As of yesterday the Australian Government lost the sovereign right to absolutely and unequivocally enforce its its own Migration Act and effectively determine who is an Australian citizen and who is not.
Four unelected judges have ridden roughshod over 25 million Australians, trashed the constitution and emasculated parliamentary sovereignty.
If determining who is an Australian citizen and who is an “alien” is not fundamental to national sovereignty I don’t know what is.
However, from now on Australian citizenship for racially privileged persons can be settled by a corroboree of “Aunts” and “Uncles” sitting around the campfire deciding whether or not to acknowledge a person’s claim to indigeneity.
Where this mess will end up is anybody’s guess as technically the High Court has created a new class of person that is neither an Australian citizen nor an alien, aptly described by dissenting Justice Gagelar as being “consigned to a constitutional netherworld”.
You can bet Australian citizenship will follow as it would seem incongruous that a “First Australian” was not Australian.
You would think that a Government that campaigns on sovereign borders would be deeply troubled by this development.
However, the indigenous Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Ken Wyatt is apparently pleased the High Court has racially segregated the nation and upheld the equally stupid (and vague) notion of a “three part test” of indigeneity.
One might have thought that the recent controversy surrounding the indigenous bona fides of “academic” Bruce Pascoe might have given Wyatt cause for concern rather than celebration of the inadequate “three part test” that now determines not just your grant money but your right to citizenship.
That Wyatt could defend or celebrate this decision is surely a joke although unsurprising given his craven handling of the Pascoe matter where he chose to shoot the messenger raising legitimate questions about the integrity and legitimacy of indigenous grant programs. He is unfit to be a Minister of the Crown.
If you want to understand how absurd the High Court ruling is consider the Tasmanian ATSIC elections in 2002. Following controversy at the 1999 elections, whereby it was alleged that many of the voters and even some of the representatives were not in fact Aboriginal, ATSIC and the Federal Government agreed to trial an Indigenous Electoral roll overseen by the AEC. Disputes about eligibility were to be adjudicated by The Independent Indigenous Advisory Committee (IIAC).
Of the 1,298 people who applied to go on the indigenous electoral roll, 2,572 objections were lodged against approximately 1,100 people. To say this was farcical was an understatement. There were twice as many objections as there were people wanting to vote at the election and the objections constituted 90% of the electoral roll. Ultimately, the IIAC accepted 621 onto the roll and rejected 587. This was out of a total indigenous population greater than 14,000.
Of those rejected 137 challenged the decision of the IIAC at the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT). All were successful and reinstated on the electoral roll bring the final number of eligible voters up to 750. The Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre responded angrily to the AAT judgment stating that as a result more than a third of the candidates standing for election were “white”. It called for a boycott of the poll.
This example perfectly illustrates the absurdity of the High Court decision. Australian citizenship can now be determined by self identifying as indigenous and determined by the vague application of a subjective three part test indigenous Australians can’t even agree on. It will be interesting to see how the Daniel Love case plays out.
Worse still the High Court have snuck through the back door a form of indigenous sovereignty that was specifically rejected by Mabo. The majority justices have shown an arrogant contempt of the Australian people and their right to determine such matters by referendum.
The only positive likely to flow from this terrible decision is it that should kill off for good an indigenous Voice to Parliament enshrined in the constitution (assuming this decision doesn’t establish a precedent for that as well).
Remember all those elitist lawyers, activists and academics looking down their noses on the little people and scoffing at their racism and small mindedness because they dared warn of the dangers of judicial activism and the toxicity of identity politics?
The High Court has emphatically demonstrated that those concerns are well founded and constitutional recognition will be abused by judicial activists imposing their own beliefs and ideals over the Australian people.
So now we do need a referendum dealing with our indigenous past, not to “complete the constitution”, but to restore it and our sovereignty that the guardians of the constitution so arrogantly thought to trash.