In Politics

Victoria Minister for Local Government Jeanette Powell

Economou Exposes Risk Of Referendum Power Grab

Victor P Taffa

Highly respected Monash University senior politics lecturer and author, Dr. Nicholas Economou has exposed the risk of changing the Australian Constitution proposed by Federal Labor Government’s local government referendum.

Minister for Local Government Jeanette Powell said Dr. Economou’s comments in yesterday’s edition of the Mountain Views Mail challenged Federal Labor’s myth that the referendum represents only a harmless minor amendment.

“Dr. Economou has rightly exposed the referendum as part of the former Whitlam Government’s agenda, long buried but brought back to life by the desperate and unpopular Gillard administration.” Mrs. Powell said.

“Many Victorians still remember the chaos caused by the Whitlam Government’s dangerous agenda to radically centralise power in Canberra.”

Dr. Economou is quoted as saying the referendum is “… another one of those Whitlam ideas that the current Labor Government has resurrected…”

“I don’t accept the arguments being put forward that this is just minor tinkering which will have no effect…

“The proponents of the „yes? argument say it’s making a minor alteration to the constitution, but the fact is if something gets mentioned in the Constitution it opens up a head of power to the Federal Government…

“In areas where there is concurrent Federal and State responsibility, Commonwealth would prevail…

“The states are resisting this because local government has always been a state responsibility and it makes sense…”

Mrs. Powell said these comments from an experienced political scientist at Monash University support the Victorian Coalition Government’s concerns that the referendum will cause legal uncertainty and could impact on the State’s authority over councils.

“With significant opposition mounting, I call on the Federal Labor Government to abandon the referendum question, which will cost Australian taxpayers $55 Million.” Mrs. Powell said.

The Tasmania Liberal Party has announced that it will oppose the Referendum.

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