Last Update: Thursday, February 10, 2005.
Australian lawyer loses bid to have G-G posts voided
An audacious legal bid to invalidate the appointments of all
Australia's governors-general since 1984, and thus much of the country's
legislation since then, has been thrown out by a judge in Britain.
Australian lawyer David Fitzgibbon, also a British national, had
argued before the High Court in London that the appointment of the last four
governors-general, the British monarch's representative in Australia, had
been incorrectly made.
Mr Fitzgibbon argued this was the case because the appointments had
been made under the Great Seal of Australia and not, as they should have
been, under the Great Seal of the United Kingdom.
The case was dismissed by High Court judge Justice Gavin Lightman, who
noted that not only did he have no say over the case, but even if he did
rule in favour of Mr Fitzgibbon the Australian Government, independent since
1901, could ignore him completely.
"It is for the Australian courts to apply Australian law to determine
the capacity in which Her Majesty the Queen is acting, the appropriate seal
and the consequences, if any, if the wrong seal is used," he ruled.
"It is not for the UK courts to enter the field, proffering their view
as to the proper interpretation of the Constitution," the judge added,
calling Mr Fitzgibbon's action "quite purposeless".