8 Weeks to a Dictatorship and our Constitution
As events are unfolding in Turkey, it appears the leaders there were aware of the planned coup and had their own plans ready to immediately remove opposition to their power base, thus causing Turkey to fall into a dictatorship. It is noted those arrested appear to be mostly political, military and judiciary people. 8 weeks from the resignation of the Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu to a dictatorship by the President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
A similar event occured, using legal mechanisms available at the time, in Germany to do the same. I have placed a wikipedia timeline of this 1933-34 event at the bottom of this post.
What lessons do we in Australia have from this event?
Power must remain divided. Malcolm Turnbull recently went to a federal election with the plan to temporarily combine both houses of federal parliament together to pass unpopular legislation. He tried to weaken the checks and balances in our political system by manipulating them for his advantage, but fortunately failed.
I shall provide a brief overview of the balance of power for our local government.
In the Westminster System "government" is recognised as having three distinct powers, Legislative, Executive and Judicial. Local government in Australia is an exercise of the executive (administrative) power of the government of the States. Local government has no legislative, executive (administrative) or judicial power of its own but all power that it has is derived by delegation from the State Governments and is the actual exercise of powers of the State Government.
In our system local government is not a "tier (or level) of government", it is a means used by the State Governments for exercising aspects of their own administrative governmental functions.
Local government itself is created and maintained by State Government legislation, the geographic extent of local government districts is determined by the State Governments, the powers of councils are determined by and conferred by State Governments, the authority to make regulations is delegated and supervised by the State Governments, establishment of new councils and amalgamation of existing councils are matters for the State Governments.
The function of the Judiciary is to interpret the laws to ensure the Executive has adhered to the Legislative. Government must obey the laws of the land. If the judiciary favour the government then the common law is lost. An important point to note is that Turkey's push for a dictatorship has required the removal of many Politicians, Judges and Military personel who may have favoured the historical precedents, laws and customs over a dictatorship. The Politicians, Judges and Military could have called the executive to right order.
Our system of Limited Constitutional Monarchy is built on a system of Common Law where even the king is subject to the law of the land. There are limits to which government must abide. In fact our Constitution specificly limits the powers given to the Federal Government.
Since federation successive governments have pursued an expansion to their powers at every opportunity, just as Malcolm Turnbull tried to do with this election.
There is much reading to be done by all of us to build our knowledge base about our system of Government and the Common Law - enjoy the articles listed below.
taken from :
MAGNA CARTA AND THE SUPREME LAW by John Mitchell
It has been written of the Great Charter,
“Those positive laws and institutions of later times, which secure our rights and liberties, all have their root in this charter.”
Yet the singular characteristic of the Charter is that its clauses are negative. They inhibit the Chief Executive in the nation, at that time the King, from doing something.
It recognises that each individual has inviolable natural rights both in the liberty of his person and in the possession of property.
The chief cause of the Charter was a king who misused the power of his position to impose flagitious taxation, and used arbitrary power to achieve his ends in other ways. But it is essential to note that even had that arbitrary power been covered by laws imposed on the nation by the Executive, although the acts would have been “legalised”, they would still have been lawless by the great conception which formed a background to political thinking and political action in England for centuries.
This was a conception that there is in fact a kingdom of God to which we mortals are subject while on earth, that even if we ignore it we are subject to it and by breaking its laws suffer the penalties.
Call it Truth, call it objective Reality or call it natural law, it is there.
Continued here: http://www.alor.org/New%20Times/pdf/NT2313.pdf
Further reading here:
Germany - Timeline of Events Leading to a Dictatorship
Hindenburg retired from the army for the first time in 1911, but was recalled shortly after the outbreak of World War I in 1914. He first came to national attention at the age of 66 as the victor of the decisive Battle of Tannenberg in August 1914. As Germany’s Chief of the General Staff from August 1916, Hindenburg’s reputation rose greatly in German public esteem. He and his deputy Erich Ludendorff would then lead Germany in a de facto military dictatorship throughout the remainder of the war, marginalizing German Emperor Wilhelm II as well as the German Reichstag. In line with Lebensraum ideology, he advocated sweeping annexations of territory in Poland, Ukraine and Russia in order to re-settle Germans there.
In 1932, although 84 years old and in poor health, Hindenburg was persuaded to run for re-election as German President, as he was considered the only candidate who could defeat Adolf Hitler. Hindenburg was re-elected in a runoff. He was opposed to Hitler and was a major player in the increasing political instability in the Weimar Republic that ended with Hitler’s rise to power. He dissolved the Reichstag (parliament) twice in 1932 and finally, under pressure, agreed to appoint Hitler Chancellor of Germany in January 1933. In February, he signed off on the Reichstag Fire Decree, which suspended various civil liberties, and in March he signed the Enabling Act of 1933, which gave Hitler’s regime arbitrary powers. Hindenburg died the following year, after which Hitler declared the office of President vacant and made himself head of state.
Article 48 of the constitution of the Weimar Republic of Germany (1919–1933) allowed the President, under certain circumstances, to take emergency measures without the prior consent of the Reichstag. This power was understood to include the promulgation of “emergency decrees (Notverordnungen)”.
On January 30, 1933, Adolf Hitler was named Chancellor of Germany. Lacking a majority in the Reichstag, Hitler formed a coalition with the Nationalists. Not long afterwards, he called elections for March 5. Six days before the election, on February 27, the Reichstag fire damaged the house of Parliament in Berlin. Claiming that the fire was the first step in a Communist revolution, the Nazis used the fire as a pretext to get the President, Hindenburg, to sign the Reichstag Fire Decree, officially the Verordnung des Reichspräsidenten zum Schutz von Volk und Staat (Presidential Decree for the Protection of People and State).
Under the decree, issued by Hindenburg on the basis of Article 48, the government was given authority to curtail constitutional rights including habeas corpus, free expression of opinion, freedom of the press, rights of assembly, and the privacy of postal, telegraphic and telephonic communications. Constitutional restrictions on searches and confiscation of property were likewise suspended.
The Reichstag Fire Decree was one of the first steps the Nazis took toward the establishment of a one-party dictatorship in Germany. With several key government posts in the hands of Nazis and with the constitutional protections on civil liberties suspended by the decree, the Nazis were able to use police power to suppress, intimidate and arrest their opposition, in particular the Communists. Hitler’s subversion of the Constitution under Article 48 thus had the mark of legality.
The March 5 elections gave the Nazi-DNVP coalition a narrow majority in the Reichstag. Nonetheless, the Nazis were able to maneuver on March 23, 1933 the passage of the Enabling Act by the required two-thirds parliamentary majority, effectively abrogating the authority of the Reichstag and placing its authority in the hands of the Cabinet (in effect, the Chancellor). Over the years, Hitler used Article 48 to give his dictatorship the stamp of legality. The Reichstag Fire Decree was never abolished during Nazi time; thus, for the next 12 years Hitler ruled under what amounted to martial law.