Yesterday the Australian published an excellent article by Julian Leeser, given even more reasons as to why the proposed referendum on local councils is a bad idea.
This referendum is not in the best interest of local councils. It lets Canberra get its sticky fingers into local communities. Canberra may give money to councils only on the basis they agree to its planning or environmental policies or unilaterally increase building heights and population density. If councils don’t comply they won’t get the cash. Councils will have to put up with two levels of government interference. Yet regardless of who is in power, Canberra is terrible at service delivery. Think pink batts, school halls or Tasmanian hospitals.
The outcome is not looking good, even if the majority of Australians vote “yes” come 14 September. Leeser highlights how the whole process will be a waste of time (and money) because it is highly unlikely that the referendum will succeed.
The last referendum to be carried on an election day occurred in 1946 at the height of the Chifley government’s power. The Gillard government is at its nadir.
Popularity of local councils has never been high and “how will a no vote enhance public confidence in our councils?” Leeser gives the Gillard government some sound advice:
… pull the referendum before it’s too late.