“But though the Constitution is much, it must not be supposed to be everything. It is, in itself, merely the means to an end; merely the dead mechanical framework of national unity. The life and soul of the union must be breathed into it by the people themselves.
When a Constitution has been framed and adopted, the work of Australian union will have been begun, not finished. The nation will be a nation, not of clauses and sub-clauses, but of men and women; and the destiny of Australia will rest with the Australian people rather than the Australian Constitution.
The work now in hand – the making of a Constitution – is great and important; but it is the beginning not the end.
Sir Robert R. Garran (1897) The Coming Commonwealth
Sir Robert Garran, the ‘ghost-writer’ of Australia’s Constitution, envisaged a central role for Australians in our system of government. Bit by bit since 1901, the people of Australia have been excluded by the decisions and actions of all who stand in the chain of our ‘representative’ democracy – ‘experts’, politicians at all levels, public servants, the High Court of Australia, lobbyists and interest groups – motivated by expediency, contempt or neglect whether overt or benign.
When Australians feel shut out of government decisions, politicians can only (at best) interpret what Australians need or (at worst) represent their own interests without the fear of being held to account.
“The nation will be a nation, not of clauses and sub-clauses, but of men and women; and the destiny of Australia will rest with the Australian people rather than the Australian Constitution”. Without a central, active role for Australians in government decisions, our Federation, our government/s, our nation has no soul, no empathy, no understanding and no values.
What type of Australia do you want to live in? What do you want for your children?
Leaving important decisions to ‘experts’ renders our nation soulless.