AUSTRALIA OWNS ITS HISTORY
Letters sent from the Governor General, Sir John Kerr to the Queen in October and November 1975 must remain unavailable to Australian historians because of an agreement reached between Government House and Buckingham Palace in 1978.
The current Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will advise Buckingham Palace and Government House to agree to release of the material because it forms an important part of Australian History.
Even though Australian historians already have the legal right to access Sir John Kerr’s letters sent in his official role. It was considered in the Archives Act in 1983 that the information would be released after 30 years, previously the first Archives Bill was introduced in 1978 and stipulated 60 years.
In the Second Reading Speech it was stated that: “The provisions of the legislation will apply to the records of the official establishment of the Governor General, but not to his private or personal
Sir John Kerr’s own writings make clear that his letters to the Queen were official, and not personal. They were records of the official establishment of the Governor General within the meaning of the Archives Act and Australian law has been clear since 1983 that they
were to be made publicly available pursuant to the open access provisions of the
Archives Act 30 years after their creation.
Prime Minister Turnbull is determined that all proprieties will be observed in any approach to Buckingham Palace. Those proprieties require that Mr Turnbull not seek the agreement of the Palace to release of documents, the release of which is required now by Australian law.
It would be polite for Mr Turnbull to let the Queen know that as a result of the efforts
of Senators Missen and Tate and their colleagues in the Australian Parliament
in 1983. Australian historians now have a right to access Sir John Kerr’s letters. Those
Parliamentarians understood and secured the principle that Sir John Kerr’s letters are an important part of Australia’s history and should therefore be available to historians.
We Australians do not need to ask the British Monarch for her consent to our accessing that history: our Parliament secured that for us in 1983.
 As reported by Paul Kelly and Troy Bramston In an article in The Australian on 10 November 2015.
 Tom Brennan Barrister, http://www.lexology.com/library/document.ashx?g=d389ec7c-8254-46f3-81d7-074aca790485 accessed 13/11/2015 at [9.15pm]
You must log in to post a comment.