Tuesday, 9 June 2020


Gajalakshmi Paramasivam

08 June  2020


Australian Racism  & Lankan Media

On 04 June 2020, I responded to ABC’s article ‘Does the races power still have a place in the Australian constitution?’. My response was headed ‘Race Law is Not a Door Mat’. This article was circulated to my regular groups – including the media group. In that was included 'Editor Lanka News Web'. This website has from time to time published my work. But this time they did not publish my response. On 07 June 2020 – they published the ABC article only.

Included in it is the following:
[Indigenous barrister Tony McAvoy, SC, says since then, successive federal governments have largely used the races power to help fund national organisations specially formed to support Aboriginal people.
This includes the Aboriginal Medical Service, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services, Aboriginal housing companies and the now-defunct Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission.
“So [the races power] has made a significant change to the way Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have been able to access services, to participate in society,” Mr McAvoy says.
The federal government also used the races power to make laws to implement the Northern Territory intervention in 2007, which has been widely criticised by Indigenous groups.
“That legislation I think remains a low point in terms of the relationship between the Commonwealth and Aboriginal people nationally but particularly in the Northern Territory,” Mr McAvoy says.
He says the races power is “entirely anachronistic” and should be changed. “The notion of distinction between peoples upon the basis of race is something that has generally been left behind internationally.”]

I highlighted Article 51(xxvi) of the constitution as follows in my response:

[The Parliament shall, subject to this Constitution, have power to make laws for the peace, order, and good government of the Commonwealth with respect to the people of any race for whom it is deemed necessary to make special laws]
In Sri Lanka, we already recognize various customary laws – presented as follows by Wikipedia:

[Kandyan law is the customary law that originates from the Kingdom of Kandy, which is applicable to Sri Lankans who are Buddhist and from the former provinces of the Kandyan Kingdom. It is one of three customary laws which are still in use in Sri Lanka. The other two customary laws are the Thesavalamai and the Muslim law. At present it governs aspects of marriage, adoption, transfer of property and inheritance, as codified in 1938 in the Kandyan Law Declaration and Amendment Ordinance]
In his Financial Times article – ‘Our heritage is Kandyan law; not Roman Dutch law as Rathana Thero thinks’, Mr Harsha Gunasena states :

[In Sri Lanka the Common law applicable to marriage and divorce is based on the Roman Dutch law. This Common law is in the Marriages (General) Ordinance No. 19 of 1907. In addition to that there is Kandyan Marriage and Divorce Act No. 44 of 1952 applicable for the people living in the Kandyan Districts.]

The article is based on the following initiative:

[There were four bills presented by private members to the Parliament on 8 January (one bill is to be presented) which were already advertised in the gazette. They were to repeal the Kandyan Marriage and Divorce Act No. 44 of 1952; to repeal the Muslim Marriage and Divorce Act No. 13 of 1951; to amend the Marriages (General) Ordinance No. 19 of 1907; to amend the Marriages Registration Ordinance; and to introduce a minimum age of marriage in Sri Lanka. The first three were/will be presented to the Parliament by Ven. Athuraliye Rathana Thero MP and the other two were presented by MP Dr. Thusitha Wijemanna.]

In democracy, a law is legitimate only when it is initiated on behalf of the People by their elected representatives. Ven. Athuraliye Rathana Thero MP is a Buddhist monk and therefore is confirmed to be lacking in marriage related experiences and therefore belief. If approved by Parliament, it cuts us off from the minds of those who made those laws and practiced those laws with faith over decades.  
Family is an institution. Every belief based relationship within the family confirms its institutional value. Each unit of sacrifice towards commonness goes towards strengthening existing institutional structure and/or developing a new one. Laws are the energies that flow between two or more positions within the institution. Recently I wrote to a member of the St Joseph’s alumni :

[A member of our family  who is professionally senior to us is reported to have stated in a family forum that I would ‘question even the judge’. I did this recently also through my article of 04 June - headed ‘Race Law is Not a Door Mat’.]

The identity with that characteristic of mine is strongly supported by our common institutional values through family structures over 4 generations. When stated in Australia, they enrich Australian family values. To the extent they are genuine and without expectation of return benefits, these are shared values between various nations where our family network has been established over the years.
Rules without belief often lead to internal separations. The dowry system is one such example due to ‘imported’ habits. When we abide by practices without belief – we need to leave them behind when we emigrate to new environments or when others in our environment emigrate and we restructure our environment to suit the new form. Those who use continue to use the name of the law to elevate their status  - become frivolous users of the system. I wrote about a Professional colleague and Friend (P&F) as follows:

[P&F may not do what I do or the way I do it – especially in a court of law. To me the logical order in which we present our experiences would vary from person to person. It’s like in composing music. Country Music and Pop Music do not have identical structures. Likewise, our experiences. Between P&F and I,  our commonness in ‘composing’ has been strengthened by our common investment in Accountancy. ]

Friendship after Professional relationship is healthy and wholesome. Friendship before institutional relationship makes it difficult to develop an institutional / family relationship.
Where we accept demotion due to race – conscious or subconscious – we become part of the frivolous group.

Current ‘Australian Black Lives Matter protests’ were not born out of Australian experience. The timing confirms that it has been copied from America. Hence one is entitled to conclude that they are lacking in belief – that we Australian People are Sovereign.

It is difficult for me to appreciate that ‘Lanka News Web' is interpreting the Australian article with belief or through ‘common institutional structure’. If it were belief – my analysis as a common citizen would have also been published. The original common mind with disciplined structures is the highest authority without whose blessings the information tends towards frivolousness.

 



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