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"The New Testament of constitutional monarchy... quite different from any other book you are likely to read about political systems—largely because of its scope. It is a kind of international book which analyses systems all around the world."

Dame Leonie Kramer, then Chancellor, University of Sydney.

 

"Probably the most important book to be published on the topic to date... Read the book? I've dog-eared every page of it!"

Clive James.


For the Sovereignty of the People:

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A Conversation with Niccolò's Ghost and a Defence of the Crown in the Westminster System.

Nigel Greenwood

Australian Academic Press 1999


 

The civil liberties case against an Australian republic.
This book on politics, history and legal philosophy has an Introduction by the late Sir Walter
Campbell AC QC, former Governor and Chief Justice of Queensland, and has been reviewed in the Australian Law Journal by a former Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia.

The author and his book have appeared in the international media, including interviews and discussion by the BBC World Service and Sky News. He was one of two experts on the BBC World Service for a global debate (31st October 1999) on the future of constitutional monarchy in parliamentary democracy. More recently he has also addressed the Cambridge Union, the team successfully defeating the historic motion That This House Would Become a Republic.

The author argues that the republican ideal of government "...of the people, by the people, for the people" has permanently parted company from the republican form of government. A monarchist, not a royalist, he argues that the important aspects of the monarchy are not the sentimental or tabloid details, but the constitutional role that has evolved within parliamentary democracy over centuries, in Britain and the rest of the Commonwealth.

He advocates the importance of the Crown in the Westminster parliamentary system of democracy, to limit executive power and help preserve peaceful, culturally diverse societies in Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada and New Zealand. He contrasts the legal safeguards inherent in the Westminster system with the failures of governance in the United States and France, exemplified by Tea Pot Dome, Watergate and Iran-Contra in the US and the lawless excesses of the de Gaulle regime in France.

The importance of such safeguards has been historically acknowledged by figures such as Sir Winston Churchill, as well as figures on the Left, such as Australia's H.V. "Doc" Evatt and Canada's Senator Eugene Forsey. 

The author also argues that many Britons are unaware of these safeguards, due to the erroneous beliefs of Bagehot (largely ignored elsewhere in the Commonwealth), tabloid class obsessions and the 20th Century decay in awareness of legal and political doctrines. In Australia the ignorance is more fundamental, due to erroneous readings of history by some leading Australian law professors.

These neglected safeguards are crucial for civil liberties and preservation of popular sovereignty in the 21st Century, with the ever-increasing concentration of executive power in "presidential" prime ministers in Australia and the UK, the privatisation of key instruments of society—such as prisons and telecommunications—and the advent of draconian executive powers in the name of counter-terrorism. 


 

 




 
During the 1999 Referendum year in Australia, Dr Greenwood was invited to address many political debates and fora on the republican question. As well as school and apolitical community groups, this included events organised by groups affiliated with political parties, including the Greens, the Australian Labor Party, the Liberal Party of Australia and rural farmers' fora. The author's presence at any debate or forum should not be construed as representing any affiliation with, endorsement of, or agreement with the political views espoused by any organiser or other participant of those events. His own political position is limited to advocating the importance of the Crown in the Westminster parliamentary system of democracy, to limit executive power and help preserve peaceful, culturally diverse societies in the Commonwealth.