Andrew Inglis Clarke

Father of Federation and of the Hare Clarke Voting System

Clark, an amazing Tasmania, was a Barrister, Parliamentarian, Attorney-General, electoral reformer and Constitutionalist.

Clark was indeed a ‘sound’ lawyer.  His refusal to accept anything, but an honest and reasonable fee prevented him from making a fortune from his profession. He was, however, more than a lawyer; he was also an engineer, poet, political philosopher and the Father of Australian Federation.

The electorate of Denison has now been changed to Clark, named after Andrew.

He is credited in his first year in the House of Assembly with initiating 150 Ministerial Bills, only one fewer than Henry Parkes.  Some of his Bills dealt with cruelty to animals, legalising trade unions, more orderly control of public houses, the care of destitute children, payment of Members of Parliament and reforming laws on lunacy.

The University of Tasmania was established largely because of his efforts with association with colleague, Neil Elliott Lewis later to become Premier. He was Vice-Chancellor of the University of Tasmania 1901-1903.

Clark attended the first conference on Federation held in Hobart in 1886 and in 1890 was a Tasmanian delegate to the Australasian Federation Conference and to the national Australasian Conference in 1891. In his early years, Andrew was taught at home, because of his poor health, by his talented mother, Ann Inglis.  Later he attended the Hobart High School leaving school at 16.  At the age of 24, he decided to study law and in 1877 was admitted to the Bar.

As early as 1874, Clark was a promoter of proportional representation voting as opposed to the one-man, one-vote concept.  In 1878 Clark married in Melbourne Grace Paterson, daughter of John Ross, a Hobart ship builder.  In the same year he was elected to the House of Assembly for Norfolk Plains, but lost in 1882. 

In 1885 Clark founded the Southern Tasmanian Political Reform Association and unsuccessfully stood for election once again in 1886.  During the same year the movement promoting the establishment of a Commonwealth had its birth in Tasmania when on 25th January 1886, the first session of The Federal Council of Australia was opened by Governor Strahan.  Clark, of course, attended.  Later as a member of the Federal Council, he would draft a Federal Constitution for the convention of 1891.

In 1887 Clark was elected and served as Attorney-General under Premier Phillip Oakley Fysh (1835-1919) until 1892.  Sadly in this year of 1887 he lost his son, Melvin Inglis who died in infancy.

In August 1896, Clark was able to introduce proportional representation for Hobart and Launceston for the following year, after heated discussion. It became known as the Hare Clark system. Thomas Hare was an English Barrister. Clark also urged modification such as the transfer of surpluses and reducing the element of chance.  In that year, he was unable to attend the Federal convention because he was in America.

Opposition to the Hare-Clark system was vigorous with petitions being received by the Parliament to abandon it.  On the whole, it would appear electors mastered it quite well. Premier Edward Braddon was urged to adopt it.

In the 20th December 1897 in the Town Hall there was a presentation of an address to Clark for his stand on his constitutional principles. Clark replied by saying how important it was to the adherence to constitutional methods as the only safe guard to public liberty, particularly against the dictatorship of any one man or group of men. Here, I firmly believe he would be appalled how the Australian Constitution has been abused and ignored by the Federal Government and Premiers, because of the current social circumstances. Section 92 and 117 for example guarantees movement of citizens between States while section 51 (xxiiA) is against forced medical procedures, such as mandatory vaccinations or the unconstitutional National Cabinet of Premiers. As Clark would understand without these constitutional provisions we are dominated by those enjoy their new found power.

In 1898 Clark was appointed a judge of the Supreme Court of Tasmania and a senior judge in 1901. Clark never enjoyed strong health and the year of his death 1907 (14th November),  proportional voting was adopted for the whole state and used for the first time at a general election, April 1909.  In 1907 the established two party system did not exist in Tasmania.

What type of man was he personally?  James Backhouse, legal practitioner, historian and author states in his book Prelude to Federation (OBM Publishing 1976), “Lewis (N. Elliott) is one of the very, very few, prominent politicians in whom public spirit is at all marked.  A. I. Clark is another.”

The Hare-Clark electoral voting system continues to apply State-wide for the House of Assembly.  It has it detractors, but generally it is well received.

A more detailed article is available in the people section of this site

We the people must regain our inherited freedoms

Even before the present virus outbreak, our freedoms were being eroded. Democracy we have seen is not a guarantee for freedom, ending up what could be termed, electoral dictatorship, meaning for the electorate there’s little choice. We have witnessed dreadful decisions enforced throughout Australia, without any compassion. A recent example has been the drowning of a small boy with the authorities not allowing a proper funeral.

Freedoms do not come easy; they are not given; they are fought for and won. We must be eternally vigilant otherwise they will be taken away. We are familiar of those who went to war to ensure that our way of life and freedoms are protected from a brutal enemy. Freedom, however, has to also be won through the corridors of powers, such as our parliaments and institutions. We cannot be free unless we have freedom of movement, (which is being denied at the moment by State governments) freedom of expression and freedom of thought. We must have a free media. We must be protected by unbiased laws, but we have seen throughout, Australia being governed by the executive and not by parliament.

The freedoms which we have enjoyed have been inherited from Great Britain. Millions have been attracted to our shores because of the freedom we offer. Long before the Norman Conquest (1066), King Alfred, the only British king to be called “Great”, implemented laws which laid foundation of the rights of the common man.

Then in 1215 we had the Magna Carta when King John was forced to sign the Charter forcing the King to be subject to the same laws as any other person. It influenced the United States Bill of Rights and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948. Both these latter peoples’ right were also influence by the British Bill of Rights of 1688 which set out the basic laws of parliamentary rule and again the rights of the common man, while putting a brake on the powers of the Monarch, the then government.

Then we have the Australian Constitution, with sections 92 and 117 guaranteeing the freedom of movement backed up by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948, with Article 13 guaranteeing the free movement in and out of a country, with Article 20 guaranteeing the right for peaceful assembly and association. Australia signed this, but what is the point of signing something that we are NOT going to honour? Or Article 12 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1986) which refers to “right of liberty of movement and freedom to choose his residence”? Any internal passport as proposed by the Federal Government, based on discriminatory policies, goes against these basic human rights.

We also operate under English Common Law and among other aspects, state that we are innocent until we are proven guilty, not the other way around. Indeed, technically, any spot fine or ticket written goes against the principle of Common Law. By writing a ticket you are automatically determined guilty before you can prove your innocence.

Governments exist to serve us, we the people are not here to serve the government.

We have seen State Governments act in a dictatorial way, especially in Victoria and New South Wales. We have seen police acting on behalf of the various State Governments, brutally victimising their own citizens. There have been multiple breeches of human rights in this regard. When Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews was questioned on this during a media conference, he replied “THIS IS NOT ABOUT HUMAN RIGHTS”.

How come we have got to this stage? Simply because of the continual message of fear espoused by governments, politicians, sections of the media and the medical fraternity. Remember? We were told that up to 150,000 people were predicted to die from corvid-19 as stated by the Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Dr Paul Kelly? The total nationally is less than 900, less, may I say, those dying annually of the flu.

Leading QC (Queen’s Counsel), Michael Wyles, has stated lock downs are illegal. They have not only destroyed the economic life of people, but too, their mental and social life. The rate of suicide is far higher than the death rate of this current virus, much of which could have been avoided if the vulnerable were instantly protected and those who had the virus were adequately quarantined.

A certain percentage (and it is quite high) of people like to be told what to do. It brings security and they don’t have to make decisions for themselves. I have been staggered how easy and how quickly we have been willing to give our freedoms away and let us not be fooled, governments have learnt from this. The Digital Certificate now available online by the Federal Government would be welcomed in Red China similar that country’s social credit policy. Do the right thing as proposed by the government and you will be rewarded. COVID – Certificate of Vaccination I.D.

Once our freedoms have gone, they will not be voluntarily given back to us by those in charge. We have our own mind which can make up its own decision for our own selves. Do we really need governments to do this for us? We can exercise our own choice and if we make the wrong choice we have to accept the consequences. We must question everything, rather than accepting without question what is being told to us. I personally start on a position of cynicism which is a safety valve. For example, how do I know I am being told the truth? What is the motive of those telling me? It is human nature to work from a position of self-interest and that includes government, its agencies and certainly big business, like Big Pharma.

St George’s Day

The 23rd of April is St George’s Day. It is important to remember the patron saint of England, St George and to observe St George’s Day and to wear the red cross against the white background, which is proudly carried on our Australian National Flag as well as the Tasmanian Flag. There are always the constant attacks on our national flag and the demand for a new one as there is for a republic.  Just recently of course we saw the sad passing of the Duke of Edinburgh, but it did show the out pouring of remorse world-wide over his death and the warmth that he was regarded  His virtues was one of sacrifice and of service, before self.  He had a vital career in the Royal Navy before he married Her Majesty, but he gave it all up for the Crown and for country.  Those attributes we must reclaim.  We live in a society which is now very much a “me “generation.
We all know of the story of St George and he is represented by the image of slaying the dragon.  This is more than just a simple portrayal.  It has a great symbolic message behind it.  It is good overcoming evil.  The Dragon of course is represented in the Holy Bible as Satan, the great deceiver and there is our George piecing the Dragon with his lance; good overcoming evil.

The Anglo-Saxon people have given the world so much good, not only in an array of invention, from the railway to television, the jet engine and much more, but in commerce, education and in the forefront of freedom of speech, freedom of movement, freedom of action, freedom of thought backed up by English Common Law, together with the Magna Carta (which is still in force, regardless what is said), the 1688 Constitution and even our own Australian Constitution. Before the Magna Carta it was Alfred the Great (the only English king to be called Great) who brought in laws that were taken from Holy Scriptures and it was these laws which were the basis of our pending freedoms. The judiciary must be independent and free from all government interference.

Yet, these days we have seen our great heritage and institutions under constant threat. We have seen our basis rights abused by over bearing governments, often backed by the police.  It has happening in all European countries and even in the traditional Anglo-Saxon countries, like Australia, New Zealand, the US and particularly in Canada, where the abuses I have seen I would not have thought would be possible a few years ago. Very few of our politicians make a murmur over it all.

So why is it happening?  Simply, to bring in a new society. The old must be destroyed, because the old is simply in the way.  Our traditions inherited here in Australia from the Mother Land must prevail.  If they do not then we will live in a lesser world than what we knew and we will be passing on to our children a darker society.

England has given us so much and yes, she also made mistakes, but the symbol of St George overcoming evil is just as relevant today as it was so many centuries ago. If we are so bad as our heritage is now portrayed by the academics, the mainstream media and the political parties, then why do, (what is seems), the whole world want to live within our Anglo-Saxon countries?  We must have done something right.

Not so long ago, we had a Royal Society of St George Society here in Hobart.  It no longer exists.  I can also recall some decades ago attending a dinner/dance with many attendants and over the subsequent years, attending other functions with myself holding St George’s Day church services at St George’s Church Battery Point followed by lunch at the Prince of Wales Hotel.  All that has gone.  It is important that the Royal Overseas League continues to herald and honour this important Day.  On the 1st of March I attended a choral presentation for St David’s Day (the patron saint of Wales) at St David’s Cathedral.  It was a wonderful service and of course big celebrations always occur on St Patrick’s Day and then in November we have St Andrews Day.  St George’s Day must not drop out of the calendar.  I am reminded that the most beautiful magazine, This England, led a campaign in England to have a national holiday for St George’s Day proclaimed, but big business and the government did not warm to the idea; perhaps it would not be in keeping with the modern multicultural society of England, where everyone else can celebrate their national heritage but the English can’t.

Incidentally, St David’s Cathedral was named after David Collins. It was he who settled Hobart in 1804, another great achievement of our heritage. This is a rare honour, as Cathedrals are usually named after saints and in this case most believe after St David of Wales.  Although the saint is honoured at the Cathedral, it was indeed named after David Collins who died in 1810 and is buried in St David’s Park also named, naturally, after him.

The Cross of St George is well known world-side. It is the National Flag of England; it is on the Union Flag of the United Kingdom, on our Australian National Flag, on our Tasmanian Flag and on other State flags, plus a number of provinces in Canada. It is also on The Hawaiian Flag, the National Flag of New Zealand and Fiji and many other national flags, including military ones, such as the Royal Australian Navy and the Royal Australian Air Force. Certainly St George has proven to be a significant historic figure. His cross also appears on the Greek Flag and the flag of Georgia. He is also the patron saint of Portugal, Moscow, Ethiopia, Lithuania, Palestine and Malta.  So you see he and his cross is not only an English icon.

Knowing of the importance and significance of St George in our everyday life, it is important that his memory and his meaning remain alive in this modern era.  It provides stability, goodness and points a way to the future.

ANZAC Day 2021

Anzac day is a day to remember. To remember those who went away, leaving their families, their community and country, to serve in war zones, risking their life and limb. Most were young and most were to die young. Nations call upon their youth to answer the call, while the older men, either military or civilian, direct their destinies. For many it was a call to adventure or let’s be frank, an opportunity to get away from an unpleasant love affair, a boring job or financial trouble.  The majority enlisted because of patriotic reasons.

ANZAC Day is to remember those who served during World War I. On this day 25th April all those wars and conflicts our nation has been involved in, even before federation and after world war one, are also embraced.

So why do we remember and who do we remember? ANZAC Day for me is to remember those ordinary folk who served in our military forces and our nurses who gave so much. We remember the families whose sons, brothers, grandsons, friends and cousins who were thousands of miles away and they, not knowing what their fate was to be, suffered anguish.  ANZAC Day should not be exclusively recalling the feats of those in charge like Generals Monash, Chauval, Birdwood, Blamey, etc, albeit worthy they were, but the young soldier, sailor and airman who plodded the jungles, the marshes, the seas, the skies, the deserts, the arctic ice and where ever, for they were really the ones who sacrificed themselves on behalf of others. We remember the privates, the stokers, the able seamen, the air crew, the non-commissioned officers, the lieutenants and captains who led troops while at an incredibly young age and the rate of fatalities of the latter two, per ratio, was very high. We also remember those who served in the merchant navy. Our nurses should be remembered because of their unflinching call to duty, their sense of obligation and too, their sacrifice. These are the people is what ANZAC Day is all about.  The generals have their medals, their awards, their exclusive clubs, with books written about them revealing their exploits on how great they were. But it was young Johnny that really fought and made the sacrifice and if he came home at all, often he did without an arm or a leg(s) or perhaps a mangled burnt face as did our fighting airmen and certainly all with jangled nerves.

Mind you, one of my greatest heroes was a general – Sir General John Gellibrand, the highest ranking Tasmanian officer in WWI.  A sign of a good general is one who looks after the welfare of his troops and Gellibrand was one of them.  His concern was so great that during WWI he clashed constantly with superiors and in one incident, General Monash actually apologised to him, admitting he was right.  Gellibrand’s concern for the men continued after the war, commencing what was then called the Remembrance Club, later to become Legacy. 

Gellibrand would not be easy to get on with.  In civilian life he again clashed constantly with those with whom he worked, but always, always, his concern was with the returning servicemen. On ANZAC DAY he marched with the men in civilian clothes much to chagrin of Monash and Chauval. In my eyes, Gellibrand was a great man who would not suffer fools easily.  Oh, how we need such in these grim days – fearless and righteous leaders!

They are the ones who should not be forgotten.  Many of them nameless.  Many in unmarked graves in Western Europe and elsewhere, buried at sea or shot down over enemy territory. How much did their mothers and fathers, grandparents, their brothers and sisters and all those who loved them, grieve? How many ladies in black were to be seen in the streets of our cities after World War One? Three thousand young Tasmanians died in that war, not to mention the 6,000 who returned wounded.

They went away to fight for their country, their family and freedom, from the Boer War to Afghanistan and in between. We have seen, however, how fragile freedom is.  It can be taken away without a flicker by the whims of those in charge, backed up by State authorities. Yes, they went away to fight for the continuation of freedoms which we enjoyed in Australia to the extent of fighting off an invading, brutal enemy – but freedom can be easily taken away.  It is important, nay, imperative that we remember those who went before us to battle on our behalf and that we cherish what they believed in; freedom of expression, freedom of movement, freedom of assembly and freedom to make our own choices. We must never, never give it up easily as it seems to have happened in this modern era.

ANZAC Day.  To remember those who left our shores and as distance in time increases there is the possibly that it will grow dim in our memory.  To do so would be selfish to the most extreme.  Today and next year and the years after, let us pass the lantern to those who follow.

How our freedoms can be maintained

It was Winston Churchhill who said, “Never waste a good crisis” and certainly governments of all persuasions and levels in the democratic world have taken advantage of the existing situation. The current corona-virus has seen all sorts of previously freedoms erased from the public arena adding that “this new norm”.  George Orwell said, “Once freedom is taken away they will not be given back”.

Quite apart from the current restrictions (and at places draconian) on freedom of expression, freedom of movement, freedom of action and even freedom of thought (Nigel Forage, social commentator from the UK was told by the police he will have to “rethink”) many, many people have been arrested for even questioning such abuses of power. We are not talking about Communist China, Soviet Russia or Nazi Germany, but western democracies.

There have even been attempts of late to control the media.  Without a free media and an independent judiciary, freedom cannot be guaranteed. Spirited debate between the ABC and sections of Sky News is as it should be, providing an array of opinion. 

There are, however, other proven ways to give the people power which may not be in the interest of governments, who now seem to think they know what is best for us all.

In California at the moment, the Governor, Gavin Newsom, may be sacked by the people.  That is because they have, what is termed, the Power of Recall, as do other US States. Recall is a procedure where an elected official can be removed from office before the election by the consent of the majority of the electorate.

Do we need something similar in Australia?  Indeed there are two other methods that can be used that gives great decision making to the electorate, much to the chagrin of government.  These methods help to ensure the gross abuse of power by those who rule us contained.  These are Citizens Imitated Referenda (CIR) and Voters’ Veto VV).

CIR is termed direct democracy, giving power to the people.  It works extra well and has done since 1891, in Switzerland. There, citizens can launch a popular initiative to demand a change to the constitution. Any eligible voter can participate. In Switzerland (population in excess of 8 million) when 100,000 valid signatures are in favour of a proposal within a period of 18 months, can initiate a referendum.  This allows all eligible citizens to participate in decision-making. The beauty of the system is that the central government cannot refuse the Will of the People; they are obliged to accept the people’s decision.  People also have the right to reject certain international treaties.  As stated, it works well and despite critics, there is no election chaos.  It is well ordered and a referendum can be held at the same time of the local or federal elections.

The other is Voters’ Veto. This gives, again, power to the people. After collecting enough signatures, poorly worded legislation or legislation that is not in the interest of the people can be vetoed.  The government then would have the opportunity to put its case forward, but if again if rejected, the government is obligated to honour the People’s Will.

In 1991, Neil Robson, who was in the Tasmanian Parliament from 1976-1992, came close to having Voters’ Veto passed by the Tasmanian Government.  He was not successful.  I worked with Neil on this project as I saw that if passed, it would give power to the people and stop in some measure the intrigues of party politics. 

Each state in the Australian Commonwealth needs CIR and VV although there is a case if we had CIR we would not need VV. 

We have to recognise that governments do not necessarily work in the interest of the people; often they work in their own interests.  Freedom does not come from governments, nor will (and there are exceptions) politicians go battling for the freedom of citizens. They will do what their Party will tell them to do.  Freedom is a powerful urge. People have fought for freedom since we have walked the earth.  We have seen countless tyrants over the thousands of year come and go, but go they did. Freedom is not given; it has to be won and once won it has to be safeguarded.  Our inherited freedoms such as the Magna Carter, the 1688 Bill of Rights, which sets out basic civil rights, Common Law, our own Australian Constitution and the International Charter of Human Rights  – and I dare say many more – have been ignored and abused with many of the people accepting without question that those in charge have our best interest at heart.  I can only add what ex-President of the United States Ronald Reagan warned.  “The most terrifying words in the English language are, Í am here from the government and I’m here to help you”. The growth of government over our lives is frightening.  We, the People, must have ways to control this intrusion.