Wednesday Forum: August 19, 2020

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2,514 Responses to Wednesday Forum: August 19, 2020

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  1. Old Lefty

    Diversity training but no instruction in using protective equipment, and a ten minute handover brief before being put in charge:

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-08-21/returned-travellers-describe-dehumanising-hotel-quarantine/12581884

    The content is no surpise, but the fact that the report got last the ABC censors is.

  2. Mitch M.

    dover_beach
    #3555704, posted on August 21, 2020 at 11:46 pm
    The case law component leaves it in the hands of constitutional lawyers. If we continue this way the legal qualifications to the Constitution make it an incomprehensible document for most Australians and only a handful of citizens are capable of comprehending it. The nation’s primary founding document is in the hands of a few constitutional lawyers and HC judges. FMD.

    No one can craft a constitution that doesn’t require interpretation. Laws are general rules that cannot easily or unambiguously because some situations are unforeseen or because the situation involves matters that raise several sections within the constitution, and so on. The other thing is that those that wrote the document knew from experience that matters would arise that would require adjudication (this is an inescapable part of the law) so they included a mechanism to resolve such disputes, they include the justices of the HC and constitutional lawyers. They didn’t say, when a dispute arises, consult the people. Although they did allow that if and when the people weren’t satisfied with the constitution, that they could amend, repeal, or add a section to the constitution via referendum.

    Relying on documents written in a time so different from ours has a certain absurdity about it. What is wrong with arguing for a complete rewriting on a periodic basis? How about a sunset clause in the constitution like 50-100 years? How can we claim allegiance to a document we cannot understand? How can people know if they are dissatisfied with the constitution when they are incapable of interpreting it? A new rendering can allow a clearer formulation accessible to many more people. A rewriting will cause the general populace to become involved, to become more aware, to think more carefully about the constitution. It will require future interpretations but for how many centuries must we keep piling on legal literature before the constitution in its original reading becomes meaningless?

  3. NoFixedAddress

    A Joe Biden Presidency would be the culmination of The Manchurian Candidate.

    Imagine the infighting to be the American Ambassador to China?

  4. Leigh Lowe

    dover at 11:46.
    A very good and succint summary.
    The overlay I might add is that the drafters of the Constitution were trying to herd several mistrusting colonies into a Federation (hello WA).
    Wording was diluted to the lowest common denominator.
    This was no triumphant birth certificate of a new nation born out of a war of independence.

  5. NoFixedAddress

    Mitch M.
    #3555711, posted on August 22, 2020 at 12:05 am

    Not only that but there were stuff all that voted for it back yay.

    It is time for more States and get away from inner city filth.

    In our multi culti Australia surely we wouldn’t impose conformity to one belief.

  6. NoFixedAddress

    Leigh Lowe
    #3555715, posted on August 22, 2020 at 12:10 am
    ….
    The overlay I might add is that the drafters of the Constitution were trying to herd several mistrusting colonies into a Federation

    Then show the discussion papers

  7. Tel

    Relying on documents written in a time so different from ours has a certain absurdity about it. What is wrong with arguing for a complete rewriting on a periodic basis?

    You can propose a change to the Australian Constitution any time you want, and campaign for it. All you need is other people to support you … changes have gone through so there’s a workable method for updating … if that’s required.

    While we are at it, why not change the kilogram? I mean … depending on a measure that was designed in a time so different to ours has a certain absurdity about it. We need a new kilogram to better reflect our 21st Century lifestyle. Hey … are you still wearing leather shoes? Animal skins wrapped around your feet? Gosh … that’s so primitive. You should be wearing circuit boards surely!!

  8. dover_beach

    Relying on documents written in a time so different from ours has a certain absurdity about it. What is wrong with arguing for a complete rewriting on a periodic basis? How about a sunset clause in the constitution like 50-100 years? How can we claim allegiance to a document we cannot understand? How can people know if they are dissatisfied with the constitution when they are incapable of interpreting it? A new rendering can allow a clearer formulation accessible to many more people. A rewriting will cause the general populace to become involved, to become more aware, to think more carefully about the constitution. It will require future interpretations but for how many centuries must we keep piling on legal literature before the constitution in its original reading becomes meaningless?

    The idea of rewriting the constitution every 50-100 years is preposterous and would completely undermine allegiances to country. It would turn the constitution into a statute and large groups would form to turn the constitution to their favour whenever the period of reformulation was approaching. Finding a difficulty with a section given a situation doesn’t mean we must be dissatisfied with a section let alone the entire constitution; difficulties are always to be expected as previously admitted. Persistent problems with a section can be dealt with by referendum without having to dissolve and rewrite the entire document. The case law clarifies the document. It addresses ambiguities, incoherences, and the like, when faced with this or that situation; it doesn’t make the document meaningless.

  9. Mitch M.

    While we are at it, why not change the kilogram? I mean … depending on a measure that was designed in a time so different to ours has a certain absurdity about it. We need a new kilogram to better reflect our 21st Century lifestyle. Hey … are you still wearing leather shoes? Animal skins wrapped around your feet? Gosh … that’s so primitive. You should be wearing circuit boards surely!!

    Those are discrete quantifiable measurements that can be mathematically defined. Law is a set of abstract principles. Apples and oranges.

  10. Mitch M.

    The idea of rewriting the constitution every 50-100 years is preposterous and would completely undermine allegiances to country.

    I don’t see how it can completely undermine allegiance to country. That’s hyperbole and fails to acknowledge that when most people talk about allegiance to country they don’t even think about the constitution they think about Australia physically, they think about parliaments and states, statutes and culture.

    It would turn the constitution into a statute and large groups would form to turn the constitution to their favour whenever the period of reformulation was approaching.

    It was written with large groups arguing for the construction in their favour. Today it is single entities mounting HC cases to interpret the constitution in their favour. Your complaint could equally apply to referendums. It would still be a constitution not a statute but it is now statutes and case law that determines the meaning of the constitution.

    Persistent problems with a section can be dealt with by referendum without having to dissolve and rewrite the entire document.

    The history of referendums does not support that argument. Why is a modern synthesis such a challenging concept in this regard when in many other domains new syntheses are a common occurrence? Are you arguing that it is impossible to recreate the document in such a way that it incorporates all the relevant case laws that have qualified the original document?

    The case law clarifies the document. It addresses ambiguities, incoherences, and the like, when faced with this or that situation; it doesn’t make the document meaningless.

    We rewrite statutes on a regular basis. Those that don’t get rewritten like the ITAA become overblown incomprehensible documents that people spend millions in court deciding over the meaning.

  11. dover_beach

    I don’t see how it can completely undermine allegiance to country.

    If the founding document is treated like a statute, it won’t be a founding document and won’t provide any continuity. That continuity is important for alligence, not completely, nor predominantly, but it supplements allegiance to place, mores, and the like.

    It was written with large groups arguing for the construction in their favour.

    Sure, but their interests were moderated by the permanence it involved, as well as by the uncertainty of their own position in the distant future. The same applies for referenda.

    The history of referendums does not support that argument. Why is a modern synthesis such a challenging concept in this regard when in many other domains new syntheses are a common occurrence? Are you arguing that it is impossible to recreate the document in such a way that it incorporates all the relevant case laws that have qualified the original document?

    Not at all. The fact that referenda often fail in achieving the required majority is not a failure. It may in fact suggest that what was being proposed didn’t address a persistent problem at all but a sectional interest or an ideological fancy.

    We rewrite statutes on a regular basis. Those that don’t get rewritten like the ITAA become overblown incomprehensible documents that people spend millions in court deciding over the meaning.

    We don’t actually. Entire statutes are rarely rewritten. More often they are amended in part. Tax law is an exception because in a certain sense it isn’t law properly speaking.

    All of this is beside the point. You are not able to write a law that doesn’t require interpretation occasionally when a situation arises that is not clearly covered by a law. Rewriting the Constitution every so often will not ease this problem. BTW, the problem with the ITAA is that it wants to achieve what you do, cover all circumstances in the law by spelling them out rather than applying general principles that are only adjudicated when a ambiguity arises in a given situation. That is why it is extremely long and yet it is still requires adjudication when difficult cases arise.

  12. David James states the bleeding obvious.

    In response to the COVID-19 crisis governments, including the Australian government, have borrowed heavily (albeit at low interest rates) to keep their economies from collapsing. That means the debt will increase even further. China also has a huge debt problem, with the country’s domestic money supply now running at two and a half times the size of the economy: a money printing exercise, or rather Ponzi scheme, designed to keep the nation’s banks from collapsing. To say the least, it is a short term solution only.

    There are typically only two ways out of a debt build up: inflation, which erodes the real value of the debt, or debt forgiveness. It is hard to see how the former will happen. There has already been ridiculous inflation in assets such as shares and property, bubbles that would seem to have mostly run its course. Inflation in the prices of goods seems unlikely because of global oversupply in most sectors. And inflation in services, which account for about 60 per cent of developed economies, also seems unlikely given the collapsing of demand. The simple analyses of inflation used by many economists — whereby economies are seen as closed systems in which, if there is too much money sloshing around, prices will automatically rise — no longer apply. Western economies, especially America’s, are very open systems, with money not just circulating domestically but across borders in huge amounts (over $US4 trillion a day).

    RTWT

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