Local Government referendum set up to fail: Macdonald

While Senator Ian Macdonald, Opposition Spokesman on Northern and Remote Australia, will vote yes in the Local Government referendum to be held in conjunction with the Federal election, he told the Senate today he had serious reservations about the governments motives in the way it has set it up.

I believe this referendum has been set up by the Gillard government to fail, and I fear that it will fail, Senator Macdonald told the Senate.

I regret to say, I do not think it is going to get anywhere.

Senator Macdonald said that although the Federal Government had traditionally funded local government, recent court cases had cast some doubt on the constitutionality of these grants.

It is important to make sure local government can continue to receive funding direct from the federal government. It is also important, I think, that the ongoing role of the States is maintained.

I am very concerned that the Gillard government which is, typically, picking winners and losers and dividing Australia as it always does, has effectively decided to fund one side of the argument and not the other. That is just un-Australian. It is unfair and it is not the sort of leadership we need from this federal parliament, or indeed the federal government.

Regardless of which argument you support, it is essential in a democracy that both sides of the debate receive funding to educate the public.

He said that few Australians, except for those directly involved, would understand the complexity of this referendum and in the couple of months available, the real facts and arguments would not be properly presented to the Australian people.

The selection of the date for the referendum on the same day as the General Election is another flaw in this incompetent governments management of this Constitutional reform.

Rather than directing their thoughts towards what will seem to be rather technical legal debate, most voters will be concentrating on how to rid Australia of perhaps the worst government Australia has ever seen and the worst Prime Minister that Australia has ever had, he said.

To put this referendum on the same day as the General Election is, I think, guaranteeing it to fail. That is why I think that, as with so much that the Gillard government has done, it is all spin. It is not a serious attempt to fix the proper relationships between the three spheres of government in Australia.

This is another example of this government building hopes and aspirations for a needed outcome and then taking actions that will ensure that it never eventuates.

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