Proposed new Sections for the Australian Constitution
There is little point in outlining the new sections containing the rules for election of an Australian head of state before there is a broad consensus on this issue in the public.
I just want to note here that the change to our system of government so that we can elect our head of state could be effected through leaving the existing Constitution exactly as it is now and then by adding new Sections listing the minimal conditions in the rules and processes for the election of our head of state.
The existing Constitution has Sections numbered up to 128. Section 128 includes the conditions for altering the Constitution by referendum.
- Section 129 Bill of Human Rights
I propose the need for a new Section 129 as a Bill of Human Rights. The Bill of Human Rights ensures that the election for the office of head of state is open to all Australian citizens and that all Australian citizens have the freedoms and rights to pursue that office lawfully, if they so desire. A Bill of Human Rights should also specify the rights of people who are not Australian citizens but who are none the less subject to Australian laws as a result of actions by the Australian Governments or their agents, and even if they are deported to foreign lands. The Australian state has a basic obligation to treat all people who have have fallen under its care with certain basic human rights.
I suspect that the Australian public in general would welcome a Bill of Human Rights given this justification. It is a basic premise of social contract theories, that societies are willing to aggregate some powers to the state or a sovereign in return for basic human rights and a society where the rule of law prevails. This has progressively been the case with the British monarchy (with a notable exception being the rules for succession to the Throne).
- Sections 130-? Method for election of an Australian citizen to serve as head of state
I propose that new Sections 130-? (with the number of new sections being as is deemed to be necessary) list the minimal requirements for the election of an Australian citizen to serve one term in office as our head of state. These new sections should also specify the rules for sharing the office of head of state in turn between the states and territories. Methods for extraordinary removal from office would also need to be formally codified.
- A Standing Committee of the Federal Parliament to deal with the ongoing issues
The methods for nomination and campaigning will be left for the state legislatures to determine for their own states. The states should be able to refer to a standing committee of the Federal Parliament or a sub-committee of the Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs for consultation about the state based elections and where they can also regularly meet with representatives from the other States and the Commonwealth about these processes for election. You would expect the states to negotiate with the Commonwealth on such issues as to the amount of funding for an election and the relationship and timing with regard to other elections in a state and the details of involvement of the AEC, etc. These will be ongoing concerns so a standing committee would be appropriate and Acts of Parliament could be drafted to administer the details of the process as needed. The states could arrange their own standing committees or assign a Minister to deal with the Commonwealth on these issues.