Members, not warlords, should be running political parties by Prof George Williams AO
"The bad behaviour of our politicians can hide deeper problems. In the case of branch stacking, it is the poor regulation of Australia’s political parties. They shape public decision-making and determine who stands for parliament, yet operate out of the public eye. The absence of scrutiny is by design. Political parties have been given legal structures enabling them to exercise considerable power without transparency or accountability."
As we wrestle with the challenges of Covid-19 the weaknesses
inherent in our federation are being clearly seen. These weaknesses have been
present since 'federation' in 1901 but have been amplified by various legislative,
legal and administrative actions. Our state and federal politicians are not willing
or able to resolve these issues.
A Constitutional Council of esteemed Australians, not
involved in daily political life, should be permanently established to develop
referendum proposals to overcome the lack of clarity in federal, state and
local government responsibilities and other changes needed so that our constitution
reflects the requirements of contemporary Australia.
Getting the right balance between local, state and federal
responsibilities for revenue and services would make Australia a stronger and more cohesive nation.
“Rather than have an all-powerful unitary government, federations offer
the advantage of several governments operating closer to their constituents. By
rights, accountability is enhanced and sub-national governments can learn from
each other.” ...“The empirical evidence
from around the world is also strongly supportive of federations. Federated countries
consistently have outperformed unitary states in terms of the key economic
parameters, such as gross domestic product growth, unemployment and the like.”Judith Sloan – The Australian 20/7/21
“…current rules for holding a referendum are archaic and ill-suited
to modern times. Fortunately, parliament has begun work on this through a new
inquiry by the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and
Legal Affairs.” The Australian 19/7/21 :
George Williams - Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Professor of Law at the University
of New South Wales The sad truth is that our politicians are not trusted enough to be in
charge of an issue as important as Constitutional Reform. Our country needs a
Constitutional Council outside the political sphere to undertake such important
reform now and into the future.