The Historical Roots of the Australian Constitution

Regarding tribal title, after sixty years' continual possession of land or goods by a non-owner, the unchallenging owner of that land or those goods forfeits his ownership rights. The continual possessor becomes the new owner. Too, the 1607f case of Robert Calvin determined: "If a Christian king should conquer a kingdom of an infidel…, ipso facto the laws of the infidel are abrogated. For they be not only against Christianity; but against the Law of God and of nature contained in the Decalogue."11


11 See Sir Edward Coke's English Reports (77 King's Bench VI); and Sir William Blackstone's 1765 Commentaries on the Laws of England (University of Chicago Press, 1979 ed., I, Introd., Section 4; and II chapter 13).


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Throughout the ongoing growth process of Australian Common Law, continuing tribal customs should be subject to it — but never vice-versa. But Australian Common Law itself is to remain subject to the Law of God and to the Christian Religion. For the Decalogue and Christianity are part and parcel — of Australian Common Law.

"Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter . Fear God, and keep His Commandments; for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing — whether it be good, or whether it be evil." Ecclesiastes 12:13f.

The Christian Roots of the Australian Constitution

Now at its outset, the Australian Constitution states it was fashioned "humbly relying on the blessing of Almighty God" — on "9th July 1900" A.D. It thus goes back to the time of Christ's incarnation, and even earlier.

Professor F.L.W. Wood, author of The Constitutional Development of Australia, notes12 how Pre-Christian Greeks presumed there was a great Southern Continent. He even suggests that some of Adam's descendants might well have travelled there.

The Bible agrees. God created Adam and all his descendants, telling them to rule over the Earth by way of His Ten Commandments written in every heart. Gen. 1:26f; 2:15f; Eccl. 7:29; Ex. 20:1-17; Rom. 1:19f & 2:14f. Lord Chief Justice Sir Edward Coke13 held in 1613 that "God is the Fountain and Founder of all good laws and constitutions…. The law itself is a light. Proverbs 6:23. See Romans 2:14…. The 'light of nature'…Solomon called 'the candle' of Almighty God. Proverbs 20:27."

Sir Owen Dixon seemed to agree. He was Chief Justice of Australia from 1952 till 1964. Then recognized as perhaps the finest living Jurist in the English-speaking World,14 he referred to the Common Law (and its Rule of Law) as the "ultimate constitutional foundation."15

Constitutional Law among the Ancient Iro-Scots

Now after man's fall into sin, the Lord said to Noah and his sons and hence to all mankind: "Surely your blood of your lives will I requite…. Whosoever sheds man's blood — by man shall his blood be shed. For God made man in His image." Genesis 9:5-6. Here one finds the first germ of all governmental sanctions.

Now God favoured Noah's son Japheth, and his descendants. Such included Gomer                                               

12 F.L.W. Wood: Concise History of Australia, Dymock's Book Arcade, Sydney, 1936, pp. 1-5. 13 In his Preface to the Reader of the Third Part of his Reports, Butterworth, London, 1826, II, pp. iv & xiv-xix; and Proeme to 3rd Part, p. ii: "Deo" & "Patriae." 14 Art. Dixon, Sir Owen, in CEANZ, I p. 340. Cf. too Dixon's Jesting Pilate pp. 203f (cited in R.D. Lumb's Australian Constitutionalism, Butterworths, Brisbane, 1983, pp. 3 & 101 & 108n.). 15 Cited in H.M. Morgan's Australia and its High Court, Bond University, Queensland, 27th July 1993, pp. 5f & 8.

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