Victoria Minister for Local Government Jeanette Powell
Referendum ‘Yes’ And ‘No’ Cases Deserve Equal Taxpayer Funding
Victor P Taffa
Minister for Local Government Jeanette Powell has slammed the Gillard Labor Government’s proposal to disproportionately fund the ‘yes’ and ‘no’ cases for the forthcoming referendum.
“It is treating the Australian people with disrespect to run such a lop-sided propaganda campaign in a desperate bid to sway voters before the September referendum.” Mrs. Powell said.
“The fact that the Gillard Labor Government has to bias funding by such a degree shows a lack of confidence in the strength of their referendum argument.”
Mrs. Powell said funding should be equally allocated to both the ‘yes’ and ‘no’ campaigns given the opposition of the states to Labor’s referendum question.
“The most heavily populated states have announced they are opposed to the wording of the Labor referendum and this should be respected by Canberra in funding any education campaign.”
“The Gillard Labor Government cannot justify the funding split based on votes in the House of Representatives when it knows a number of states are opposed.”
“If tax dollars from Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia are to be used to fund an education campaign about the referendum then both the ‘yes’ and ‘no’ cases should get equal treatment.” Mrs. Powell said.
Mrs. Powell said she had asked her Department for advice on possible legal action Victoria could take to ensure the states’ case against the referendum is as fairly and equally publicly funded, as the Gillard Labor Government’s case.
“The Victorian Coalition Government is opposed to the referendum because there is a great risk that Victoria’s councils will be worse off.” Mrs. Powell said.
“Victoria’s relatively efficient and effective local government sector would almost certainly lose money to weaker councils in other states, under a federally controlled funding system.”
Mrs. Powell said the referendum question would also create legal uncertainty and a blurring of responsibilities which could stop the Victorian Coalition Government from intervening in poorly governed councils.