Thursday 27th of January 2022

not as good as barbados...

malcolm...malcolm...Barbados Elects Its First Head of State, Replacing Queen Elizabeth

 

The country’s Parliament chose Sandra Mason, the governor general, to assume the symbolic title, a decisive move to distance itself from Barbados’s colonial past.

 

The island nation of Barbados has elected a female former jurist to become its next head of state, a symbolic position held since the 1950s by Queen Elizabeth II, as the country takes another step toward casting off its colonial past.

Sandra Mason, 72, the governor general of Barbados, became the country’s first president-elect on Wednesday when she received the necessary two-thirds majority vote in the Parliament’s House of Assembly and Senate. She will be sworn in on Nov. 30, making Barbados a republic on the 55th anniversary of its independence from Britain.

“We believe that the time has come for us to claim our full destiny,” Prime Minister Mia Mottley said in a speech after the vote.

“It is a woman of the soil to whom this honor is being given,” she added.

Barbados, a parliamentary democracy of about 300,000 people that is the easternmost island in the Caribbean, announced in September that it would remove Elizabeth as its head of state. At the ceremony, Ms. Mason read from a speech prepared by Ms. Mottley that was explicit in its rejection of imperialism.

 

The speech highlighted the urgency of self-governance, quoting a warning by Errol Walton Barrow, the first prime minister of Barbados, against “loitering on colonial premises.”

“The time has come to fully leave our colonial past behind,” Ms. Mason said. “Barbadians want a Barbadian head of state.”

Barbados has since become the latest Caribbean island to shed the symbolic role of the queen and pursue the formation of a republic. Guyana led earlier republican movements in the Caribbean, cutting ties to the queen in 1970, followed by Trinidad and Tobago, and then Dominica.

Ms. Mason, who has been the governor general, a position appointed by the queen, since 2018, had been nominated to take on the position of president, subject to the parliamentary vote, the prime minister announced in August. Ms. Mottley said other steps in the island’s transition included work on a new constitution, which would begin in January.

“Barbados shall move forward on the first of December as the newest republic in the global community of nations,” Ms. Mottley said on Wednesday.

 

People in Barbados and its government were “conscious that we are going not without concern on the part of some, but with absolute determination that at 55, we must know who we are, we must live who we are, we must be who we are,” she said.

Dame Sandra Prunella Mason was born on Jan. 17, 1949, in St. Philip, Barbados. She was educated on the island at Queen’s College, attended the University of the West Indies and was the first woman from Barbados to graduate from the Hugh Wooding Law School in Trinidad and Tobago.

In the early 1990s, Ms. Mason served as an ambassador to Venezuela, Chile, Colombia and Brazil. In 2008, she became the first woman to serve as a judge on the Barbados Court of Appeal.

Ambassador Noel Lynch, whose own appointment as Barbados’s representative in Washington, D.C., had to be endorsed by the queen, said in an interview that Ms. Mason’s judicial experience made her “well versed” for the work that needs to be done as the nation transitions to a republic.

 

Ms. Mason’s election is also notable because both the prime minister and the head of state will soon be Barbadian women. “Even if it is mostly ceremonial,” Mr. Lynch said in an interview, “you have got to have confidence if the president and the prime minister have got confidence in each other.”

After she is sworn in, Ms. Mason will become the ceremonial leader of an island that is facing labor shortages, the effects of climate change and economic difficulties due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on its tourism sector, the prime minister said.

In her speech after the parliamentary vote, Ms. Mottley said the real work would begin the day after the island becomes a full republic.

 

“We look forward, therefore, to Dec. 1, 2021,” she said. “But we do so confident that we have just elected from among us a woman who is uniquely and passionately Barbadian.”

 

 

Read more: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/22/world/americas/sandra-mason-barbados.html

 

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national ambitions...

Former Australian prime ministers Kevin Rudd and Malcolm Turnbull, and former foreign affairs minister Bob Carr, have accused the Morrison government of “cynical indifference” and “empty rhetoric” when it comes to climate action, saying the commitment to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 was the “bare minimum” that needed to be done.

The broadside came in a letter to Pacific leaders, in which the Australian politicians said they shared the “alarm and disappointment” of Pacific heads of government at the suggestion Australia will not table a new and increased target for the reduction of emissions ahead of the Cop26 summit in Glasgow next month.

 

“As you know, the Paris agreement requires nations to step up their short-term national ambition every five years. Glasgow is all about what countries plan to do by 2030 to reduce emissions … Australia can and should do much more,” they wrote.

 

Read more:

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/oct/23/former-pms-apologise-to-pacific-leaders-for-australias-apathy-on-climate-crisis

 

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destroying the ABC...

Considering all the failures of Malcolm Turnbull (see toon at top) when Prime Minister — or just a minister under Abbott, or as "leader of the Republican movement" — we should be weary of what Malcolm has uttered about the ABC... Presently, Malcolm's previous assurances are worth a dog's dung on a rubbish dump...

 

In 2018, we were told:

 

The ABC is facing the “most serious threat in its existence” with “deeply disturbing attacks that have gone further than any of the attacks have gone in the last 50 years”, according to former ABC chairman and managing director David Hill.

Following the vote last week of the federal Liberal council to privatise the ABC, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said that privatisation of the public broadcaster was not government policy.

...

“It would be funny if it wasn’t so serious. This wasn’t the resolution of some radical branch of the Liberal Party. It is the national executive of the Liberal Party. It was overwhelmingly supported and nobody spoke against it,” Mr Hill said.

“It’s frightening stuff. It demonstrates if they could get away with it, they would privatise.”

 

Read more:

https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/abc-faces-most-serious-threat-to-its-existence-says-former-chairman-20180622-p4zn6t.html

 

Now, this assurance by Malcolm is worth NOTHING. The Scumo government, with the help of the Murdoch media and the awful IPA is pushing the ABC into the mud, by defunding it every year, including HAVING BEEN defunded by MALCOLM HIMSELF when he was in charge:

 

ABC funding to be cut by $254 million over five years, Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull says

 

Read from top...

 

SAVE THE ABC FROM THE MORONS OF THE SCUMO GOVERNMENT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

SAVE THE ABC FROM THE MORONS OF THE SCUMO GOVERNMENT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

SAVE THE ABC FROM THE MORONS OF THE SCUMO GOVERNMENT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

 

 

FREE JULIAN ASSANGE PLEASE...

yes, but...

Address to the National Press Club      By the Honourable Malcolm Turnbull AC

 

 

    29 September 2021

 

With the swirl of media soundbites, the impression has been created that the Australian Government has replaced a diesel electric French designed submarine for a nuclear powered American, or British, one. This is not the case.

Australia now has no new submarine programme at all. We have cancelled the one we had with France and have a statement of intent with the UK and the US to examine the prospect of acquiring nuclear powered submarines.

Over the next eighteen months there will be a review of the possibilities – the biggest probably being whether the new submarine should be based on the UK Astute[1] submarine or the larger US Virginia class[2].

The hyperbole around the new AUKUS partnership has been dialed up to 11. No three nations in the world already have closer security, intelligence, and technology collaboration than Australia, the US and the UK. And it has been getting closer in recent years. As Canada’s Justin Trudeau observed this is all about selling submarines to Australia[3].

The Australian Government has chosen to terminate a contract with France’s largely state-owned Naval Group to build 12 Attack class submarines. While based on the design of France’s latest nuclear sub they were to be conventionally powered – a modification stipulated by Australia in the competitive tender process begun in 2015 and concluded in April 2016 when it was approved by my Government’s NSC of which the current Prime Minister, Defense Minister and Foreign Minister were all members. 

But nothing is agreed. There is no design, no costing, no contract. The only certainty is that we won’t have new submarines for 20 years and their cost will be a lot more than the French subs. However, high hopes and good intentions are in abundance. But there were plenty of them when we did the deal with France too. 

The first of the Attack class[4] submarines was to be in the water by 2032, with the rest of the fleet coming out of the shipyards every two years until the full complement had been constructed. It was the largest defence procurement in our history – a partnership of generations between France and Australia.

The nagging concern about the French submarines was that they were not nuclear powered. Nuclear powered subs have unlimited underwater range – nuclear reactors, unlike diesel engines, do not need oxygen. Their endurance is only limited by the need to keep the crew sustained. They can operate at much higher sustained speeds underwater, about 25 knots, than a diesel/electric submarine.  And they don’t need to surface, or snort, to recharge their batteries by running their diesel motors.

So, given the long distances our subs have to travel, and our vast maritime domain, why did Australia decide not to order nuclear powered submarines? The answer is, or was, that we do not have, and by law are not able to have, a civil nuclear industry which is needed to support the maintenance of a nuclear navy. There is no country with a nuclear navy that does not also have a civil nuclear industry.

The choice of a conventional submarine had been made long before I became Prime Minister, and the competitive tender was well underway. This determination was confirmed to us on numerous occasions not just by our own Navy, but by the expert advisory board chaired by Don Winter, an engineer and former US Secretary of the Navy and included three US Navy Admirals with direct command and engineering experience in nuclear submarines.[5]

There were three bids – from France, Japan and Germany.  It was my Government, which chose the French bid on the basis that it was the best – especially in terms of stealthiness, which is the prime requirement for a submarine. 

In 2018 I tasked the Defence Department to formally reconsider the potential for nuclear powered submarines in Australia. Technologies were changing, the risk environment was worsening, I was concerned that conventionally powered boats would not be good enough in the future. The big question, however, remained whether we could sustain and maintain a nuclear-powered navy in Australia without local, Australian nuclear facilities and the advice remained that we could not.

Leaving aside the politics it was plain enough that we did not need a civil nuclear industry to generate electricity. It was very clear that the cheapest forms of new generation were renewables backed by storage – batteries or pumped hydro. So, any local nuclear industry would have as its overwhelming justification the support of a nuclear navy.

The alternative, I was advised, would have been to have a nuclear-powered sub that required maintenance in another country. This would have meant our submarine capability was not sovereign – if you can’t maintain your own ships, you are not in full control of them.

One of the attractions of the French subs was that they were originally designed for nuclear propulsion. So, if we decided to switch to nuclear we had a partner that had the expertise to do it with us.

In its natural state uranium is 99% made up of a stable isotope U238, the unstable radioactive isotope U235 is only about 0.7%. The more U235, the more radiation, reactivity and energy. Highly enriched Uranium (HEU) has a concentration of 20% or more U235. Low enriched uranium (LEU) as used in nuclear power stations is typically between 2-5%.

The United States, United Kingdom and Russia are the only countries still to use HEU in their naval reactors. It is enriched to about 95% and is drawn from stockpiles built up for nuclear weapons. 

For Australia, a non-nuclear weapons state, using HEU in a submarine is not a breach of the Treaty on Non Proliferation (NPT), but it does set a precedent which other currently non-nuclear weapons states, like Iran, will seek to exploit as a justification for producing HEU.

Following the AUKUS announcement, I was advised by the Government that the work I had commenced on nuclear options continued and it had been concluded that Australia could use the modular HEU reactors currently deployed in the UK Astute and US Virginia class submarines which, because of their HEU fuel, do not require replacement during the 35 year life of the sub. This, it is contended, means that Australia could have a nuclear-powered submarine without any need to maintain, service or refuel the nuclear reactor.

This is very different advice to that given to the Government as recently as three years ago. It sounds too good to be true; Australia would have submarines powered by nuclear reactors running on weapons grade uranium. And we would not need to have any of our own nuclear facilities or expertise? 

Is it credible to have a hands-off plug and play nuclear reactor filled with weapons grade uranium and not inspect it for 35 years?  The US and UK will know for sure in about thirty years.  And until then if something does go wrong, both nations have extensive nuclear facilities and expertise to deal with it.

Australia does not.

The French nuclear propulsion system however uses low enriched uranium (LEU) – somewhat more enriched than that used in civil nuclear plants. By law they inspect their reactors and refuel them every ten years. All submarines go in for a lengthy, year or more, refit every decade. The refueling of the French naval reactor takes a few weeks.   In this regard at least, French naval nuclear reactor safety standards are stricter than those applied in the United States and the UK.

The new AUKUS submarines, we are told, will still be built in Adelaide. But if there are no nuclear facilities there, that must mean the submarine hulls will be transported to the US or the UK to have the reactor installed together with all of the safety and other systems connected to it.

You don’t need to be especially cynical to see it won’t be long before someone argues it looks much simpler to have the first submarine built in the US or the UK, and then the second, third and so on.

Australia is the first country to receive access to US naval reactors since the technology transfer to the UK in 1958. But the UK was and remains a nuclear weapons state with a substantial civil nuclear industry. Australia will be the first country without any civil nuclear industry to operate a nuclear submarine and the first non-nuclear weapon state to use HEU in a naval reactor. So, if we are not going to develop nuclear facilities of our own (as Mr Morrison has promised) then we will no more be sharing nuclear technology with the US than the owner of an iPhone is sharing smartphone technology with Apple.

A new submarine, under the new AUKUS arrangement, would not be in the water until 2040, we are told. That is about eight years after the first Attack class sub would have been in service. So, we are now without any new submarines for the best part of 20 years. In the meantime, the Collins Class submarines are going to be refitted so they can last another decade. Let’s hope that works. But it doesn’t get us to 2040. So whichever way you look at this there is going to be an even bigger capability gap.

For several years now the Attack Class submarine programme has been accused of cost blow outs – from $50 to $90 billion. The $50 billion was the estimate of the cost of the total programme in 2016 dollars. This included the Lockheed Martin combat and weapons system and the construction of a new dockyard in Adelaide. The $90 billion figure is no more than the estimated cost of the project in nominal dollars over its 35- year life. It is a rough estimate based on assumptions about inflation, exchange rates and technologies over decades.[6]

Of course, now that the flurry of the media announcement is over, the question remains whether we will be able to negotiate a satisfactory deal with the US and UK to deliver a nuclear-powered submarine for Australia. If the Astute is preferred because of its size, then for practical purposes we will be price takers. 

Tony Abbott was of the view that Australia could not build the new diesel/electric submarines itself and his original plan was that they would all be built in Japan. With the support of my colleagues, I determined that all submarines should be built in Australia. This was to be the biggest element in a new continuous sovereign shipbuilding industry in Australia, itself an engine of innovation, science, and technology with enormous spillover benefits to the rest of the economy.

How can we maintain that commitment without having the nuclear facilities in Australia to enable maintenance and support of the new submarines’ reactor and connected systems? If that is where we are heading, and I believe it should be, then a reactor fueled with LEU is safer in every respect than one fueled with HEU.

Nonetheless, in 2040 if we have the first of a nuclear-powered submarine fleet, that will be a good development in that the submarine will have range and capabilities a diesel/electric boat does not.

But the way we are getting there has been clumsy, deceitful, and costly. Too many questions are not being asked, and fewer answered. The blustering attempts to wedge those who seek answers do not serve our national interest.

Our national security does not rely on fleets and armies alone. And that is just as well, for we will never have military might to match that of potential rivals.

Echoing our 2017 Foreign Affairs White Paper[7], as Marise Payne said on Monday “Australia is respected when we engage with the region honestly and consistently.”[8]

Diplomacy matters, and at the heart of diplomacy is trust. Australia’s reputation as a trusted and reliable partner has been an enormous asset to us on the international stage, just as a trustworthy reputation is an enormous asset to someone in business.

Some of you may have read the transcript (fairly accurate) of my notorious phone call with Donald Trump in January 2017 in which I persuaded him to stick to the refugee resettlement deal I had struck with President Obama. My argument was that America had given its word, and he should stick to it. When he suggested I had broken agreements in my business life, I said that I had not. Furious he may have been, but Trump did not renege on the deal.

Imagine if he had been able to say, “How about the time you double crossed the French?”

It was only a few years ago that our partnership with France was to be one for generations. As the sun set over Sydney Harbour in March 2018, from the deck of HMAS Canberra, President Macron described the partnership with Australia as the cornerstone of France’s Indo Pacific strategy. This was not just a contract to build submarines, it was a partnership between two nations in which France chose to entrust Australia with its most sensitive military secrets – the design of their latest submarines.

France is an Indo Pacific power. With two million citizens and 7,000 troops across the two oceans, drawing closer to France as a security partner made enormous sense both for us and the United States.

France is the world’s sixth (and the EU’s second) largest economy, a permanent member of the Security Council, a nuclear weapons state with its own nuclear technology for energy, naval propulsion and weapons. With Merkel’s retirement, Macron will be the most influential of the EU leaders. Always inclined to protectionism, France became a strong supporter of our bid for an FTA with the EU, invited Australia (for the first time) to the G7 and aligned its Indo Pacific strategy, and ultimately that of the EU, to ours.

Mr Morrison has not acted in good faith. He deliberately deceived France. He makes no defense of his conduct other than to say it was in Australia’s national interest. So, is that Mr Morrison’s ethical standard with which Australia is now tagged.: Australia will act honestly unless it is judged in our national interest to deceive?

It was as recently as 30 August that our Defence and Foreign Ministers met with their French counterparts and publicly re-emphasised the importance of the submarine programme. Two weeks later, on the day Mr Morrison dumped the President of France with a text message, the Department of Defence formally advised Naval Group that the project was on track and ready to enter into the next set of contracts.

The media has been gleefully briefed that Mr Morrison struck the deal with Boris Johnson and Joe Biden at the G20 in July shortly before going to Paris where the PM confirmed to President Macron his continuing commitment to the submarine deal.

France’s Foreign Minister has described Australia’s conduct as a stab in the back, a betrayal. Macron recalled his Ambassadors to Canberra and Washington. Dan Tehan can’t get a meeting with the French Trade Minister any more than he can with the Chinese Trade Minister.

France’s Europe Minister has already poured cold water on the prospects of concluding an EU-Australian free trade agreement. Australia has proved it can’t be trusted, he has said.

France believes it has been deceived and humiliated, and she was. This betrayal of trust will dog our relations with Europe for years. The Australian Government has treated the French Republic with contempt. It won’t be forgotten. Every time we seek to persuade another nation to trust us, somebody will be saying “Remember what they did to Macron? If they can throw France under a bus, what would they do to us?”

So, what should have been done? The conventional/nuclear debate was hardly news. Morrison could have told the truth.  He could have said to Macron that we wanted to explore the potential for acquiring nuclear powered submarines. Macron would have been supportive. The French Government had already invited such a discussion. The Americans, who were supplying the weapons system, should have been engaged. President Biden has acknowledged this has been mishandled and that there should have been “open consultations among allies on matters of strategic interest to France and our European partners.”[9]

If after that honest discussion it was concluded that we could not use a French reactor, the inclusion of a US or British reactor could have been considered. Let us assume that after this discussion the conclusion was that only a US or UK submarine would do. If the contract was terminated at that point, nobody could say Australia had been dishonest or sneaky. France would be disappointed, but not betrayed, disrespected or humiliated.

Morrison’s response is to say that he could not be open and honest with Macron because the French might have run to Washington and urged Biden not to do the deal. That tells you a lot about how confident he is about the commitment of the Americans.

As Paul Kelly records[10] (with approbation), Scott Morrison deliberately and elaborately set out to persuade the French their deal was on foot and proceeding until he knew he had an alternative deal whereupon he dumped the French and his deceitful conduct was exposed.

Despite this awkward birth, I hope that AUKUS turns out to be a great success. It should be. We are already the closest of friends and allies - none closer.

As Prime Minister I argued we should not see our region as a series of spokes connected to Washington or Beijing but rather as a mesh where nations like Australia would build their security by stronger ties with all our neighbours – great and small. This approach delivered a much stronger relationship with Indonesia and most nations of ASEAN. It secured in 2017 a commitment from the four leaders to revive the Quadrilateral dialogue between India, Japan, Australia and the USA. In the same year, with Shinzo Abe, we were able to defy the doubters (at home and abroad) and conclude the Trans Pacific Partnership without the United States.

Throughout this time, and since, our security alliance and cooperation with the United States became stronger and more intense. But we always made our own decisions. Of course, our rivals and critics have said Australia will always fall in with the US. Years ago, the foreign minister of one of our neighbours said to me, “If Australia is seen as just a branch office of the US, why should we take much time with you – better to talk direct to head office.”

If we want to have influence in our region we must be trusted. Our word must be our bond. We must be seen to have an independent foreign policy and sovereign defence capabilities. We need to have, develop and retain relationships with other nations, in our region and beyond – like the TPP - which are not simply derivatives of our alliance with the United States.

And at the heart of all this is trust.

[1]  7,400 t, 97 m length, crew 98

[2] 10,200 t, 140 m length, crew 132 (Block V)

[3] https://amp.theguardian.com/world/2021/sep/17/justin-trudeau-criticism-aukus-canada-federal-election

[4] 4500 t, 97 m length, crew 60

[5]Naval Shipbuilding Advisory Board members appointed - Defence Connect

[6]  Well explained by Greg Sheridan in The Australian 4 March 2021 “Short of Nuclear Subs We won’t do better than these”

[7]  Foreign Affairs White Paper, 2017 p.17 “We cannot impose our views or our will overseas. Our ability to protect and advance our interests rests on the quality of our engagement with the world. This includes the ideas we bring to the table, our ability to persuade others our point of view and the strength of the relationships we build with other governments and, increasingly, with influential non- government actors.”

[8] Sydney Morning Herald  27 September 2021

[9] Joint Statement on the Phone Call between President Biden and President Macron, 22 September 2021.

[10] Diplomatic test isn’t the French, it’s Beijing.” By Paul Kelly, The Australian 27 September 2021

 

Read more:

https://www.malcolmturnbull.com.au/media/address-to-the-national-press-club-september-2021

 

Yes Malcolm... but why is "all this" coming out now — like a cry from your heart — when the media had no proper idea of what the submarine deal was about, during your own tenure? Or was it there but the media ignored you for whatever causes... Or were you afraid of the CONservtives in the Liberal party? Were these monkeys aware of your very structured reasoning and hated you for being clever — or are they just gung-ho like cowboys of the wild west — paysants from beyond the black stump? Or are they part of the ruthless English egemony still designed to "colonise" and "conquer" the world — thus dump the French and join the bullies?... Brexit did happen... ScoMo is mad enough to believe he can get away with being a deceitful idiot... And sadly he can pull it off with the Murdoch media which you are trying to fight with Rudd in a royal commission... Good luck...

 

AND IN REGARD TO JULIAN ASSANGE AND THE CIA, THE ASSASSINATION PLOT IS IRRELEVANT TO HIS FREEDOM. HE SHOULD BE FREED, SIMPLY... Forget the court case in the US and the UK, just say: "Julian Assange should be free..."

it's time...

It’s time for the National Archives to release all letters between the Queen and our governors-general as we move towards becoming a republic.

 

By Jenny Hocking

 

Today marks the 46th anniversary of the Dismissal of the Whitlam government. We now know that the Queen played a significant role in that unprecedented action, “one of the most controversial and tumultuous events in the modern history of the nation”. It took a four-year legal battle against the National Archives of Australia and a landmark High Court decision in the Palace letters case to bring that history to light.

The fight to secure our history as public history will never be complete so long as the archives continues to keep its royal records closed from public view. The archives must immediately release the letters between the Queen and all our governors-general, as required under the Archives Act and as it stated it would more than 18 months ago.

The history of the Dismissal is today almost unrecognisable from the incomplete and partial version we were told at the time. The disarmingly simple narrative from that day on was that then governor-general John Kerr had reached a lonely and isolated decision, that he had no other option — despite prime minister Gough Whitlam being at Yarralumla to call the half-Senate election — that Kerr took his own sole counsel. This was insistently presented by each of the major protagonists: Kerr, his appointed prime minister Liberal party leader Malcolm Fraser, and the chief justice Sir Garfield Barwick. And none of it was true.

Central to this quickly received history was that, most emphatically, the Palace was not involved, that Kerr “protected the Queen”. As the Queen’s then deputy private secretary, Sir William Heseltine later described it, “the Palace was in a state of total ignorance”. Even as the evident flaws in this view became apparent, the central claim that the Palace was in no way involved in Kerr’s decision was the one unchanging and unquestioned element of the Dismissal. And for many years this remained an apparently unassailable position. And yet that too was untrue. The royal fingerprints are all over the Dismissal.

The full history emerged in fragments. First, that Kerr was in secret contact with Fraser before he dismissed Whitlam, then the startling evidence of the protracted role of High Court justice Sir Anthony Mason who, we learned only 37 years later, had played “a most critical part in my thinking at that critical time” as Kerr wrote. Finally, only in the last decade has the extent of royal involvement become clear.

Kerr discussed the possibility of dismissing Whitlam with the Queen, her private secretary Sir Martin Charteris, and Prince Charles weeks before he did so. It is also now known that Charteris advised Kerr on the use of the reserve powers to dismiss the government and, as Malcolm Turnbull writes, “some of his correspondence can be read as encouraging him to do so”.

Kerr’s own memoirs are often cited as “evidence” that the Queen was aloof from and indifferent to Kerr’s decision. Yet one of the most concerning aspects of the Dismissal is that Kerr’s memoirs were vetted, stripped of any concerning content about precisely this involvement, by the Palace. Kerr’s autobiography can hardly be relied upon for authenticity and verification when it has been royally whitewashed. This is yet another example of the way in which the Palace has distorted the history of the Dismissal, by concealing its own involvement at the time and in the history since.

Despite the mounting evidence of Palace involvement over this last decade, some still clung defiantly to the myth of royal propriety and neutrality, strenuously denying that Kerr could possibly have forewarned the Palace that he was contemplating Whitlam’s dismissal. With the release of the Palace letters which describe over several letters this episode of Kerr telling Prince Charles that he might have to dismiss the government, that view is now unsustainable.

Letters from Charteris and Kerr have confirmed that this critical conversation between Charles and Kerr did take place in September 1975, at which Kerr told Charteris that he might have to dismiss Whitlam and raised his concern that Whitlam might recall him from office while he was considering doing so. The conversation was then relayed from Charles to the Queen and Charteris and a response to that “contingency”, as Kerr described, it put in place.

This conversation is key to understanding the Palace’s involvement as it developed, by agreeing to delay acting on the perfectly proper advice of the prime minister to recall the governor-general should Whitlam have given it, in the context of the possible dismissal of the government, the Palace was already involved. The Queen had entered the domestic political fray in these secret discussions with Kerr, despite later denials, and worse, she had taken his side against the prime minister. She expressed her great displeasure at any such action by Whitlam, “The Queen would take most unkindly to it”, while not remarking at all on the propriety of the governor-general considering dismissing the elected government without warning.

Instead, the Queen indicated that she would delay acting on the prime minister’s advice to recall Kerr should that be given. This was critical in Kerr’s planning — his need to protect his position was his greatest concern and the Queen had provided a safety net. Act quickly and it can still be done. To quote Turnbull again, “this advice, no doubt, reinforced Kerr in concluding that, to forestall any risk of Whitlam sacking him, he would need to give him no, or very little, warning of his intention”.

A remarkable feature of the Palace letters is that not only do they show the Queen, through Charteris, and the governor-general discussing the fate of the elected government, the tenure of the governor-general, and entering political discussions invariably antithetical to that government, they do so as if the Imperial Conferences of 1926 and 1930 never happened. Those all important Constitutional resets, after which the “constitutional principle” that the Crown acts on the advice of responsible ministers prevailed, specifically established that in the tenure of a governor-general the monarch acts on the prime minister’s advice alone. These conversations between the future king Charles, Charteris, the Queen, and Kerr about securing his own tenure and devising a means to delay acting on the advice of the prime minister, were improper in the extreme.

A recently released interview with Sir William Heseltine makes the political nature of this discussion clear and, if there were still any doubt as to its intent, Heseltine describes the impact of such a delay on the Dismissal. It would have given Kerr the time needed to dismiss Whitlam and appoint Fraser. Charteris described this process soon after the Dismissal, at a seminar at which Heseltine was also present. Charteris was asked what the Queen would have done had Whitlam, having heard of Kerr’s secret discussions and his plan to dismiss the government, contacted the Palace to request Kerr’s recall.

Heseltine recounts the non-lawyer Charteris’s response, one which goes against the core requirement that a constitutional monarch to act on the advice of elected government. Charteris claimed, from no particular authority, that Whitlam’s advice would not have been acted on, that it would have to be in writing and that the Queen “would have been entitled to take her time before responding to it”. Most significantly, as Heseltine recounts, this constructed delay would have given Kerr the time needed to dismiss Whitlam; “in which interval of course the governor-general might have had the opportunity to go ahead and do exactly what he did without giving the prime minister notice”.

The full extent of the Palace’s involvement in the Dismissal is now well documented, reflecting a history that has been hard-fought for and decades in the making. We should respect what that history tells us and take a final, long overdue, step away from a Constitutional monarchy and towards Australia as a fully independent republic. It’s time.

 

 

Read more:

https://johnmenadue.com/royal-fingerprints-on-the-dismissal-of-gough-whitlam-and-our-history/

 

 

 

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If you believe the narrative being pushed in the UK media, there’s a predictable source to blame for Barbados going it alone as a republic. This speaks volumes about the UK’s uncertainty over its place in the shifting world order.

This week is a significant one for Barbados as it removes Britain’s monarch as its head of state, having made the decision to become a republic. 

The Caribbean island nation was initially a creation of the British Empire and was settled as early as the 1600s. The often-unspoken part of its history is, of course, that it was built up as a slave state to serve its colonial overlord. 

The slaves often rebelled against colonial rule, with very bloody results, and the island eventually gained its sovereign independence from the Empire in 1966, when it became a constitutional monarchy. 

The decision to now move a step further and cut ties with the royal family has stirred controversy in Britain, where a scapegoat has been found for this decision: China. Conservative MP Tom Tugendhat claimed Beijing had sought to undermine Britain’s status in the Caribbean, and this narrative was continued in a Telegraph piece that described how China’s billions were buying up the Commonwealth. The inference is clear – Chinese influence is responsible, either directly or indirectly, for Barbados’ decision.

It also seemed to mirror the theme of Foreign Secretary Liz Truss’s new fund specifically aimed at the Caribbean. Truss has vowed to “bring nations back into the orbit of free market democracies” – or, in other words, hegemony.

 

The truth is that China is not responsible for Barbados scrapping the British monarchy at all. It is entirely possible that it has never dawned on many in Britain that perhaps Barbados just doesn’t like the country that openly enslaved and exploited it. 

This idea has passed by those of the neo-Britannia, neo-imperialist mindset in Westminster, who actively seem to believe that the UK is, as Barbados’ former colonial master, a righteous saviour against predatory ‘big bad China’. 

This encapsulates the view of the former Empire as a whole – that it was not something aggressive, exploitative, or brutal, but was acting out of moral altruism and doing the countries it colonised a favour. 

The UK never had to face any accountability for its crimes precisely because it came on the “right side of history,” and it has used its victories, particularly over Germany, to conjure the narrative that it was always the righteous nation fighting in a war of good against evil. This in turn contributed to the broader spectrum of Anglophone exceptionalism, as seen in the United States, Canada, and Australia.

It leaves London without any self-awareness regarding how its legacy is actually viewed in its former – non-white – colonial dominions, and it becomes very difficult for it to ever to reason why a nation like Barbados would dream of cutting off the British monarchy.

The logical conclusion, then, is that foul actors must surely be at play.

Yet this also tells a story of how Britain is not psychologically coping with its own relative decline in a changing world, still perceiving itself as a ‘great power’ and resisting any shifts away from it, even if in practice it is simply the United States’ water carrier. 

The spew of articles and commentary shows that Britain views Barbados not as a sovereign country, but as somewhere that is in its sphere of influence. Barbados’ Prime Minister Mia Mottley recently openly criticised the BBC for saying the country was in “America’s back yard,” as if it had no standing other than to be dominated by English-speaking nations. 

This speaks to the truth of Brexit, too – the idea of a global Britain and the UK as an Indo-Pacific power, with the latter at least amounting to a complete denial of reality. As a result, when it is displayed – as it is in the Telegraph’s article – that China has an increasingly strong economic relationship with Barbados, it is rejected as something illegitimate and an act of aggression or predatory behaviour. 

And with this, as Truss’s new fund shows, comes the far-fetched idea that Britain has to compete with Beijing, despite it being completely unrealistic. Hence the colonial mentality – that Barbados needs the ‘help’ of altruistic Britain to make the right choices because it can't be trusted to do so itself. 

 

This example is a perfect demonstration of how the rise of China is challenging and wounding the British psyche. The British Empire is history, yet it continues to live on in the minds of policymakers like Truss, who appears to be preaching a variety of ‘Make Britain Great Again’. 

China is seen as a threat not just to the standing of the UK, but to the Anglosphere domination of the world, which is underpinned by American hegemony. The idea that a non-English speaking, communist Asian country could become a major force in world affairs is horrifying to the propagators of the capitalist Anglophone Empire. Yet the reality is Britain’s attempt to fight back via Truss’s fund is built on sand, pure rhetoric, and a simple unwillingness to accept reality. The £9-billion-a-year fund was described as “peanuts” by Ranil Dissanayake of the Center for Global Development think tank, and as I wrote on Twitter, contemporary Britain has failed even to build a high-speed railway from London to Leeds. How can it possibly strive to compete with the Belt and Road Initiative? 

Barbados is not falling into a new trap of Chinese hegemony, but shifting away from centuries of British influence which have defined its entire existence. The UK has long refused to make amends or even acknowledge its wrongdoings on building a country solely upon slavery. 

Predictably, though, the British media coverage doesn’t cover this angle, focusing instead on how China is apparently a malign presence for building roads, sewers, and selling them buses.

 

Read more:

https://www.rt.com/op-ed/541648-britain-barbados-monarchy-china/

 

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Time for Aussieland to drop the POMMY monarchy...

 

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