The Gladiator bloke did much to perpetuate the cross-Tasman rivalry this week by suggesting that Australia and New Zealand should unite as a single country under the leadership of Jacinda Ahern, the Kiwi version of Justin Trudeau, except without testosterone (but I repeat myself);
At first blush, this looks like another case of an uniformed lefty Luvvie (again, I repeat myself) projecting their utopian world view on a reality that is incompatible.
But wait, there might be something in this combined Australasian Über Country…..
A casual reading of the Australian Constitution reveals the following clauses;
The Commonwealth shall mean the Commonwealth of Australia as established under this Act.
The States shall mean such of the colonies of New South Wales, New Zealand, Queensland, Tasmania, Victoria, Western Australia, and South Australia, including the northern territory of South Australia, as for the time being are parts of the Commonwealth, and such colonies or territories as may be admitted into or established by the Commonwealth as States; and each of such parts of the Commonwealth shall be called a State.
Curious. So, according to the Australian Constitution, New Zealand is already defined as a State of Australia.
Really? How do the Kiwis feel about this?
More importantly, what does it mean and what relevant precedents are there?
Well…. Western Australia was not an original member of the Commonwealth, joining 3 weeks after Federation following a state-wide referendum. Interestingly, the time lag between the west and east of Australia has since grown, with Perth now preparing fireworks to celebrate seeing in the Millennium next December 31st.
Interestingly, from my research, it would seem the process for WA to join the rest of Australia was a referendum; by voting “Yes”, the State was granted automatic membership in the newly-federated country. If any students of history can confirm this, I’d be grateful, but it would seem the national parliament didn’t have a subsequent vote to confirm/reject the application.
This has a significant implications for the citizens of New Zealand….
If New Zealand were to hold a referendum and the majority of Kiwis vote to join Australia, there isn’t a damn thing the Aussies can do to prevent them from joining the federation.
Why would they do this?
Let’s answer that question with another question; hey Kiwis, how would you like a heated pool in your backyards, a speedboat and a new German SUV….. and get the Aussies to pay for them?
Clauses 105 and 105a allow for the Commonwealth to take over States’ debts. So, rack up the credit cards, hold a vote and then ask the neighbours to pay the bill.
Lastly, Clause 25 is, erm, interesting….