I’m in agreement with Peter Beattie and Mike Rann, in their calls for a constitutional convention in the aftermath of yesterday’s high court decision validating the governments Workchoices legislation in constitutional terms. Justice Michael Kirby, one of two dissenting judges, said it well.
“once a constitutional Rubicon such as this is crossed, there is rarely a going back”.
This decision places enormous pressure on the constitutional federalism this country enjoyed before yesterday morning. John Howard’s claim, and I notice today, Peter Costello’s claim, that this government doesn’t want to take this decision any further in constitutional terms, doesn’t mean that it won’t. This decision opens doors, or more pertinently, opens a Pandora’s Box. Kim Beazley may well tear up the Workchoices legislation, however, the precedent has now been set. Governments post-Howardian now know they can exploit the constitutional gift of the Corporation’s Powers. Australia’s constitution, such as it is in these days, is sorely in need of amendment, in my view.