December 7

Local Government and the Constitution

In a recent column on the proposed recognition of the Aboriginal people in the Constitution, I said, en passant, that we also hear that local government should also be similarly recognized.

But,” I asked,” local government is a creation of the States; why should it be recognized in the Constitution?"

I added: “If it is, why not also recognize the vast voluntary sector?  At least some voluntary organizations were crucial in achieving Federation, especially the Federation Leagues and the Australian Natives Association.” “There will be no end to the list of people organisations and others demanding to be recognized.”

….another view….

One of my readers, a man who has made his mark in the area and is greatly respected, argues that local government should be so recognized.

The Australian Local Government Association is working towards this end, and makes a solid case.  

But it stresses that any referendum question would not seek to undermine the powers of state governments and would not impede their ability to regulate or reform local government. 

….High Court case…

[continued below]


A recent decision of the High Court, noted here late last year, gives the campaign a practical edge.

The case, Pape v Commissioner of Taxation   casts doubt on the ability of the Federal Government to directly fund local government through programs not within federal powers, such as roads.

Details of the campaign can be found on the Australian Local Government Association website.


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