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Putting the law into the people's hands



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P A R L I A M E N T O F A U S T R A L I A

H O U S E O F R E P R E S E N T A T I V E S

P.O. B O X 1 2 0 6 . B O O R A G O O N , W .A . 6 1 5 4 SUITE 8, GATEWAY .

MELVILLE CITY CENTRE BOORAGOON TEL. (09) 364 5554

P E T E R S H A C K , M .P .

FEDERAL MEMBER FOR TANGNEY SHADOW MINISTER FOR EMPLOYMENT, TRAINING AND YOUTH AFFAIRS

M E D I A R E L E A S E .

26TH FEBRUARY, 1988. 20/88. EMBARGO: 8.00 P.M.

PUTTING THE LAW INTO THE PEOPLE'S HANDS

The adoption of the concept of citizen initiated referenda, or people's law, could breathe new life into Australia's political process according to Peter Shack, Shadow Minister for Employment, Training and Youth Affairs, and Patron of the Young Liberal Movement of Australia.

Addressing the Queensland Young Liberals Annual Opening of the Year Dinner in Brisbane, Mr Shack said that one thing which this country needs, and needs badly, is well informed public debate.

"We have been ill served by special interest groups who have taken over most forums for public debate in order to promote their own particular selfish interests.

"I think that the people's law concept is a tremendously exciting idea, and one which could help to overcome the sense of alienation from the political process which is felt by so many.

"If we can find a means of giving people a greater sense of power, an increasing sense of involvement is likely to follow.

"The Liberal Party's Law and Justice Policy commits us to examining the value of Constitutional reforms which would allow such a system to operate, and the Young Liberal Movement is well placed to assist in that examination.

"The opportunity for citizens to initiate their own legislation, and either veto or approve parliamentary legislation, would go a long way towards restoring our parliamentary system to that of a truly liberal democracy.

"In the Australian context there are a number of areas, such as the I.D. Card proposal, immigration and social welfare policy, and funding for public broadcasting which immediately spring to mind as possible subjects for referendums.

"I am optimistic that the adoption of the citizen initiated referendum system could help us forge a new way of doing things - one which involves the greatest possible cross section of the community, and as a consequence more accurately mirrors the traditions, values and concerns of our society as a whole.

"It could also help to ensure that legislative measures enacted by parliaments are not the extremist products of secret deals between pressure groups and party factions."

Contact: Peter Shack (07) 835 3535 (Sheraton Hotel, Brisbane).

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