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by Mike.B

Have You Read The Australian Constitution?

Most Australians know we have a constitution, but don't have a clue as to what it contains. It is not a subject in schools. And it should be. ALL Australians should have at least a small understanding of what it is about. With a basic understanding of its contents, governments would not be able to get away with much of the legislation that they do now. Maybe that is the reason why it is not taught.

That being said, come September we will be asked to vote in a referendum. We are all duty bound to understand the ramifications of that referendum.

A Constitutional Comittee was formed to investigate and report to the Australian Government on the possibility of amending section 96 of the constitution to 'financially' recognise Local Government by the Australian Government

The committee, chaired by Michelle Rowland, has recommended the referendum propose an amendment to Section 96 of the Constitution that the Parliament may grant financial assistance to any State or to any local government body formed by a State or Territory legislation on such terms and conditions as the Parliament thinks fit.

This strategy has been put forward in referenda twice before (1974 and 1988), and both times the referenda failed, for good reason. The populace knew that the people who wrote the Constitution, knew of, but deliberately left Local Government out of it. They were protecting us from over governance. The exact thing many people complain about now.

Back in 1900, it was the States of Australia who joined in Federation, who subscribed to the Australian Constitution. In each of their State constitutions they acknowledge the need for local councils. Those councils are under the administration of the State Government. That is why the CEO of your council is employed by the State Government, and is the most powerful person to sit in council meetings.

The Federal Government would love to have direct access to the governance of the population, and do away with the annual bunfight over funding (as seen with the Gonski report) with the States. As much as we hate to admit it, our State pollies do try to do the best for their respective States at these meetings, and the Federal Government detests it.

The Federal Government HAS to fund the States. Why? Because the Federal Government is the only body allowed to enact taxes. That's why things like Income Tax, and GST are paid directly to the Commonwealth, and the States have to fight tooth and nail to get a share of it each year.

As much as it would like, the Federal Government cannot rid itself of the States. The Constitution says so. So what is the alternative? Simply to use Councils as the direct conduit to governing us. Remember the words to the amendment 'the Parliament may grant financial assistance to any State or to any local government body formed by a State or Territory legislation on such terms and conditions as the Parliament thinks fit'. The words 'as the Parliament thinks fit' are very vague, and can mean anything. Think about that for a moment, and think about the ramifications that those words could mean.

As the time approaches, I will write more on the subject. In the meantime, why don't you familiarise yourself with OUR Constitution, you can read it HERE or download it HERE. It's always handy to have a copy on your computer. You never know when you may need to reference it.

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