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Thursday, 9 June 1994
Page: 1628

Senator O'CHEE (3.18 p.m.) —We have just heard from Senator the Honourable Chris Schacht, a man who says that we should make Australia a more independent country by becoming a republic. `Why should we become a republic?', he asks. `Because our neighbours told us to'. If we believe the republican line, the reason the government wants to make us a republic is that our neighbours want us to, and the government seems to think we are going to do more business with them.

  I suppose the government will say that we are going to do more business with Japan, which is also a constitutional monarchy. Maybe we are going to do more business with Malaysia, which is also a constitutional monarchy. Maybe we are going to do more business with New Zealand, which is also a constitutional monarchy. Maybe we are going to do more business with Papua New Guinea, which is also a constitutional monarchy. The arguments we have heard from the other side are totally and utterly flawed.

  I want to take the opportunity to expose to the people of Australia and to honourable senators exactly what is behind Senator Schacht's proposal. It is Senator Schacht, the arch republican, who is the arch internationalist who persuaded this government to sign up to a whole host of treaties that have ceded our sovereignty to a whole heap of unelected bureaucrats from the United Nations. People from Cameroon and the People's Republic of China and Cuba are going to advise us on human rights and racial discrimination. That is the biggest joke I have ever heard, and Senator Schacht is convicted out of his own mouth.

Senator Schacht —You are now being racist.

Senator O'CHEE —No, I am not racist because I happen to be ethnic Chinese, but I would much rather live under Australia's civil rights regime than under the civil rights regime of the People's Republic of China. Senator Schacht knows that, and he would probably agree with it too, if he had any sense.

  Let us get on to something else. Why do we not talk about Senator Schacht's proposals to overhaul the legal system of this country? I spent three years on the Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs with Senator Schacht when he was advocating that we should not follow the current legal system and that, in fact, we should do away with juries and judges in the form we have them, do away with the adversarial system and, instead, have the French system with a judge who was also a prosecutor. He wanted the inquisitorial system rather than the adversarial system.

  This is the same Senator Schacht who says, `Let us make Australian law Australian.' What does he want to do? He wants to throw away our current legal system, which we have helped develop, and adopt the French or Italian legal system which has been seen and exposed as an utter joke in all the countries in which it is used. It is not surprising that Senator Schacht wants to take up the French legal system. After all, Senator Schacht supports the Prime Minister (Mr Keating) who has gone to Paris to get advice on how to turn Australia into a republic. I suppose the French have a lot of experience turning their country into a republic; they have done it five times to date. They are on their fifth republic, not their first. Most of them have been lamentable failures.

Senator Tambling —They are pretty violent, too.

Senator O'CHEE —And violent changes as well. Should we take the French view? Certainly that is what Senator Schacht and the Prime Minister would do. This is the one thing Senator Schacht says the government has been honest about. Maybe the government did tell the people it intended to turn Australia into a republic. What it did not tell the people was that that republic was going to have the stamp `Made in France'. That was the label the government was going to put on it. That is the Australian republic that Senator Schacht wants to have. We on this side do not want it. We are good Australians. We are not going to betray this country and we are going to stick up for it against people like him.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT —Order! The debate has been very entertaining but very disorderly with the interjections from both sides thus far.