Saturday, December 18, 2004

Orders in Council and Republicanism

The Holden Republic has an excellent overview of the constitutional atrocity of Orders In Council and why we should get rid of them. I should add that it's not strictly necessary to become a republic to get rid of them - we could, for example, have the Queen write new Letters Patent which denied her the power of revision without a formal invitation from Parliament - but that's hardly likely. I associate the elimination of Orders In Council with republicanism for the simple reason that republicanism stands for a single source of law: a democratically elected Parliament. As a remnant of royal decree, Orders In Council would thus be discarded. The trick is to make certain that they are not replaced with something similarly odious.

Another reason is that the move to a republic will necessarily involve the codification and therefore limitation of government. The problem with our current system is that we have simply replaced an absolute monarch with an absolute Parliament. A move to a republic will hopefully allow us to finally impose proper limits on government, to ensure that it respects human rights and does not act without allowing proper time for public oversight.