There is a lot of talk at the moment about the thought of banning Islam in Australia. Queensland Senator, and Leader of One Nation, Pauline Hanson has introduced this as part of her policy. Senator Hanson has recognised that before banning Islam, constitutional constraints hold this policy back.
Section 116 of the Australian Constitution states:
116 Commonwealth not to legislate in respect of religion
The Commonwealth shall not make any law for establishing any religion, or for imposing any religious observance, or for prohibiting the free exercise of any religion, and no religious test shall be required as a qualification for any office or public trust under the Commonweath
One Nation has called for a Royal Commission into Islam to see whether or not it is a religion or a political ideology. By determining whether it is a political ideology or a religion, Senator Hanson believes this will solve the constitutional constraint to ban Islam.
The concern I have with such Royal Commission is that any religion that has a vast history such as Islam will always be determined as a religion not a political ideology. All religions have a certain degree of political ideology and that is due to it’s past existance. For example you only have to look at the Roman Empire to see that it had a catholic ideology behind it’s governance. Therefore having a Royal Commision into Islam would be a waste of time, effort and taxpayers money.
One Nation could adopt a policy whereby that they will push to have a referendum to ammend section 116 of the Australian Constitution. This referendum would also cost taxpayers a lot of money and with a Double Majority rule for constitutional change, could mean that such move could be lost. Not many referendums are successful. On the otherhand One Nation will be giving the people a say on the matter.
The other areas where One Nation could focus their attention is to adopt a discriminatory immigration policy. One Nation has already upset the apple cart by saying that they want to ban Islam – as I pointed out this is hard to do – so by having a discriminatory immigration policy whereby there is a halt of immigration on those from Islamic Arab Nations, will slow down the rise of Islam in Australia and will not hinder One Nation’s political capital.
Many on the left, centre and even the right will say that we can’t have a discriminatory immigration program as it will take us back to the White Australia Policy – the fact is Australia already has a discriminatory immigration policy, we discriminate on the basis of health and occupation therefore this argument is flawed. Pauline Hanson’s One Nation as I see it right now is the only hope for Australia to follow in Trumps lead, they just need to clean up their policies first.