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The parliament of Australia on this day the 24 of January 2013 have passed its preliminary findings relating to constitutional recognition of local government/councils, which will put to the people of Australia by referendum during the federal election in around August 2013.

The recommendation is as follows; Section 96 of our Constitution to read – The parliament may grant financial assistance to any state “or to any local government body formed by the state or territory legislation” on such terms and conditions as the parliament thinks fit.

As much as the amendment only allows “Financial assistance” it uses the words “local government body formed by state or territory legislation” yet local councils presently see themselves as a third tier of government, which of course they are not.

Note the words “or any local government body formed by”

This situation has been brought about by several high courts findings that frown upon the whole idea of councils having much in the way of validity in any respect, the proposed constitutional change is to create a clear passage for commonwealth funding to go direct to local councils, which at present is handed by the commonwealth government to the state government who then pass it on, sometimes in a not so timely manner.

It does not appear to be a problem for the people to allow such an amendment at first glance, the issue though is more so one of the existence of a quasi third tier of government in the first place, how can a state or territory government simply create a third tier of government, when our constitution does not allow for one to exist?

"Local councils who are registered corporations "may" have a place in Australia, as to what power they should wield is a matter for referendum, more so than from where they receive funding"

Furthermore, it is a fact that the state governments and territories do not have the right to raise taxes, yet somehow they believe they have the right to empower local government with that ability, rates are a tax, simple proof is in the very fact that you cannot tax a tax, so rates do not attract GST, so will recognition of local councils in our constitution be the loop whole they need to continue to act out side of their own powers?

When our constitution was being debated, councils/shires already existed, but in the role of volunteers, so they were never part of any debate, which is why they are not included in any sections of our constitution, by adding them now, are we opening the door to increased powers beyond what could already be questionable?

In the early 1970’s and again in 1988, the people were asked by referendum if we wished to recognise local government, in fact the words included in the last referendum were "119A. Each State shall provide for the establishment & continuance of a system of local government. The sad outcome was that the resounding NO of the people resulted in the state and territory governments ignoring the wishes of the people, and allowed the continuance of local councils/government by way of the local government Act.

An Act of parliament cannot make changes to our constitutional protections, because the writers of the constitution were very clear that such changes be made only by the will of the people, by way of referendum.

To this day local government now write law, issue taxation, fines and excessive red tape, this very fact alone diminishes the ideal of supporting the 2013 referendum with a yes vote, if the state government are already allowing them to operate outside of our nations laws, any yes from the people may see an increase in abuse of what are clearly invalid powers.

Are the local government only empowered by the states and territories to do those things to we the people, the states know they do not have the power to do?

If local government are to continue to operate, issue fines and taxes, write laws, and interfere in the way we enjoy our private property rights, day to day running of our businesses and our use of local community parks and services, best their validity as a whole be part of the debate and insuring referendum process.

There are more detailed articles on my site, and I am sure all over the net, mine date back several years to a time when the LCA first made the decision to once again try their luck by demanding yet another referendum.

As more and more people realise what little rights we have left, and start to demand what little rights we have are upheld, local governments are on the front line of such stands, with people all over the country refusing to adhere to local bi-laws and the many financial demands local government impose on the community as a whole.

In a recent meeting with a local council corporation, in which I tried to mediate for an elderly animal lover, the council sat with a massive pile of legislation trying to use every section they could try and apply, this included them wishing to enter her home, demanding a clean up of her property, including entry of tool sheds, garden sheds, and unused shedding on the property.

In another case, where a community group had invested years of work, they backed away from a lease offering to sell them the property for 3 times its value.

What colour we paint our fence, how tall it can be, expensive applications and development planning, wanting to enter our property's, our homes and our sheds, how we landscape, how we trade, what we grow, are only the start.

The operated under their own laws and beyond, and any further empowerment will only make that worse, under constitutional law our home is our castle, yet these corporate bodies have very little understanding of these rights, so the referendum should be about holding councils to account and limiting their powers, rather than adding further to the mess that has been created.

The big shame here is the way in which the federal government have made this look like an educated process, simply because the LGA (local government association) have for some time been pooling resources to help sell the idea to “we the people”, yet the government are saying they only just made the decision this week.

So Local councils are pooling your money to sell an ideal, that is all about increasing their power at the expense of your rights, who would vote yes to that?

I assume the local South Australian media will lay low on this issue as will our state government, until of course they work out the best way to spin their way to a yes vote, I for one demand open and timely debate on the issue, and at this stage lean very heavily towards a big “No thanks”..

Mark Aldridge Independent Candidate for Wakefield CLICK HERE FOR A DETAILED ARTICLE

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