Letters to the editor
Rewrite the Constitution
What a brilliant 6-1 decision by the High Court on the federal funding of the chaplain program. The dysfunctionality of the federal constitution and the federal system couldn't have been made more obvious.
The major parties now have to, again, find ways to circumvent the Constitution to make sensible government possible. Rudd passed up the opportunity in 2007 to replace the federal system with something far more effective with ALP governments in six states and in Canberra.
Instead he opted for another reincarnation of “cooperative federalism”. Professor Gordon Greenwood writing in 1946, quoted Alfred Deakin’s prediction of 1902: The Commonwealth will increase in stature, in financial dominance and in the determination of national priorities.
Greenwood concluded: “All this has come to pass.” We need a new political party that has the courage and competence to re-organise Australia and base a new Constitution of what the sovereign people want. The cost of federation is demonstrably massive. The end of circumventions and implied interpretations surely is nigh. Yes, we need more decentralisation but not of the federal kind.
Pearl Beach, NSW
The Sydney Rinehart Herald
The effective takeover of the Sydney Morning Herald by Gina Rinehart demanding three seats on the board of directors and the right to hire-and-fire newspaper editors converts the former broadsheet “Sydney Morning Herald” into the tabloid “The Sydney Rinehart Herald”, effectively creating a mining newsletter.
Rinehart is not the first capitalist recognising that money can buy media and political influence after her successful campaign against Labor’s “mining super profit tax” and subsequent rise to become the world’s richest women. Rinehart truly represents her class interest.
Rinehart’s takeover of the SMH is a good thing because it makes class relations obvious to everyone. For decades I failed to understand what my old friend from Trier meant by “the dictatorship of the proletariat”, at least now I know what Marx meant by the “dictatorship of the capital”.
It dictates what is “news” and what isn’t, with three board members and the right to fire editors. In Australia, the Rinehart takeover marks the successful completion of what German philosopher Jurgen Habermas calls “structural transformation of the public sphere”.
What once was an open public sphere is now transformed into a corporate sphere outright owned by corporate capitalism. With the exception of Green Left Weekly, Australia’s media landscape now represents what Chomsky has termed “profit over people”. This is “neoliberalism’s global order” (Chomsky, 1999) in which an entire continent has only one weekly newspaper left to read.