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The Australian v. The Canberra Times

By johnboy - 10 March 2011 15

The snark is on!

The Australian is now returning serve to the Canberra Times as the gay marriage cum self-determination debate hots up.

(We note other media thought the Legislative Assembly wasting Tuesday morning on a toothless motion was significant)

The Australian would like to keep us as we are:

As editor-at-large Paul Kelly wrote yesterday: “The ACT is not a state. It is the creation of the national government and parliament and its reason for existence is to provide the seat of national administration . . . The ACT has no claim to statehood. It never will be a state. Its constitutionally inferior status is enshrined for good reason.” Kelly pointed out that while ACT citizens were entitled to the same political rights as any other citizens, the territories were restricted in their legislative powers. In short, the ACT must answer to the government and parliament that set it up.

But they really go for the Crimes hard with the closer:

Last week, the ACT’s local paper, The Canberra Times, editorialised against this newspaper’s stand. It claimed we saw Canberrans as “imbeciles; too prone to dangerous ideas to be allowed to govern (their) own affairs.” We accord the Times the right to hold its own, albeit fanciful, views, but we’re not accepting its flippant disregard for accuracy. Far from suggesting its citizens be “muzzled”, we belled the cat — stating that the veto debate was a stalking horse for gay marriage and arguing Canberra should not cede power to the territories. Unlike Senator Brown, we believe this is the only constitutionally consistent position it is possible to take.

The dance of the dinosaurs.

What’s Your opinion?


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15 Responses to
The Australian v. The Canberra Times
EvanJames 3:56 pm 10 Mar 11

If waterford is smart, he’ll get all the stuff expressed here and mash them into his next editorial rant. Better arguments than his original one.

trevar 3:26 pm 10 Mar 11

Holden Caulfield said :

Erm, aren’t all states/territories a creation of the national government. I know it’s kind of an arse-about interpretation of Federation, but I would have thought our Constitution now overrules the pre-existence of the states before 1901 and therefore, by definition, all states/territories are beholden to the Commonwealth of Australia.

The states are by no means beholden to the Commonwealth for anything. In the process of federation they merely gave certain authorities to the Commonwealth. Some of these authorities were ones they already held, others came from the British Parliament. But the legacy that remains is that the states remain as free and independent (and as arrogant and selfish) as they ever were. They don’t act in the interest of the nation, and often act in opposition to the interests of the nation.

It was a concession to democracy. We wanted to have a nation, but we can’t agree on what that nation should look like, so we’ll compromise on some things and differ on others. It was nothing more than a ploy to get the federation referenda passed, but in my opinion the states no longer have any relevance for the nation, and rather than arguing about the powers of three territories, I think it would be better to start agitating for an end to statehood for the other six.

boobook 2:04 pm 10 Mar 11

Holden Caulfield said :

Erm, aren’t all states/territories a creation of the national government. I know it’s kind of an arse-about interpretation of Federation, but I would have thought our Constitution now overrules the pre-existence of the states before 1901 and therefore, by definition, all states/territories are beholden to the Commonwealth of Australia.

freely admit I’m no constitutional lawyer, but no, the ‘States’ aren’t creations of fedgov. i think the constitution recognises and preserves their specialness as former colonies. even if new states are created, they will not have quite the same specialness as the original 6. the 2 mainland territories however are creations of statute (and therefore theoretically subject to extinction by statute, however unlikely that may be in reality).

Holden Caulfield 12:59 pm 10 Mar 11

Erm, aren’t all states/territories a creation of the national government. I know it’s kind of an arse-about interpretation of Federation, but I would have thought our Constitution now overrules the pre-existence of the states before 1901 and therefore, by definition, all states/territories are beholden to the Commonwealth of Australia.

Moreover, how can ACT citizens enjoy “the same political rights as any other citizens” if our local government is unable to pass legislation that those very same ACT citizens voted for? It just doesn’t make any sense.

Whatever the theoretical explanation, the practical explanation is that the vibe is all wrong. It sucks, big time.

facet 12:34 pm 10 Mar 11

el_presidente said :

I read with interest recently that its circulation figures are dropping at an alarming rate. I for one will welcome the day that it disappears behind a pay wall and due to the obvious failures of that business model we will no longer have to care what they think.

+ 1 Won’t be long before RA overtakes both CT & OZ

el_presidente 12:15 pm 10 Mar 11

My goodness the Oz spends a lot of time justifying its own actions and defending itself from perceived critics. They are clearly insecure because they realise that their obvious editorially-pushed bias is shedding readers and harming its reputation as a serious paper of record.

I read with interest recently that its circulation figures are dropping at an alarming rate. I for one will welcome the day that it disappears behind a pay wall and due to the obvious failures of that business model we will no longer have to care what they think.

georgesgenitals 12:11 pm 10 Mar 11

howeph said :

So same sex marriage and and euthanasia are a threat to our national institutions?

They’re the same thing, aren’t they?

trevar 12:03 pm 10 Mar 11

“Kelly pointed out that while ACT citizens were entitled to the same political rights as any other citizens, the territories were restricted in their legislative powers.”

The Australian isn’t all wrong, but this particular sentence contradicts itself. The ‘territory’ is the sum of its people in the same way that ‘Australia’ is the sum of its people. Thus ACT citizens can EITHER have the same political rights as other citizens, OR they can be restricted in their legislative powers, both circumstances can’t coexist. The latter circumstance does exist, the former does not.

Nonetheless, the CT has blown the thing out of proportion.

Erg0 11:51 am 10 Mar 11

Also, love that they use “Canberra” interchangeably with “federal government” in a piece about territory rights. Shows what they think about the significance of the ACT beyond its role as a host for Parliament.

howeph 11:50 am 10 Mar 11

Paul Kelly states: ” Its constitutionally inferior status is enshrined for good reason.”

I read his article, and the only thing in it, that I could find, to back up this claim was: “It is entirely appropriate and prudent the national government retain this executive power, given the ACT is the home of the national institutions.”

So same sex marriage and and euthanasia are a threat to our national institutions? How?

Erg0 11:48 am 10 Mar 11

I’m confused – is the gay marriage debate a cat or a horse?

Skidbladnir 11:41 am 10 Mar 11

ACT is not a state. It is the creation of the national government and parliament and its reason for existence is to provide the seat of national administration . . . The ACT has no claim to statehood. It never will be a state. Its constitutionally inferior status is enshrined for good reason.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is how you beg the question in rhetoric.
(ie: presume a proof without providing evidence of that proof, or having a conclusion and a premise that are identical, but rephrasing your conlusion so that it seems to be something different…)

Kelly pointed out that while ACT citizens were entitled to the same political rights as any other citizens

Except in the fact that we’re woefully underrepresented by numbers of Senators in terms of population (Both of the ACT Senator represents 179,000 people, as opposed to the 42,000 people each of the twelve Tasmanian Senator represents) while paying the same amount of income tax, and having no actual input to referenda except as voter numbers.
I’m almost jealous of that most amazing political right of Norfolk Islanders, in not paying any income tax at all.

As the man says: the territories were restricted in their legislative powers.
If any other place in the country wanted to pass Fedeally uncomfortable euthanasia or queer union laws (or massively stripmine uranium or give land title to indigenous groups), the Commonwealth Govt ,being subject to the horizon of “whatever will be popular in my electorate next election” and subject to the meddling of voters nationally, has far less authority to stop them.

I still don’t see why Danny Nalliah should have any say in Andrew Barr’s marriage\union.

p1 11:15 am 10 Mar 11

Why exactly do we have self government in the ACT? If we had a local council to deal with garbage collection, street sweeping and mowing the side of roads, and could leave the high brow issues of hospitals, schools and who can marry who to the big kids on the hill, I for one would be pretty damn happy. But we can’t. As Grail said, “Sorry Australian, you can’t have it both ways.”

Grail 10:31 am 10 Mar 11

Sorry Australian, you can’t have it both ways. Either Canberra is funded by and administered by Canberrans, or it is administered and funded by the Commonwealth. Those are the only ethical and consistent options.

chewy14 10:29 am 10 Mar 11

Even though it’s usually hard to agree with The Australian, on this issue they are 100% correct.
And the CT editorial last week has set a new low for them. It made them look like a child chucking a tantrum because they didn’t get their own way.

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