|THE MONARCHY AND AUSTRALIA
By Alistair McConnachie and first published in a Sovereignty Special Report distributed free with the May 2002 issue.
"The Queen launched an anti-democratic coup in Australia in 1975"
A quick Australian constitutional lesson is in order: The Governor-General's role derives from Section 61 of the Australian Constitution which reads: "The executive power of the Commonwealth is vested in the Queen and is exercisable by the Governor-General as the Queen's representative, and extends to the execution and maintenance of this Constitution, and of the laws of the Commonwealth."
He is appointed by the Queen acting upon the advice of her Australian Prime Minister. The Governor-General's actions are his own responsibility.
When Gough Whitlam, leader of the Labour Party, was unable to obtain a supply of money from the Senate he was required constitutionally to advise a general election or resign.
The advice of the Australian Chief Justice to Sir John Kerr, the Governor-General, was "a Prime Minister who cannot ensure Supply to the Crown, including funds for carrying on the ordinary services of government, must either advise a general election ... or resign." Whitlam refused to do either.
Sir John's letter of dismissal to Whitlam of 11th November 1975, stated: "You have previously told me that you would never resign or advise an election of the House of Representatives or a double dissolution and that the only way in which such an election could be obtained would be by my dismissal of you and your ministerial colleagues."
Therefore, contrary to what republicans will argue, it was because Whitlam refused to call a general election or resign that the Governor-General, a Labour Party nominee himself, had the authority and duty under the Constitution to withdraw Whitlam's commission as Prime Minister and dismiss his ministerial colleagues.
He invited the Leader of the Opposition to form a caretaker government which was to make no new appointments or dismissals, nor impose any policies until a general election had been held.
He accepted immediately the Leader of the Opposition, Malcolm Fraser's advice that both Houses of Parliament should be dissolved, and dissolved them. The subsequent election overwhelmingly rejected Whitlam's party.
The action of the Governor-General was entirely consistent with the Constitution of Australia. The constitutional implications were fully examined by Professor D. P. O' Connell in the January 1976 edition of The Parliamentarian, and can also be found in the appendix of John Farthing's Freedom Wears A Crown (Veritas: Australia, August 1985 edition).