Provided the election is held on or after 14 September, we shall also be asked to vote on a referendum described as one to recognise local government in the Constitution.
It is not appropriate for a monarchist organisation to take a position on the referendum itself.
[Malcolm Fraser & Gough Whitlam united for a republic, 1999]
…funding & YES/NO Booklet…
While opponents have concerns about the effect of the proposed changes on the relative powers of the federal authorities and the states, opposing it could not be justified under our mission or charter.
That said the decision not to grant equal funding to both the YES and NO cases, and the legislation to stop the YES/NO booklet going to every voter must be opposed.
In fact in the Parliamentary Inquiry in 2009, ACM argued strongly that if funding is granted in a referendum, it should be equal. We also argued that the YES/NO booklet continue to be sent to every voter: Preparations for a Plebiscite. ( There are links there to our submissions)
Individuals will of course take positions. I should reveal that I was invited to write an opinion piece on this for the July issue of Quadrant : “The Centralist Agenda in Disguise.”
The YES case is being coordinated by the Australian Local Government Association .
Incidentally NO campaigners include some prominent NO Case campaigners from 1999 – the Hon.Peter Reith, the Hon. Nick Minchin and Julian Leeser, and one from the 1999 YES case, Professor Greg Craven , Vice Chancellor of the Australian Catholic University.
Our Constitution is our basic law. And like the basic laws of companies incorporated associations, it should not be changed too often. Nor should it be too easy to change.
The formula which our founding fathers adopted was that a proposal for change should be initiated by a bill normally passed by both houses and then approved by the people. The approval should be both nationally and federally, that is also approved by a majority of people in a majority of states. This reflects the fact that our Federal Commonwealth was established by an agreement between the people of the six Australian states.
The people of each state agreed to unite in one indissoluble Federal Commonwealth. Without that agreement, there would been no Federal Commonwealth, or at least they would not have been one bringing together the whole of Australia.
Some politicians complain about the difficulty in changing our Constitution. What they really saying is that they regret that they cannot themselves change the Constitution. But that was not the attitude of the founding fathers. They believed that the people should be involved in and consents to any change.
As our great founding fathers said the safeguards were introduced quote that in order to prevent change being made in haste or by stealth, to encourage public discussion and to delay change until there is strong evidence that it is desirable, irresistible and inevitable.
When we compare ourselves with the Americans, we have been changing the Constitution at about the same rate. If we exclude the first 10 changes to the American Constitution which were effectively the Bill of Rights and which were necessary to secure ratification, the Americans have made 15 changes.
We have made eight changes in about half the time. In other words the rate of change in the United States and in Australia is about the same, a point I made in the book , The Cane Toad Republic, one of the two books used by ACM in the 1999 No campaign.