Local Government Federal Referendum: No (11.06.2013)
Written on the 14 June 2013
Ms CROZIER (Southern Metropolitan) -- I am yet to see very much media attention or debate on the referendum that will coincide with the federal election on 14 September, nor do I think many Australians truly understand the implications of the proposed referendum, which will have major constitutional implications for our states and territories. It is proposed that local government be considered in the commonwealth constitution. The referendum proposes to change section 96 of the constitution. It all sounds quite arbitrary.
Why? Local government is already recognised in state and territory constitutions. What this proposal will do is provide symbolic recognition of local government in the commonwealth constitution, but more concerning is the move towards centralisation of power in Canberra.
Local government will be funded directly by the commonwealth, whereby the Parliament may grant financial assistance to any state, or to any local government body formed by law of a state, on such terms and conditions as the Parliament thinks fit. And who will be accountable? Further confusion and blame shifting is likely to occur.
We have seen the Gillard government's demands on funding for health and education in this state and the standover tactics used. Thankfully we have a strong and responsible government to argue in the best interests of all Victorians. Our nation is a federation of states. I do not believe the majority of Victorians -- or Australians for that matter -- want to give more power to Canberra. The risks are just too great to subject our state and territory local governments further to a federal administration as incompetent as the one that currently administers our nation's affairs.
The Victorian government's position is quite clear, and I urge all Victorians to consider the consequences and not support the upcoming Julia Gillard local government referendum.