In Politics

 Federal Politicians Seek To Abolish The States

Victor P Taffa

Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd seeks to mount a comeback to the Labor leadership as a means of distraction from the Local Government Referendum that will be held with the Federal Election on 14 September 2013.

COAG is the Council of Australian Governments. COAG is the peak intergovernmental forum in Australia, comprising the Prime Minister, State Premiers, Territory Chief Ministers and the President of the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA). This means that currently a COAG meeting has 10 people plus an assistant each that totals no more than 20 people.

The Local Government Referendum seeks to include Local Government in the Commonwealth Constitution under Section 96.

This seemly innocent amendment to the Constitution is fraught with difficulties and a drain on funding to State Governments of all persuasions. However this Referendum is the first step to abolishing State Boundaries and State Governments.

Federal Politicians need to set out in full what funding formula that it wants for Local Government in the future before the election. What funding criteria will be set for Local Government should this Referendum succeed?

Will these funding criteria be on a population basis or a needs basis?

The Local Government Referendum that has yet to be formally announced provides no detail about the funding formula and the venue for future COAG meetings.

If the Commonwealth Government is hell bent on abolishing the States where is the meeting of COAG going to be held?

With about 800 Mayors throughout Australia the only venue capable of holding such a meeting is the MCG (Melbourne Cricket Ground). Each Mayor will have an assistant with him/her at COAG. The number of people that might attend COAG will be no less than 1,600 people. The ability of more than 1,600 people in a room or venue agreeing on anything will be a sight to beholden and is more than likely that nothing will be agreed upon.

This simply highlights what little thought the Gillard Government has for this dumb idea.

The Gillard Government owes all Australians to come clean with the detail before the election considering that they wish to tanker with 112 years of successful management of Australia.

Abolition Of The States:

Abolition of the States means a lot of things to many people. The ramifications of such a move are costly and will be felt for many years to come. Abolishing the States will require Constitutional Conventions to be held over a 10 year period as was done prior to Federation in 1901. It will also require a new Constitution to be written up.

Legal Systems:

Abolition of the States will also require a new legal system to be in place as all State Supreme Courts will have to be dissolved. All Supreme Court decisions past and present will have to be upheld by the Commonwealth Parliament.

Policing:

Abolition of the States will mean that every State Police Force will be dissolved. The Australian Federal Police will take over all existing responsibilities and then create Police Forces on a Regional or Local Government basis. All this for no nett gain except a costly waste of taxpayers’ money. The New South Wales (NSW) Police are the oldest in Australia and was formed in 1862. The NSW Police predates Federation in 1901.

Railways:

Abolition of the States will mean that all branch lines throughout every existing State will close. Buses will replace existing train services on lines affected. This is because the policy of the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) does not support branch line operations. This was primarily the reason behind the closure of the Cowra branch line in NSW and is the reason behind the push for the Newcastle line in NSW to be initially cutback and then closed at a later date. The Victorian Railways began in 1854 and like the NSW Police predates Federation. The NSW Railways began in 1855.

Sport:

Abolition of the States will mean that all State based Sporting competitions will have to come to an end. Some examples include:

Cricket:

The Sheffield Shield competition would cease to exist should the States be abolished. The Sheffield Shield Cricket competition between the 6 States began in the 1892-93 season. The competition is named after Lord Sheffield who donated the Shield. While Sheffield Shield does not draw the crowds to matches that it once did it is still the nursery of future Australian Cricketers. Australian Cricketers still regard the competition highly. The Sheffield Shield competition predates Federation in 1901. The Sheffield Shield is a competition between States only and should the Federal Government decide to call existing States as Territories then this move would simply undermine the existing competition as hundreds of new territories throughout Australia would seek admission to play Sheffield Shield cricket.

Rugby League:

State of Origin matches will come to an end. While the National Rugby League (NRL) competition is a national competition the nursery of future players comes from State based leagues primarily in New South Wales and Queensland. All State based competitions will cease to exist with an abolition of the States. The NSW Rugby League was formed in 1907. This would have a similar impact on the NRL competition as with Sheffield Shield cricket.

Australian Rules:

State of Origin matches will come to an end. While the Australian Football League (AFL) competition is a national competition the nursery of future players comes from State based leagues primarily in Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania, New South Wales and Queensland. The Victorian Football Association (VFA) was formed in 1877 and the Victorian Football League (VFL) was formed in 1896. The South Australian National Football League (SANFL) was formed on 30 April 1877 and is one of the oldest football competitions in the world. The Melbourne Demons AFL club was formed in 1859 and is the oldest football club in the world. Melbourne Demons AFL also predates many English Premier League Clubs. All State based competitions will cease to exist with an abolition of the States. This would have a similar impact on the AFL competition as with Sheffield Shield cricket.

Rugby Union:

State of Origin matches will come to an end. The Australian Rugby Union (ARU) draws players future players comes from State based leagues primarily in New South Wales and Queensland. All State based competitions will cease to exist with an abolition of the States. The NSW Rugby Union (NSWRU) was formed in 1874.The NSW Rugby Union competition includes such clubs as Eastwood, Randwick and Sydney University. This would have a similar impact on the NRL competition as with Sheffield Shield cricket. A regional or territory based competition would see many clubs fold or face mergers.

These examples of the impact of the abolition of States are only a few that comes to mind quickly. There are many other Government Departments such as Education, Health, Agriculture and Environment and other social groups and clubs that will be impacted on in a negative way to the detriment of Australia. The abolition of one tier of Government will simply be replaced by bureaucrats that become unaccountable to the public. Currently every State Government Department is accountable to every State Parliament.

There are other countries throughout the world that have State Governments as well as a National Government. These include Canada, China, India, Pakistan and the United States of America.

There are other countries throughout the world that do not have State Governments. These include Great Britain and New Zealand.

In the case of Great Britain and New Zealand both countries have the advantage of smaller more compact areas to administer. In the case of the United States and Australia where both mainland areas are roughly the same size it is having State Governments that works to the advantage of both countries in the delivery of services to the people of both countries.

The issue of a Republic vs. Constitutional Monarchy is completely separate to a debate on retaining State boundaries although the Commonwealth Constitution is based on the Monarchy and the States binding the Commonwealth of Australia together.

The Local Government Referendum should not be a piecemeal manner to achieve a republic or abolition of the States. This Referendum is intended to be the beginning of that process.

It would appear that our current Federal leaders are so weak as to not engage the nation in a debate on the future of Australia’s administrative arrangements.

The Referendum on Local Government is intended to be the beginning of the end of State boundaries and State Governments. Our Federation Fathers prior to 1901 deliberately chose to omit Local Government from the Constitution for many reasons. One was to simplify the administration of running a new Country in what is the largest island continent in the world.

The Local Government Referendum must be defeated in every State and Territory.

 

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