In Politics

Local Government Pork Barrelling Reaches For The Sky

Victor P Taffa

The Gillard Government is to hold a Referendum in conjunction with the 14 September 2013 Federal Election seeking to have Local Government recognised in the Commonwealth Constitution.

The question the Gillard Government must answer is what will the wording be of the Referendum?

In 1974 and 1988 there were attempts to amend the Constitution to allow for financial assistance and overseas borrowings for Local Government. In 1974 the referendum was carried in New South Wales only and in 1988 the Referendum was carried in no States at all.

If the reason for the Referendum does not relate to money then why the need for a Referendum at all?

If the reason for the Referendum relates to money then why the need for a Referendum at all?

The Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution makes local government a matter of State rather than Federal law, with special cases for territories and the District of Columbia.

If the United States simply refers Local Government to a matter of State Law rather than Federal Law as Australia currently does then why the need for a Referendum at all?

Isn’t this Referendum a costly waste of money?

The Gillard Government seems to think that the finances of the Commonwealth Treasury are an endless pit of money. Money to pork barrel its way back into office seems to be endless. The reality is that the Commonwealth Treasury only has a limited amount of money to spend. Otherwise printing more money for Local Government pet projects will simply be reminiscent of the spending largesse of the Whitlam Labor Government.

The Commonwealth Government does not have enough money to give to State Government’s or for projects such as High Speed Rail or Highway Upgrades such as the Pacific Highway in New South Wales let alone money for every Local Government Council across Australia.

Although the Pacific Highway in New South Wales is a state road the Pacific Highway has a death toll on it that makes the road an issue of national importance.

The Commonwealth Government could also fund other Railway Expansion projects in Victoria and New South Wales and also a Rail Ferry to Tasmania. The construction of Railway’s comes under the Commonwealth’s responsibility within the Commonwealth Constitution.

Railway projects in Victoria include the Metro Rail Line, the Doncaster Line and the Rowville Line.

Railway projects in New South Wales include a rail harbour tunnel, Parramatta-Epping Line, Northern Line Quadrupling including the John Whitton Bridge across the Parramatta River at Meadowbank.

The fact is the Gillard Government has no money for these vital projects let alone more money for Local Government.

One only has to look at the Rudd/Gillard Government’s financial foray into the School Building Revolution or the Pink Batts disaster to see how little money that they actually have to spend.

If anyone thinks that Editor Victor P Taffa has an endless pit of money well in fact he manages on the pittance Newstart Allowance.

If the reason for this Referendum relates to money will the only change to the Constitution be merely to S.96 that affects Financial Assistance to the States?

To make mention of Local Government in the Constitution will in fact require a far greater number of amendments to the Constitution than the Government realises.

If the reason for this Referendum does not relate to money then what is the hidden agenda of the Government?

Is the hidden agenda to abolish the States via reduction of their status to Territories?

What is the Gillard Government’s position on Statehood for The Northern Territory?

The voters of Australia in every State and Territory should resoundingly vote NO to any notion of recognising Local Government in the Constitution. Every State and Territory Government currently looks after the needs of Local Government in a very effective manner.

The Federal Opposition should seriously consider its position on the issue and also recommend a NO vote at the Referendum on 14 September 2013.

If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.


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