Tag Archives: Direct Democracy

Barnaby Is Wrong

9 May


From the Australian:

SENATOR Barnaby Joyce says he will vote in a referendum to recognise local governments in the constitution and allow federal funds to flow directly to them.

But he has slammed the federal government’s timing of the announcement and its failure to say what the exact wording of the referendum will be.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard launched the “yes” campaign for the referendum on Thursday

At the federal election on September 14 voters will be asked to decide whether local councils and shires should be recognised in the Constitution.

Mr Joyce told reporters in Sydney on Thursday he would vote “yes” but questioned why the government had announced the referendum now.

“They’ve announced a dopey wedge that’s actually going to compromise our capacity to get up financial recognition of local government,” he said.

“They’re trying to create a distraction and this is why people don’t like politicians and get so cynical.”

No, people don’t like politicians because we have learned … and they daily continue to prove … that everything they say and do is just a smokescreen.

A smokescreen of words, camouflaging an unrelenting self-interest.

“Financial recognition of local government”, they say?

Bollocks, I say.

This referendum is about nothing more, and nothing less, than enabling the bureaucrats and politicians in Canberra to bypass the State governments.

In other words, to further increase the centralising power of the Federal government –

Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore described the referendum as “necessary” but about a “non-contentious” change.

“This referendum is essential to ensure that the Commonwealth parliament has the power to provide direct financial assistance to local government,” Ms Moore said in a statement.

I say “No” to this referendum proposal.

Indeed, I would generally say “No” on principle to any referendum proposal suggested by politicians and/or bureaucrats.

The only referendum that is likely to be worth even thinking about voting “Yes” to, would be one suggested by the general public.

Which is why I am a supporter of Swiss-style Direct Democracy.

Where the people are recognised in the Constitution, and have the power to force a referendum on the topics that they think are important.

Such as revoking the laws passed by politicians.


From Quadrant (h/t Twitter follower @HiggsBoson4) –

While, at first reading, this proposal might have a benign appearance, a little thought reveals that the proposal restricts the state governments.

The idea of “democratic recognition” being included in the Constitution has the effect of limiting the power of the state government to fulfil its governmental responsibilities in such way as the state parliament chooses.

The “independent” panel’s discussion paper presents two possible proposals as follows:

Each state shall, and each Territory may, establish and maintain a system of local government bodies directly chosen by the people.

Each state shall, and each Territory may, provide for the establishment and continuance of a system of local government elected in accordance with the laws of the state or Territory.

Each of these proposals is an attack on state sovereignty. If either is appropriate at all, the place for it is the state constitutions, not the Commonwealth Constitution. Inclusion of either in the Commonwealth Constitution would limit the states’ power on how their governmental responsibilities should be administered….

Recognition of local government in the Australian Constitution has been rejected three times. The first was when the Constitution was drawn up, the second was at referendum under a Labor government in 1974 and the third was at a referendum under a Labor government in 1988. There is now an opportunity to appreciate the reasons for the three previous rejections, the reasons for now rejecting the proposal a fourth time and voting “No”.

As I was saying …

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