of the politicians involved in this stuff up had any prior knowledge that what they were doing was wrong. I'm not implying or stating any prior evil intent on anyone involved here. But is lack of intent, lack of knowledge, or ignorance of the circumstances enough?
Let me paint you a picture. Little Jenny wakes up one morning and decides she wants to be a politician. What do you think would be one of the first things she would do in pursuit of this dream? Check out the rules and requirements for said job? Sounds like a good start.
Fortunately for Jenny, there's a rule book called the Australian Constitution which covers that very thing. And these days you don't even need to go to the library to find it, just click away. And there it is in big shiny letters, Section 34 telling us who can be elected as a Member of Parliament and Section 44 letting us know the grounds for disqualification. So, what does S44 say?
Well, in sub-section (i) it states that any person who "is under any acknowledgment of allegiance, obedience, or adherence to a foreign power, or is a subject or a citizen or entitled to the rights or privileges of a subject or a citizen of a foreign power shall be incapable of being chosen or of sitting as a senator or a member of the House of Representatives." Please note that nowhere in this section does it state or even suggest that this law doesn't matter if you weren't aware of your foreign citizenship.
It then continues in S45 to say that "If a senator or member of the House of Representatives becomes subject to any of the disabilities mentioned in the last preceding section, his place (yeah, no place for women in politics back then in 1901) shall thereupon become vacant."
You would think that's fairly clear wouldn't you. If you're a foreign citizen you can't be a politician, or if you already are and you find out about your dual national loyalty, you gotta get out....like right now.
But is that what our brave representatives have done? Hell no. No way Jose, I'm not giving up my cushy paypacket and future pension for some stupid rule that no-one even really cares about. We'll fight it and give the public some reality TV and the media are so stupid they will forget about it soon and we can go on doing what we do. In your face public!
So far, 12 politicians have been found out. Three have been cleared, two non-government members have resigned and six are fighting in the High Court. Their argument? We didn't know.
Oh, well that's ok then. Sorry, our mistake. Meanwhile, they haven't stood down, taken a sabatical or anything as such. And amazingly, the Prime Minister has backed his government members to do just that, pretend it's all ok and all will be well. Just carry on and stupid Joe Public will soon forget.
Well, I for one will not forget. And I won't stop ranting about the pathetic effort of our current generation of politicians all with their snouts in the trough.
It's about time we all called them out for what they are. Frauds taking us for fools. Well, are we?
Thanks again for tuning in.
And remember, Be Nice to Each Other