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Early copy of motions submitted for debate at Special Federal Council on 1st March, 1997



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NATIONAL PARTY OF

AUSTRALIA

FEDERAL COUNCIL 1997

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Saturday 1 March, 1997

8.30am- 5.00pm

Early Copy of Motions submitted for debate at Special Federal Council on 1 yt March, 1997.

Formal agenda will be available at Council.

SPECIAL FEDERAL COUNCIL: 1 MARCH 1997

The following motion was carried at the last National Party Federal Conference on November 8, 1996. It was determined that a Special Federal Council should be held on 1' March 1997 in Sydney.

CONSTITUTIONAL CHANGE

"That this Conference (November 1996), recognising the importance to the future of all Australians of the present debate on constitutional change, resolves to call a special convention of National Party members from all States, as soon as practicable, for the purpose of.

(a) Ensuring that all members of the Party are afforded a genuine opportunity to exercise their rights under the Party Constitution to have their views on constitutional change heard; (b) Contributing to the debate the views of Party members in each Stale, as determined at

previously held Special State Conventions on constitutional change; and (c) Determining an approach that is properly representative of the expressed views of the Party membership as the approach to be formally adopted by the Federal National Party of Australia to the question of constitutional change."

A: CONSTITUTIONAL MONARCHY

1. HEAD OF STATE

That this Council:

noting that Australia as one of the world's oldest continuing democracies has in general been well served by its existing constitutional arrangements

(a) place on record its profound gratitude for the distinguished service rendered to Australia by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and her governors-general and their predecessors; (b) affirm its belief that in the absence of convincing arguments establishing the need for fundamental changes in the arrangements concerning Australia's Head of State, the

national interest would not be well served by making any changes to those arrangements; (c) as no such arguments have been established, reaffirm the National Party's support for Australia's constitutional monarchy; (d) instruct the Federal Management Committee in conjunction with the affiliated Parties to

prepare and implement a campaign in defence of this position in the context of any proposal to change our current arrangements. (National Party of Australia - Queensland) CARRIED/AMENDED/LOST

2.

HEAD OF STATE That this Federal Council urge that the process of constitutional debate now under way should be limited to the provisions of the Constitution dealing with the Head of State. (National Party of Australia - New South Wales)

CARRIED/AMENDEDILOST

3. HEAD OF STATE That, if as a result of a proper process of Constitutional debate a change to the Head of State is agreed to and put in a referendum, then the National Party should urge that it not take effect before the end of the reign of Queen Elizabeth II.

(National Party of Australia - New South Wales) CARRIED/AMENDED/LOST

4. CHANGES TO CONSTITUTION The Parliamentary National Party of Australia (NSW) sees no need for change to the Constitution. However, if the Australian people do decide on changes to the Head of State and these changes do not take place until after the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, the Party

believes that appropriate mechanisms for implementing such a change would involve: (a) the establishment of an Australian Governors Council (AGC), which would appoint, dismiss or accept the resignation of a Commonwealth Head of State or a State Governor. Appointment would be on the nomination of the Prime Minister or a State Premier,

respectively. Meetings would be chaired by the outgoing incumbent (or in his/her absence by the senior State Governor by date of appointment). The Chairman would have a deliberative vote only. The AGC would have no other function. (b) The appointment of the Commonwealth Head of State to be for a term of five years (with

a potential extension of no more than two years). (c) The qualifications for holding office as Commonwealth Head of State to be those set down in Section 44 of the Constitution. (d) Section 63 of the Constitution to be amended so that the Head of State in Council shall

be construed as the Head of State acting with the advice of the Federal Executive Council. (e) The Reserve Powers of the Head of State be those applying to the Governor-General under the current Constitution. The Prime Minister to be identified in the Constitution as the most senior Federal Minister, and recognised as the Chief Executive of the Government of the Commonwealth of Australia.

(National Party ofAustralia - New South Wales) CARRIED/AMENDED/LOST/NOTED

5. NO CHANGE TO AUSTRALIAN CONSTITUTION That the National Party of Australia strongly supports the Australian Constitution and sees no need for change at this time. (National Party of Australia - New South Wales)

CARRIED/AMENDED/LOST

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6. NO TO REPUBLIC:

That this Council rejects outright any attempt for Australia to become a republic or to remove our constitutional monarchy. (Tasmanian National Party) CARRIED/AMENDED/LOST

7. CONSTITUTIONAL MONARCHY: That this Council concur with the Young National Party of Australia and support Australia's Constitutional Monarchy.

(Young National Party of Australia)

CARRIED/AMENDED/LOST

8. COMMONWEALTH OF NATIONS: That the National Party of Australia restates its belief that Australia should remain a member of the Commonwealth of Nations headed by the Queen.

(National Party of Australia - New South Wales) CARRIED/AMENDED/LOST

9. CONSTITUTIONAL MONARCHY The New South Wales Parliamentary National Party supports in principle: (a) the continuity of the monarchy in New South Wales; (b) that the Party would only respond to a change of policy on the foregoing if a referendum

of eligible New South Wales citizens were held and a constitutional majority voted in favour of change; (c) that before any further discussion, the question of a Republic for Australia is canvassed, there be a campaign to explain in simple terms 'what is a Republic', what type of

Republic would be envisaged for Australia and what would be the benefit to the individual Australian of changing the established system; (d) that the Parliamentary National Party would not accept in any way, the rewrite of the Federal Constitution on anything but the titular head of Australia. (New South Wales Parliamentary Party)

CARRIED/AMENDEDILOST

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B: CIVIC EDUCATION ON

CONSTITUTIONAL MATTERS

10. CIVICS PROGRAMME FOR AUSTRALIAN SCHOOLS That an educational programme on the Australian Constitution be developed and that: (a) the provision of funding for such a programme be given priority; (b) the system of federalism which Australia's Constitution preserves, and all the benefits of

it, be emphasised in the programme; and the programme be promoted in various communication formats to ensure that all Australians regardless of age, location or language, have an opportunity to develop a thorough understanding of what they might be voting on in the future. (National Party of Australia - Women's Federal Council)

CARRIED/AMENDED/LOST

11. EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMME ON EXISTING CONSTITUTION: That this Council supports a factual and unbiased educational programme detailing the existing Constitution. (Young National Party of Australia)

CARRIED/AMENDED/LOST

C: CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION

12. CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION That in the context of the Government appointed delegates to the proposed Constitutional Convention, the National Party support the selection of as wide as possible a range of age groups and opinions, and urge that some of the delegates be National Party appointees. (National Party of Australia - New South Wales)

CARRIED/AMENDED/LOST

13. UP OF CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION That the National Party of Australia support equal gender representation for those elected to the Peoples' Convention of 1997 and to all further discussions concerning any changes to the Australian Constitution.

(National Party of Australia - Women's Federal Council) CARRIED/AMENDED/LOST

14. PEOPLES' CONVENTION That the National Party Federal Council calls on the Federal Parliamentary National Party to support the proposed People's Convention on Constitutional reform if and only if, all States are equally represented. (National Party of Australia - Western Australia)

CARRIED/AMENDED/LOST

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D: MISCELLANEOUS

CONSTITUTIONAL ISSUES (i) Vertical Fiscal Imbalance

Please note: Debate is to finish immediately before lunch adjournment, with those motions remaining in abeyance to be debated at conclusion of Section E, or if time expires at the next meeting of Federal Council in September 1997.

15. VERTICAL FISCAL IMBALANCE

That this Council call upon the Commonwealth Government to develop, in consultation with the State and Territory Governments, proposals to assure the financial independence of State and Territory Governments and to place those proposals before the forthcoming Constitutional Convention.

(National Party of Australia - Queensland) CARRIED/AMENDED/LOST

16. REFORM OF THE DIRECT AND INDIRECT TAXATION STRUCTURE: That this Council debate reform of the direct and indirect taxation structure with a particular emphasis on:

(i) a more equitable taxation system; and (ii) a new Commonwealth/State tax sharing arrangement that reduces substantially the States' reliance on Commonwealth grants. (National Party of Australia -Western Australia)

CARRIED/AMENDED/LOST

17. ELIMINATION OF DUPLICATED STATEIFEDERAL SERVICES That this Federal Council debate the need for a new allocation of State and Commonwealth Constitutional responsibilities and the consequent elimination of duplicated services (National Party of Australia -Western Australia)

CARRIED/AMENDED/LOST

18. UNFUNDED MANDATES That the National Party support amendment of the Australian Constitution to provide that the Parliament of the Commonwealth may not pass a law which obligates other levels of

government to incur expenditure unless at the same time it appropriates to those other levels of government funding equal to the expenditure it requires them to incur. (National Party of Australia - Queensland) CARRIED/AMENDED/LOST

(ii) Role and Responsibilities of the High Court

19. REFORM OF THE HIGH COURT That this Federal Council support: (a) Reform of the High Court with particular reference to: (i) its membership and the involvement of State Parliaments in appointments;

(ii) ensure its role is to interpret the laws rather than make the laws. (National Party of Australia -Western Australia) CARRIED/AMENDED/LOST

20. HIGH COURT That the Commonwealth Government conduct a review of the possibilities of formulation of 'a constitutional amendment to be placed before the Australian people in a referendum which explicitly states the role of the High Court as being to declare the law as expressed by the

Parliament which enacted it, the Constitution as intended by the founders of federation, and the common law in accordance with the doctrine of precedent and, if following such review, it is not satisfied that such an amendment can be effectively formulated in such a way that its intention would be respected by the High Court, the size of the High Court be expanded to enable the appointment of judges who respect community values, who will not arrogate themselves to the position of legislators, and who do not regard Australian history as one of • "unutterable shame".

(National Party of Australia - Queensland) CARRIED/AMENDED/LOST

(iii) Anti-discrimination Requirement

-21. ANTI-DISCRIMINATION •That this Council: .(a) reaffirm its conviction unanimously adopted at the 1993 Federal Council meeting, that (i) affirm its belief that the unique constitutional achievement of Australia is the

establishment of one nation on one continent in the words of Sir Harry Gibbs: "When, in the last decade of the 19 century, representatives of the Australian colonies.., met for the purpose of considering a scheme for a Federal Constitution, they were actuated by what appeared to them to be practical needs and inspired by an ideal. The principal needs

which they saw were to provide a common framework for defence and to establish what would now be called a common market for the purposes of trade. The ideal was that the Australian continent should be occupied by only one nation. " -(ii) record its conviction that any departure from this ideal is unacceptable; (iii) reaffirm its belief that in a single nation, there can be no room for different classes of citizenship, with different rights attaching to individuals according to race or other characteristics for which they are not personally responsible; (b) determines that the National Party of Australia will place before the forthcoming

Constitutional convention a proposal that the Commonwealth Constitution be amended by:

C'.

(i)

deleting from Section 51 the power of the Parliament to make special laws for the people of any race; and (ii) replacing it with a prohibition upon the Parliament enacting any law which discriminates between Australians on the grounds of race, such prohibition to apply to any existing law

which so discriminates. (National Party ofAustralia - Queensland) CARRIED/AMENDED/LOST

(iv) Initiation of Referenda

22. REFERENDUM FOR CONSTITUTIONAL REFORM That this Council support amendment to the Constitution enabling a majority of States to have equal power with the Commonwealth in relation to initiating a referendum for

Constitutional reform. (National Party ofAustralia -Western Australia) CARRIED/AMENDED/LOST

23 REFERENDA FOR CONSTITUTIONAL CHANGE: That the Federal Council of the National Party of Australia demand that any changes to the Constitution should only take place through a series of referenda with no specific time frame after thorough examination of the issues concerned and a detailed analysis of the

consequences of the proposed changes. (Young National Party ofAustralia)

CARRIED/AMENDED/LOST

(v) External Affairs Power

24. EXTERNAL AFFAIRS POWER That this Council commit the National Party to uphold the principle that the distribution of governmental powers as set out in the Australian Constitution should be altered only in the manner prescribed in the Constitution itself, i.e. by vote of the Australian people in a referendum, and accordingly to place before the forthcoming Constitutional Convention a proposal for amendment of the external affairs power such that entry into an international treaty will not confer any additional power to enact laws upon the Commonwealth

Parliament. (National Party of Australia - Queensland) CARRIED/AMENDED/LOST

(vi) Gender Neutrality

25. CONSTITUTIONAL CHANGES That the Constitution be changed so that references to Members and Senators throughout it be made gender neutral. (National Party ofAustralia - Women's Federal Council)

CARRIED/AMENDED/LOST OST

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(vii) Codification of Constitutional Conventions

26. CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTIONS That a list of Australia's Constitutional Conventions be drawn up and analysed so that their value to the government of the country can be demonstrated and if it is considered that these

Conventions are considered of value to the country that they become enshrined in the Australian Constitution. (National Party of Australia - Women's Federal Council) CARRIED/AMENDED/LOST

(viii) Northern Territory Statehood

27. NORTHERN TERRITORY STATEHOOD That this Council reaffirm National Party policy that statehood be granted to the Northern Territory, and support any submission to that effect before the forthcoming Constitutional Convention.

(Northern Territory Country Liberal Party) CARRIED/AMENDED/LOST

(ix) Injurious Affectation of Property

28. EXPROPRIATION OF PROPERTY That this Council support an amendment to the Commonwealth Constitution to ensure that the Commonwealth must pay compensation on just terms to any property owner whose property rights are adversely affected by Commonwealth action in the same manner that it is presently required to pay such compensation to property owners whose property is acquired by the Commonwealth.

(National Party of Australia - Queensland) CARRIED/AMENDED/LOST

E: THE WIK DECISION Response to the High Court decision in The Wik Peoples v. State of Queensland Please note: Debate is to commence immediately after lunch adjournment, with matters in previous list remaining in abeyance until conclusion of debate on this issue.

29. WIK

That the National Party of Australia Federal Council ratifies the Federal President's announcement of February 7"', demanding security and certainty of title for all landholders and land users as the minimum outcome from the debate on native title" (National Party of Australia -Western Australia)

CARRIED/AMENDED/LOST

30.

NATIVE TITLE

That this Council

recognising that one of the primary responsibilities of governments is to provide a secure framework of property rights noting that the effects of the decision of the High Court in The Wik Peoples v. State of Queensland include:

(a) deprivation of owners of pastoral leases of rights of exclusive occupancy and property management confirmed by Court decisions, legislation and Departmental practice over many decades; (b) the reversal of the understanding that pastoral leases extinguish native title, which was a

fundamental assumption upon which the Native Title Act 1993 was based, as its preamble and assurances to the Parliament by the then Prime Minister and Attorney-General confirm; (c) extension of an unworkable regime in relation to the grant of rights to mine and

infrastructure development to a further 40% at least of the continent; and (d) additional economic uncertainty and distress caused to persons engaged in industries which are both vital to Australia's future and already experiencing extreme hardship declare that these results are intolerable and wholly unacceptable to the National Party;

accept that the National Party, as the Party whose special expertise has been the representation of Australians who live outside the larger cities, has a particular responsibility to contribute to the resolution of the problems created by that decision;

adopt as policy the following principles to be applied in resolution of the problems created by the decision:

(i) The assurances given in 1993 by the then Prime Minister and Attorney-General to the Parliament, and contained in the preamble to the Native Title Act, in relation to the effect of the grant of a pastoral lease on any previously existing native title should be given statutory effect; (ii) The rights accorded to holders of pastoral tenures by court decisions and statute as

understood before the Wik decision should be confirmed by statute; (iii) Owners of pastoral tenures should have the right to convert that tenure to freehold without additional cost; (iv) Where, but for the implementation of paragraph (i), native title would exist, the exercise

of the right to convert to freehold should be conditional upon the grant of an easement in favour of the person or persons who would hold native title to continue to exercise such rights of access as have been exercised in relation to that land on a continuing basis up to the time of conversion; (v) Vacant Crown land over which native title exists should be transferred as freehold to the

native title holders for no cost; (vi) Existing tenures held by indigenous Australians from the Crown should be converted to freehold for no cost;

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(vii)

The right to negotiate in relation to proposed mining activity and compulsory acquisition should be enjoyed only by persons who have established that they are native title holders and should be identical to the rights enjoyed by the owners of a freehold estate in the land to which the title exists; (viii) Native title claims should be adjudicated in the ordinary Courts rather than a special

tribunal, be subject to the same laws of evidence as apply to all other litigants, be lodged prior to a specified date to be fixed as some reasonable time in the future (say 31 December 1999) and, if any government provides legal aid to any of the non-government parties, it must provide legal aid on the same basis to all of them;

and direct the President to bring the terms- of this resolution to the attention of the Prime Minister. (National Party ofAustralia - Queensland) CARRIED/AMENDED/LOST

31. WIK DECISION: That the National Party Federal Council urge the Federal Government to legislate against the current Wik decision brought down by the High Court with regard to its effect on Pastoral and Mining leases.

(Tasmanian National Party)

CARRIED/AMENDED/LOST

32. ABORIGINAL LAND RIGHTS The National Party of Australia believes that the uncertainties surrounding leasehold land title created by the High Court's decision in the Wik case need to be resolved by legislation. The rights and obligations of all title holders need to be clear, providing certainty of title for

leaseholders.

Leaseholders affected by Native Title Claims must have the right to be heard at hearings of such claims. The question of individual ownership under Native Title should be closely considered. To the extent that Native Title on leasehold land exists, it should be confirmed by legislation so that access to land is provided for the conduct of ceremonies or exercise of

traditional rights, on reasonable notice to leaseholders. (National Party ofAustralia - New South Wales) CARRIED/AMENDED/LOST

F: OTHER MOTIONS

(i) Motions recommended not to be discussed as not related to purposes for which special Federal Council meeting convened.

33. TAX REFORM: That this Council urges the National/Liberal Federal Government to look at reforming tax by reducing current taxes - both direct and indirect - by way of introducing a "spending tax". (Tasmanian National Party)

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CARRIED/AMENDEDILOST

34. TAX REFORM FOR TASMANIA That this Council urge the Federal Government to consider that Tasmania be a duty free State for inbound Tourism with stays in excess of 48 hours. (Tasmanian National Par ty)

CARRIED/AMENDED/LOST

• 35. VIDEO AND TV VIOLENCE That this Council recognizes the action taken by the State and Federal Governments to control firearms as a first step in the prevention of tragic Port Arthur type situations and calls on the Federal and State Parliaments to take the next step and initiate an urgent review of

violent videos and television shows and similar material which in some circumstances may act to influence and motivate some people to commit violent crime. (National Party of Australia - Victoria) CARRIED/AMENDED/LOST

(ii) Motions Referred to in Agenda Committee Report

36. BALANCED AND COOPERATIVE FEDERATION IN AUSTRALIA That this Council recognises the Constitutional issue of whether or not to become a republic is of significantly less importance than the creation of a balanced and genuinely cooperative federation in Australia.

(National Party of Australia - Western Australia) CARRIED/AMENDED/LOST

37. DEFER REPUBLIC DEBATE That this National Party Federal Council defer debate on the Republic issue until after the Federal Council of the National Party has debated and deliberated on other matters of importance to the National Party.

(National Party of Australia -Western Australia) RRIEDIAMENDEDILOST

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)National Party of Australia

^ PRESS RELEASE

NATIONAL PARTY CALLS FOR END TO WIK

UNCERTAINTY

Federal President of the National Party Don McDonald and Federal Leader Tim Fischer, were given unanimous support in calling for the end to uncertainty that has eventuated since the Wik decision was handed down by the High Court on December 23 1996.

Mr. McDonald presented a set of maps of Australia depicting land mass in Australia before the 1993 Mabo decision, land mass under claim since the 1993 Mabo decision and land mass that will be under claim because of the Wik decision. Mr. McDonald showed the Council that land under claim since Mabo has trebled.

The Hon. Ian Armstrong, National Party Parliamentary Leader in New South Wales said the fact that there was not real definition for Native Title has caused incredible confusion and concern amongst those having claims made against them.

Don McDonald has called on the High Court to define exactly what Native Title means.

Speakers in support of the resolutions, which were unanimously carried, included Premier of Queensland, Rob Borbidge who pointed out that land under claim in Queensland is nearing 85 percent. In New South Wales, Ian Armstrong, said that at the moment 49 percent of land is

under claim. In Victoria, the Hon. Bill Baxter spoke of the Yorta Yorta claim which is affecting the rights of producers to irrigate their land.

Mr. Toby Smith, delegate to Council from New South Wales told Council he has a Native Title claim on water running through his freehold property at Tabulum, New South Wales. Mr. Smith says that to fight this claim he must first apply to the Native Title Tribunal who will then judge whether he has the right to be a joined party.

Bob Katter, National Party member for Kennedy in Queensland told Council that it had cost Queensland $900 million in lost investment with the cancellation of CRA and the Weipa Expansion programme as a direct result of Native Title.

Mr Katter said that the blame for this uncertainty should not be laid on the Aboriginal community, but on those who handed down the decision. Aborigines have been told they could make claims on land and this is what they have done, in disregard of existing pastoral leases.

Queensland National Party president, David Russell said the tragedy of the Wik decision was that it had pitted the two most impoverished sections of the Australian community against each other - being the Aboriginal community and the rural and regional community. This is a travesty of justice.

ENDS: 1 March, 1997

JOIN Xc&WZN HOUSE N tional Circuit, BARTON ACT 2600 Telephone: 06/2733822

PO Box E265 Facsimile: 06/2731745

KINGSTON ACT 2604 Email: npafediozemail.com.au

National Party of Australia

PRESS RELEASE

NATIONAL PARTY FEDERAL COUNCIL

REAFFIRMS ITS SUPPORT FOR THE AUSTRALIAN CONSTITUTION

The National Party of Australia today reaffirmed its solid support for the existing Australian Constitution.

Speaking in Sydney today, Federal President of the National Party Don McDonald said it was clear by the debate at Federal Council that the National Party would campaign hard in support of the existing Australian Constitution which had served Australia

through good and hard times.

In malting their decision, the National Party's Federal Council heard and questioned Mr. Malcolm Turnbull, Chairman of the Australian Republican Movement, Mrs. Kerry Jones, Executive Director of Australians for a Constitutional Monarchy and Mr. Lloyd

Waddy, Convenor of Australians for a Constitutional Monarchy.

The Council decided that:- in noting that Australia, as one of the world's oldest continuing democracies has in general been well served by its existing constitutional arrangements that it:

(a) place on record its profound gratitude for the distinguished service rendered to Australia by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and her governors-general and their predecessors; (b) affirm its belief that in the absence of convincing arguments establishing the need

for fundamental changes in the arrangements concerning Australia's Head of State, the national interest would not be well served by making any changes to those arrangements; (c) as no such arguments have been established, reaffirm the National Party's support

for Australia's constitutional monarchy; (e) That the National Party of Australia restates its belief that Australia should remain a member of the Commonwealth of Nations headed by the Queen.

It was also decided that the National Party further consider this matter at Federal Council in Canberra in September.

ends: l March 1997 Contact: Don McDonald, 077/425906 Cecile Ferguson 0412/141720

JOHN McEWEN HOUSE Nationsl Circuit, BARTON ACT 2600 Telephone: 06/2733822

PO Box E265 Facsimile: 06/2731745

KINGSTON ACT 2604 Email: npafed zemail.com.au