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Greens push for remonstration on self-government

By johnboy - 15 June 2009 33

Uber Green Meredith Hunter has announced her intention to ramp up moves to get the Commonwealth to surrender its power to veto our laws.

    “After twenty years of self government, it is clear that the ACT doesn’t need to have the federal government looking over its shoulder.” Ms Hunter said today.

    “That was the message that came out loud and clear for the 20th anniversary ceremonial sitting on May 11, and the Assembly’s conference the next day.”

    “That is why I plan to move a motion in the Assembly on Wednesday, calling on the Federal Government to give up its power to overrule acts of the ACT Assembly.”

    “I have provided copies of the motion to the leaders of the other parties in the Assembly and would be pleased to work with them in order to get unanimous support.”

For mine, while I’d prefer a more democratic check on the Assembly than the Governor-General acting on the Prime Minister’s advice, I’m loathe to move to a situation where there are no checks on the Legislative Assembly at all.

Although one can see why the London Circuit Soviet would make a grab for un-trammeled power, who wouldn’t given half a chance?

Commonwealth veto over ACT laws

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33 Responses to
Greens push for remonstration on self-government
caf 3:38 pm 15 Jun 09

PM, you’ve missed a substantial part of the issue.

Constitutionally, the Federal Parliament has untrammelled power over the Territories – this is true.

However, it is mere legislation (rather than the Constitution) that has devolved a specific disallowance power over ACT law to the Federal Executive. It’s the removal of this power that the Greens are asking for – this would still leave the Federal Parliament able to overrule ACT laws, but they’d have to pass a bill to do so, which requires debate and needs to pass the Senate.

PM 2:45 pm 15 Jun 09

I think the crucial question raised by the Greens is do we want the feds to have the power?

Constitutionally, the federal parliament has the power. End of story.

Issues for me are a)what can happen to make it harder for the feds to use that power, and b) in such a situation, would we need/want to revise our ACT political process?

caf 2:14 pm 15 Jun 09

An alternative to an upper house would be to expand the electorates so that an absolute majority is harder to obtain.

Igglepiggle 1:54 pm 15 Jun 09

johnboy said :

States at the very least have a governor who *can* refuse assent.

We don’t even have that. I’d like to see a second chamber in the assembly before we take off the trainer wheels.


housebound 1:27 pm 15 Jun 09


housebound 1:27 pm 15 Jun 09

Governments always have the capacity to do unlawful or just mean or silly things. The proponents need to show how they will bring some review to the unhiodered power of a single party holding majority in a small jurisdiction. That would be an improvement that would draw wide support from the community, but I won’t hold my breath.

astrojax 1:20 pm 15 Jun 09

caf made an excellent point (beat me to it) and yes, pm, if the feds really want it out it will go, but it is somewhat more problematic and significant for them, so they’re less likely to be hasty and simply populist, like with the same sex civil union issue…

PM 12:25 pm 15 Jun 09

Caf’s suggestion seems the only way it can be done – but technically the Feds Parliament can still override if there’s a majority in both houses.

Clown Killer 12:16 pm 15 Jun 09

I agree with caft @#5. At least that way the Feds have to bring on a bill and have a debate on why the democratic will of a territory is being ursurped rather than just doing on a nod and a wink from the Prime Minister.

johnboy 12:10 pm 15 Jun 09

I’d rather a poor check than no check at all.

caf 12:10 pm 15 Jun 09

This wouldn’t take away the Federal ability to overrule ACT laws – it would just mean that they’d have to enact legislation to do so, rather than simply using an executive order. I don’t have a problem with that.

YapYapYap 12:07 pm 15 Jun 09

That’d be the Queen’s Govenor, would it? That’s what I call democratic. Never picked you as a fellow monachist, JB

Gungahlin Al 11:57 am 15 Jun 09

While we don’t have the check of a second house (as is the case in Qld) we do have the proprtional representation voting method, which does make it inherently less dictatorial than the Qld situation.

However, if people are so keen on a check, then just require an absolute majority of the Federal Parliament. Some have suggested this via a joint sitting requiring 2/3 majority.

The key issue is that it is on the say-so of the PM of the day, and of course their party people will fall into line, as Kate did on this issue last year, despite her protestations.

Any talk about a governor (general) is a red herring. No governor since Kerr is likely to veto a PM (or Premier) recommendation, methinks.

johnboy 11:39 am 15 Jun 09

States at the very least have a governor who *can* refuse assent.

We don’t even have that. I’d like to see a second chamber in the assembly before we take off the trainer wheels.

Clown Killer 11:32 am 15 Jun 09

I really don’t see too much of a problem with moving to position more like the States where the Governor signs off on legislation. As a democracy, we’re allowed to make right and wrong decisions and ultimately it’ll all get sorted out in the end.

Besides, what can really go wrong? What would the assembly legislate that would be so out there? Gay marriage is really a non event except for those who feel it important to be able to force their moral will on others. Euthanasia laws, whilst controversial for Catholics and other nutter groups might mean that our terminally ill members of the community could finally get the same rights as dogs and cats. Besides, the Commonwealths constitutional powers would still be there to moderate the most bizarre of the lefts policy excess.

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