Former High Court Justice Ian Callinan on the local government referendum

The Samuel Griffith Society, formed in 1992, is a group dedicated to upholding the principles of the Australian Constitution, including to defend its integrity against proposals to diminish the constitutional fabric by centralising power in Canberra.

The President of the Society, Ian Callinan AC, QC, released an important statement regarding the proposal local government referendum:

All Australians should resist the proposal for a referendum to amend the Constitution to constitute local authorities as constitutional polities.  The proposal will, if adopted, enable the Commonwealth government to side line the states and divide and rule a multiplicity of clamouring councils swollen in ego and, inevitably in bureaucracy.  Anyone who would believe that local autonomy and democracy will be enhanced would be delusional.  Instead, the flow of funds and accordingly the preference for project over project, and their implementation will be micro-managed by Canberra.  The marginalised states will be denied the capacity to design and implement the infrastructure that the states require, and, in addition to the demarcation disputes in the High Court between the states and the Commonwealth, there will be endless litigation between the states, the Commonwealth and the new empowered local authorities as to who is entitled to do what and equally importantly, where.

Vote yes at your peril.

The statement also linked to the website of the official ‘no’ case for the referendum: http://www.nopowergrab.com.au.

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