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Constitutional changes: "what's in it for Australia?"

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Saturday 1 March, 1997

8.30am- 5.00pm

Mr. Don McDonald, OBE Hon. Tim Fischer, MP Hon. John Anderson, MPNational Party Federal President National Party Federal Leader National Party Deputy Federal LeaderDeputy Prime Minister of Australia Minister for Primary IndustriesMinister for Trade and Energy

Coffee and Tea:


Available during Conference Served in the Hotel Restaurant at 12.3Gpm

Federal Council Delegates: Yellow tags

Observers: White tags

Staff: Green tags

Agenda Committee Report 1

Standing Orders and Rules of Debate 4

1996 Record of Decisions of Federal Council 6

Motions for Debate at Federal Council 1 March, 1997 7

A: Constitutional Monarchy 7

B: Civic Education on Constitutional Matters 10

C: Constitutional Convention 10

D: Miscellaneous Constitutional Issues 11

(i) Vertical Fiscal Imbalance 11

(ii) Role and Responsibilities of the High Court 11

(iii) Anti-Discrimination Requirement 12

(iv) Initiation of Referenda 13

(v) External Affairs Power 13

(vi) Gender Neutrality 14

(vii) Codification of Constitutional Convention 14

(viii) Northern Territory Statehood 14

(ix) Injurious Affection of Property 14

E: The Wik Decision 15

F: Other Motions 17

8.30am Council Opening

8.40am Address to Council by Federal President, Don McDonald, OBE 8.50am Address to Council by Federal Leader, the Hon. Tim Fischer, MP 9.00am Address by Mr. Malcolm Turnbull, Australian Republican Movement, 9.30am Questions to Mr. Turnbull

10.00am Joint Address by Mr. Lloyd Waddy and Mrs. Kerry Jones, Australians for a Constitutional Monarchy 10.30am Questions to Mr. Waddy and Mrs. Jones 11.00am Council debate on Constitutional Monarchy and Constitutional Issues 12.30pm Lunch

1.30pm Council debate on the Wik Decision 3.30pm Press Conference

4pm Council debate

5pm Close of Special Federal Council


COMMI'T'TEE MEMBERSHIP: The Agenda Committee for this meeting of Federal Council comprises: Don McDonald, OBE; Helen Dickie; Warren Truss, MP; David Russell, RFD, QC

COMMITTEE FUNCTIONS: Under the resolution which established the Agenda Committee, it is empowered: (a) to recommend: (i) the order of business to be submitted to Federal Council;

(ii) the phrasing of motions to be submitted to Federal Council; and (iii) the consolidation of motions similar in interest or intent; and (b) to recommend to the Federal Management Committee additional urgent motions for Federal Council.

The Committee has no formal power to omit any motion submitted for the Agenda. However in determining the order of motions for debate, the Committee has generally applied the following criteria: (a) the most important objective of Federal Council debate is to recommend to Conference the Policy of the Party. As a result, motions which raise issues of broad philosophical importance are to be preferred over

motions which are concerned with matters of purely local interest or narrow matters of government administration; (b) motions addressing issues not recently discussed at a Federal Council will generally be given preference over motions on topics which have been dealt with at a recent Federal Council; (c) motions should be selected to give the widest possible representation of the Party Units submitting same; (d) motions which proceed upon clearly incorrect assumptions as to law or government policy will be given

a lower priority than notices of motions not suffering these deficiencies; and (e) priority is given to motions which are submitted in proper Council format over those which require drafting alterations to place them in that format.

SUBMISSIONS OF NOTICES OF MOTION: All Party Units eligible to submit motions were invited to do so by notice from the Federal Secretariat given on 5 January, 1997 and 30 January, 1997, specifying the closing date of 14 February, 1997. 37 motions were submitted.

ORDER OF BUSINESS: As has been emphasised on previous occasions, the personal views of members of the Agenda Committee as to the desirability of a motion being carried play no part in the decisions of the Agenda Committee.

The Committee draws attention to the provisions of Standing Orders 2 and 25 which require the Agenda to be adopted by Federal Council at its commencement and provide mechanisms whereby notices of motion not selected for debate may be placed on the Agenda.

The Special Council meeting was called to consider policy responses to arguments for constitutional change in the context of the Coalition policy to establish a People's Convention to review proposals for constitutional changes. The motions submitted fell broadly into six categories (A through to F):

(A) Head of State (B) Civic Education (C) Constitutional Convention (D) Miscellaneous Constitutional Issues (E) The Wik Decision

(F) Other Motions (including two suggestions to the Agenda Committee which have not been adopted)

The draft agenda submitted with this report proposes the discussion of all but the last of these categories in

that order, subject to discussion of matters related to the Wik decision being commenced immediately after the lunch adjournment, with any matters not previously attended to being dealt with after conclusion of debate on that topic or, if time is insufficient, being deferred to the next ordinary meeting of Federal Council (which itself will precede the initial meeting of the People's Convention).

Given that this meeting of Council is convened as a result of a specific decision to discuss a particular topic, the Committee did not regard it as open to it to approve the discussion of other topics as suggested in the motions making suggestions to the Committee.

The only doubtful area was the Wik decision. This raises both constitutional and non-constitutional issues. The Agenda Committee is of the view that the importance of this decision and the difficulty of isolating constitutional issues from non-constitutional ones made it appropriate for that matter to be listed for discussion.

PHRASING OF MOTIONS: Some of the motions submitted were not in proper format. A motion or amendment should not be vague or ambiguous. A motion should be affirmative in form. A properly worded motion should:

(a) commence with the word `that'; (b) next specify the Party Unit before which the motion is to be placed, e.g.: `this Council'; (c) next specify the action proposed to be taken, e.g.: "urge the Government" (e.g.: abolish death and gift duties').

Unless there are special reasons for doing so, a motion should not contain argumentative matter such as the reasons which the mover thinks the motions should be adopted. Motions should reflect the constitutional position of Federal Council. It can determine the platform or policy of the Party, express a view on Federal Government action, or make decisions binding upon the Party organisation.

All references in motions to Acts of Parliament and Court decisions should be checked for accuracy.

The Committee in making any necessary drafting changes has attempted to preserve the intent of the respective Party Units proposing them. If this has not been achieved in a particular case, it would be appreciated if a representative of the Party Unit concerned could contact a member of the Agenda Committee prior to the motion being called on for debate, so that the intent of the notice of motion can be embodied in an appropriate form of words and displayed to Council delegates by overhead projection.

COGNATE DEBATES: Where motions deal with the same general topic in different ways, each motion submitted is listed on the Agenda with a separate heading. The motion first listed is that which appears to the Committee to mostly broadly deal with the topic. When it is called on for debate, the issues raised generally by all motions under that heading can be debated. At the end of that debate, the first motion will be voted upon and amended if thought appropriate by Council. After that vote, any issues raised by the other motion not resolved by that vote will be dealt with by those other motions being put separately to the vote.

URGENT MOTIONS AND AMENDMENTS: Standing Order 25 provides a mechanism whereby urgent notices of motion may be brought on for debate and any delegate may move an amendment to a motion pursuant to Standing Order 14.

However, the submission of urgent motions should not be regarded as a substitute for compliance with the time limits specified in the Constitution but to enable matters of great importance to be dealt with by Council. Bearing this in mind, and as it will be necessary to arrange for the text of such motions and amendments to be available to delegates by way of overhead projection at the time at which they are debated, it would be appreciated if all proposed urgent motions and amendments are lodged with either the Secretariat office or a


member of the Committee prior to their being proposed in the case of amendments or as specified above in

the case of urgent motions.

Members of the Agenda Committee are available to assist in the drafting of these upon request. It should be emphasised, however, that the essence of an urgent motion is that it is urgent. Standing Order 25 requires that Council must determine, by an affirmative vote of 75 % of delegates present, whether the motion is urgent before its merits can be considered.

STANDING ORDERS: The proposed Standing Orders for this meeting have been circulated. They are identical to those adopted in previous years with the exception that it is proposed that movers be given five (5) minutes to introduce a motion and all other speakers in the debate be given three (3) minutes. This compares with the times of three

(3) and two (2) minutes respectively. The increased time is considered appropriate given the complexity of the subject matter on this occasion.

MINUTES OF PREVIOUS MEETING: The record of decisions of the last meeting of Federal Council were circulated by the Federal Director in November 1996 and are included for reference in the agenda for the Special Federal Council of 1 March, 1997.

CONCLUSION: Any delegate who has any problems in relation to Council business should contact a member of the Agenda Committee, who will do all possible to assist.

The Committee wishes to record its appreciation of the efforts of the Party Units which have submitted notices of motion.

For and on behalf of the Committee David Russell Chairman.


1. That the credentials of delegates registered by the Federal Secretariat be accepted 2. That the Agenda as printed be adopted 3. That the Standing Orders and Rules of Debate for the purposes of this meeting of Federal Council as printed, be adopted 4. That this Council welcome the presence of business, industry and diplomatic observers, National Party

observers and partners of delegates to attend the sessions of this Council.

5. That this Council welcome the attendance of representatives of the media to report on all sessions of this Council, unless specific motions are carried calling on this Council to enter committee stages, or requiring the media not to report specific matters under discussion.


Definitions; "Members" referred to in these Standing Orders means those members of or delegates to Federal Council who are entitled to vote at meetings of Federal Council.

Order of Business 1. Debate shall proceed by way of membership speaking for or against motions put one at a time to the Chairman of the meeting.

2. Subject to any direction from the Chairman the Agenda as accepted by the meeting at its commencement shall be proceeded with in the order in which it is set out.

Speaking Generally 3. Each member shall have the right to speak:

(a) once on any motion before the chair; and (b) once on any amendment.

4. Any member desiring to speak shall signify his or her desire to do so in such manner as determined by the Chairman. He or she will announce his or her name and the capacity in which he or she attends the meeting and address the Chairman respectfully. 5. Whenever the Chairman rises during debate the member then speaking shall cease to do so. 6. No member shall use offensive or unbecoming words. 7. No speaker shall digress from the subject under discussion and imputations or improper motives

and all personal reflections on members shall be deemed disorderly. 8. No member shall interrupt another while speaking except on a point of order. 9. A member who formally seconds a motion or amendment without making a speech may speak in

support at a subsequent stage of debate. 10. A member who has moved a substantive motion shall be allowed 5 minutes to introduce the motion and at the conclusion of the discussion, even though his original motion has been

amended, a further 3 minutes for reply to wind up debate. There shall be no right of reply attached to the moving of an amendment. 11. Each other speaker to a motion may speak for 3 minutes.

Notices of Motion 12. The right to move a motion of which notice has been given shall in the first instance be that of the Party body which submitted it. If no representative of the Party body is present when the motion is called, the Chairman may in his discretion either permit some other member present to

move it or defer discussion of the motion until all other business has been dealt with.

13. Upon a substantive motion being called, the Chairman may ask the meeting whether there is any opposition to it. If there is none, the motion may in the discretion of the Chairman be put without debate. If there is opposition, the mover shall exercise his right of speech, a speaker against the motion will be called, thereupon the seconder of the motion will be called, or if he declines, some other speaker in favour of the motion will be called and debate will proceed until:

(a) there is no speaker wishing to speak in favour of the motion or against it when such a speaker is called for in order of debate; (b) debate on the question has proceeded for 15 minutes; (c) it is resolved that the question be put; or (d) it is resolved that the debate be adjourned.

14. An amendment may be put on an original motion. The Chairman shall put the amendment to the meeting first and, if carried, it shall be declared to embody the decision of the . meeting,


superseding the motion. When the amendment has been decided, a further amendment may be

moved, which, if carried, shall in turn, supersede the motion as amended.

15. The Chairman shall refuse to accept any amendment which is a direct negative or which does not preserve the substance of the original motion.

16. The mover of any motion other than a procedural motion or a motion appearing in the Agenda as adopted by the meeting and of any amendment shall provide a copy of the same in writing to the Chairman prior to rising to speak to the same.

17. A member may move that the debate of a motion be adjourned. If the question is resolved in the negative the mover shall not be allowed to speak again on the question under debate. If the motion is resolved in the affirmative, the debate shall cease and resume at the time specified in the motion and the mover shall have the right of resuming the debate. No member shall move the adjournment after speaking on the motion.

18. At any time during the debate, any member who has not spoken to the motion or any amendment thereto moved may, without notice, move that the question be put, and such motion, being duly seconded, shall be put without debate. If the motion that the question be put is carried in relation to a substantive motion the mover of the original motion may then reply and the question shall be put to vote; if it is carried in relation to an amendment the mover of the original motion, if he has not already spoken to the amendment, may speak to the amendment and the amendment shall then be put without debate, and if it is lost the debate shall proceed.

19. The meeting may, by resolution, grant an extension of time to any speaker, or for the discussion of any motion or amendment.

20. Upon a member raising a point of order, the member then speaking shall sit down until it has been decided. The member rising to order shall state concisely the point of order and the Chairman shall give his ruling. The Chairman may request any person present to make submissions on the point of order prior to giving his ruling.

21. It shall be competent for any member to move a motion of dissent from the Chairman's ruling. The mover of the motion of dissent shall have 3 minutes to state his point. The Chairman shall have 3 minutes to reply and the question will be put forthwith.

_Determination of Motion 22. The Chairman may at his discretion declare a motion carried or lost. Should the Chairman's declaration be disputed by more than 10 of the members present, or should the Chairman so require, a count of votes for and against the motion shall be taken provided that a request by

such members shall be made immediately after the Chairman shall have made his declaration.

23. In the event of a count of votes being required in accordance with Standing Order 22, the Chairman may appoint 2 or more tellers to count the votes for or against the motion then before the chair and report the result to the Chairman. Should 50% of the members then in attendance request a ballot, a secret ballot shall be taken. The Chairman may appoint 2 or more tellers to count the ballot papers and report the result to him.

Matters Not Covered b y Standing Orders 24. All matters not covered by these Standing- Orders shall be determined according to the practice of the House of Representatives.

Suspension of Standing Orders 25. A member may at any time move that these Standing Orders or any of them be suspended. The member proposing any such motion shall have 3 minutes to state the reasons why such motion should be considered, whereupon the motion for suspension shall be put forthwith..



1. Term of Federal President That this Council pass a Constitutional motion that no President of the National Party of Australia shall hold office for more than six consecutive years. CARRIED

2. Recognition of outstanding contribution to the Federal Organisation That this Council amend the Constitution by adding a new Clause 7 (m) to read: "from_ time to time, upon the recommendation of Federal Management Committee, make awards to eminent individuals to recognise their outstanding contribution to the National

Party of Australia and particularly to its Federal Organisation and its role in the affairs of Australia. CARRIED

3. Awards to eminent National Party individuals That this Council amend the Constitution by adding a new clause 23 (I) to read: "recommend to Federal Council the conferring on eminent individuals of awards of: - the Earle Page Medal

- a Distinguished Service Certificate - a Certificate of Appreciation on the basis of criteria it may determine. CARRIED

4. Meetings of Federal Council That the National Party holds future Federal Council Meetings and Federal Conferences on the second weekend in November, unless extraneous circumstances arise. WITHDRAWN (referred to Federal Management)

5. Policy Standing Committee That the Constitution of the National Party of Australia be altered by adding a new clause 59A to read: There shall be a Policy Standing Committee of Federal Council which shall coordinate and monitor the development of policy and philosophy, and make recommendations to Federal Council in relation to the same. The Policy Standing Committee shall comprise:

(a) A Chairman who shall be elected by Federal Council and who shall be, ex officio, a member of the Federal Management Committee; (b) the Federal Parliamentary Leader and his Deputy; (c) the Federal President and Senior Vice President; (d) the President of Women's Federal Council and the Federal President of the Young

National Party of Australia; and (e) such other members as are appointed by Federal Council. CARRIED



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 15` March 1997 in Sydney.


"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 State, 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. "


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


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)


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 Il.

(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 Co mmonwealth of Australia. (National Party of Australia - New South Wales) CARRIED/AMENDED/LOST/NOTED


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

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)


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)


S. 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)


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)





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)



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. COMPOSITION 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



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 support 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 STATE/FEDERAL SERVICES That this Federal Council support a new allocation of State and Commonwealth Constitutional responsibilities and the consequent elimination of duplicated services (National Party of Australia -Western Australia)


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)


(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: (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. (Young National Party of Australia) 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 of Australia -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 of Australia)


(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 of Australia - Women's Federal Council)


(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)


(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/AMENDEDILOST

(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



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`h , 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)


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;



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; (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 of Australia - Queensland)


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)


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 of Australia - New South Wales) CARRIED/AMENDED/LOST



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


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)


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 Party)


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)


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) CARRIED/AMENDED/LOST