August 9

Local government & constitutional recognition

The Federal Government today announced that the former Chief Justice of the NSW Supreme Court, the Honourable James Spigelman AC, will lead an expert panel on recognition of local government in the Australian Constitution.

Two ministers, the Hon Simon Crean MP, Minister for Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government and the Hon Robert McClelland MP Attorney-General, announced the appointment of the panel consisting of “representatives from a range of backgrounds and areas of expertise.” 

Under the guidance of Mr Spigelman, the panel members appointed today have been asked to look into the level of support for constitutional recognition of local government and to identify possible forms that recognition could take,” Mr Crean said.“The panel will consult widely and the outcomes will help shape any proposal to put to a referendum."

…panel members…

(Continued below)


•    The Honourable James Spigelman AC QC (Chair);
•    Cr Paul Bell AM
•    Professor A.J. Brown
•    Fr Joe Caddy
•    Mr Ross Cameron
•    Mr Peter Clarke
•    The Honourable Karlene Maywald
•    Cr Genia McCaffery
•    Mr Greg McLean OAM
•    Professor Graham Sansom
•    The Right Honourable Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi
•    Mr Jim Soorley AM
•    Ms Lucy Turnbull AO
•    Senator Bob Brown
•    Mrs Jane Prentice MP
•    Mr Sid Sidebottom MP
•    Mr Tony Windsor MP 


Mr. Crean said that the Government’s commitment to establishing the panel is reflected in its agreement with the Greens and Independent MPs Tony Windsor and Andrew Wilkie. The panel will report back to the Government by the end of the year.   

He said that the  Government is committed to holding a national referendum on this issue during the term of the current government or at the next Federal election. To succeed, the referendum must attract the support of a majority of votes nationally, and a majority of votes in a majority of states. 

Biographies of panel members and its terms of reference are available at



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