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Keating should be first pupil

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Member for Bennelong Shadow Minister for Industrial Relations & Manager of Opposition Business in the HouseIR 025/94KEATING SHOULD BE FIRST PUPILOnce again, the Prime Minister ignorance of Australian history. has revealed his basicHis claim that the Australian Constitution was designed by the British Foreign Office to look over the Australian Government's shoulder is completely wrong.The Australian Constitution was drafted by Australians after a series of constitutional conventions held in the 1890s. Moreover, the people of the then Australian colonies voted in a referendum to approve the constitution which had been drafted at the end of the convention process.It is truly staggering that Australia's Prime Minister could have got such a fundamental element of Australia's history so totally wrong.If Mr Keating knew anything of our nation's political evolution he would know that so far from holding back the then Australian colonies the British Government throughout the latter part of the nineteenth century was anxious that the colonies be given as much self-government as possible.If yesterday's offering from the Prime Minister is any guide to his overall comprehension of Australia's constitutional history and structure, then the Australian people have every reason to suspect the political balance of any so-called education programme for Australian schools.Mr Keating's woeful ignorance about Australia's history must raise serious doubts about the very basis of his push for a republic.If he can still believe that our present Constitution was forced down our throats by the British, then he might actually believe Australia is not an independent country!When the constitutional classes begin the Prime Minister should be at the front of the room, the place traditionally reserved for slow learners.SYDNEY 16 June 1994COMMONWEALTH PARLIAMENTARY LIBRARY MICAH