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Question blunder raises doubts on all referendum issues



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M E D IA RELEASE ΐ / Φ ψ

Jl. AUSTRALIA

THE SENATE

6/88

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COIvi.VO; ’WEALTH PARLIAMENTARY LIBRARY C. I. s.

SENATOR JOHN STONE SHADOW MINISTER FOR FINANCE

31 May, 1988

QUESTION BLUNDER RAISES DOUBTS ON ALL REFERENDUM ISSUES

National Party Senate Leader, Senator John Stone, said today the Federal Labor Government's admission that its so-called "fair elections" referendum question was riddled with unintended consequences, threw a cloud of doubt over all four referendum questions.

Senator Stone said the Government was rapidly becoming the Cabinet for unintended consequences.

"Unintended consequences - or, more properly, shoddy legislative drafting - brought about the need for significant changes to the fringe benefits tax and, fortunately, resulted in the Government being forced to abandon the ID Card proposal."

"Now we find that 'unintended consequences' have forced the Government to seek major amendments to one of its referendum questions."

"If legislation concerning one of the referendum questions is now admitted to be seriously flawed, how can we be sure that the amendments now proposed will not be equally flawed? For that matter, how can we be sure that the other questions are not also

similarly flawed?"

Senator Stone said the chances of Labor winning any of its four referendum questions were diminishing by the day.

"Even its prospects on the superficially inoffensive but, in fact, deeply contentious local government 'recognition' question are in trouble."

"Not only does the 'recognition' itself consist of giving local government the back of its hand; the hypocrisy involved has also been exposed by the $20 million cut back in funding for local government announced last week in the Mini-Budget.

"By the time the questions are put in September, the voters will have had a chance to look into them all in detail", Senator Stone concluded.

"When they have done so, I am sure that their habitual good sense will prevail."

ENDS

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