“Australians opposed to the local government referendum have officially formed and welcome the support of any Australian opposed to Canberra’s power grab”, said spokesperson Peter Reith.

Mr Reith’s comments follow the introduction of the Referendum Alteration (Local Government) Bill into the House of Representatives last week. Former Councillor, Julian Leeser, will be Convenor of the Vote ‘No’ campaign, with the support of Mr Reith, Dr Gary Johns, Nick Minchin and Tim Wilson.

“We welcome any Australian who wants to stand up to Canberra’s power grab”, Mr Reith said.

“Anyone opposed to this local government referendum can register their interest at:

“We’re building a broad-based coalition of people, regardless of their political background, to defeat this Canberra power grab. We want organising committee members, activists, donors, anyone prepared to play a part – big or small – to defeat this Canberra power grab”.

“If you want local communities to provide services based on local need, not Canberra priorities, you will want to sign up”.

“The Constitution isn’t just any old piece of paper, it’s the document that limits the power of Canberra politicians and bureaucrats and outlines the very structure of our democracy”.

“Canberra politicians and bureaucrats are trying to change the Constitution that limits their power using every trick in the book at their disposal”.

“The Vote ‘No’ group is standing up against Canberra’s power grab”.

“$21.6 million of public money is being used to campaign for this referendum. The Australian Local Government Association is amassing a $10 million ratepayer-funded campaign war chest. The Federal government has appropriated $11.6 million for a campaign that they have admitted will be a defacto ‘yes’ campaign”. Under questioning, Senator Jacinta Collins stated in the Senate:

“Certainly we will be looking at a broad education campaign, but a component of that campaign will be a position where the government seeks to advocate that there are strong benefits in accepting what is proposed in this case”. – Senator Jacinta Collins, 15/05/2013

“Defeating this referendum will require every Australian standing up for their community and services being delivered on local need, not Canberra priorities”, Mr Reith said.

Media contact Peter Reith: 0408 803 891, Dr Gary Johns: 0438 290 852, Tim Wilson: 0417 356 165, Nick Minchin: 0427 462 469, Julian Leeser: 0419 630 955

Carbon Tax Unconstitutional: Legal Opinion

Well done the IPA for seeking a legal opinion on the validity of the Gillard government’s Carbon Tax.

Pity no conservative state government bothered about getting a legal opinion.

Anyway, the legal opinion concludes that the legislation can be challenged on a number of grounds, including:


1. The Commonwealth cannot tax State property. Legally carbon dioxide emissions are State property.

2. The Commonwealth cannot impose a carbon tax and other related penalties within the same Act.

3. The Commonwealth cannot introduce a carbon tax within its external affairs powers.


Carbon Tax turd in a swimming pool


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Australia is suffering from a lack of professional mobility

Tim Wilson

Tim Wilson explains how our our political system doesn't support the right.

The centre-right is politically harmed because State and Federal Executives are drawn from the Parliament.  

Australia broadly suffers from a lack of professional mobility. Few Australians can, or do, move between the senior levels of government, academia and business.

All three suffer costs as a consequence.

But the cost is greatest in the lack of business people moving into government because only professional politicians, and increasingly Party professionals who secure preselections, reach high office and disconnects enterprise from government decision making.

And blocking senior business people entering the higher echelons of government costs the necessary relationship between business and the pro-enterprise side of politics.

The centre and far-left will always have a support base in organised labour.

But the centre-right’s organisational base is looser and made up of volunteers. There are few personal incentives outside of the indirect benefit of good policy outcomes, to support the centre-right.

Removing barriers for business professionals helps fill the incentives gap.

Pursuing Executive office through Parliament remains open for business professionals but the cost is interrupting an existing career path to become a full-time professional politician that may only eventually deliver a dividend at the whim of the electorate.

And there are real costs to being elected to Parliament that few, outside of politics, are used to, or are prepared, to bare.

Parliamentarians are first and foremost representatives of their constituency and their Party and spend a majority of their day-to-day Parliamentary life dealing with the challenge of keeping constituents and Party members happy, as well as fundraising and campaigning to get re-elected.

These are necessary duties in a democracy. But it’s unsurprising that senior business figures leading national, or multinational, enterprises may find such a day-to-day life unappealing for the prospective long term reward of being a Minister.

A currently serving MP once said to me that if you want to get into Parliament you have to give your life over to your Party. While the advice was given by a Liberal MP the situation is unlikely to be any different within Labor’s ranks.

But to do so is also a significant barrier for politically minded, but less politically motivated, individuals to become involved.

The Senate could provide a useful backdoor for senior business people to enter Parliament and the Executive without dealing with the day-to-day life of a local MP.

But the contemporary obligations placed on Senators by Parties to manage campaigns for lower house seats held by their political opponents mean they still have a constituency, and often more than one.

And even when Parliamentarians become a member of the Executive and are responsible for the management of the country these responsibilities don’t disappear.

The recently released comedy, In the Loop, articulates the polar opposite activities contemporary Ministers are required to deal with to stay an MP to be a Minister.

Fictional British MP and Cabinet Minister, Simon Foster, has to balance out addressing the political consequences of a crumbling wall in his constituency concurrent to averting the passage of a UN resolution for the US and UK to declare war on a Middle Eastern country.

Both are potentially important activities but not to be dealt with by a Cabinet Minister.

And there is also a broader governmental cost of drawing the Executive from the Parliament because it blurs the line between these two arms of our democracy.

The Executive is supposed to manage the delivery of government. The Parliament is supposed to represent the people, pass laws and hold the Executive to account.

Having the same individuals responsible for these conflicting objectives undermines the credibility of government and the capacity for it to be held to account, especially when the Executive is selected from the Party that already has the majority in the Parliament.

Australia’s Washminster tradition has delivered stability and supported our prosperity. But our Parliamentary system doesn’t encourage mobility from the business community into government and confuses the responsibilities of the Executive and the Parliament.

The urgency of the reform isn’t great.

But if the public supports the election of a non-Parliamentary Head of State the centre-right should support the introduction of an equivalent Executive to help broaden the foundations of centre-right politics.

Tim Wilson is Director of the IP and Free Trade Unit at the Institute of Public Affairs.