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An Independent Queensland Regional & Rural 

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(Cairns... Far North Queensland)


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I appreciate your interest in the issues that effect not only Queenslanders, but all Australians.

Please let me hear from you about your views on the issues that matter to your Family, your Community and your State.


Selwyn Johnston



One person, with the support of the community, can make a difference





The Gillard/Swan Government has engineered a massive 'scam' with the intent to include a ‘Referendum’ at the 14 September 2013 Federal election in an effort to change the Australian Constitution to include Local Governments.  

A ‘Referendum’ proposal for 2013 is already on the table dealing with ‘aboriginal affairs’ but polling would indicate that it will not succeed. The envisaged Local Government Referendum is seen by politicians as an easy and convenient substitute.  

By creating widespread public outrage, firstly by reducing taxpayer funding of $103 million from Queensland Health (including $6.5 million from the Cairns Base Hospital), then procrastinating in returning full funding as done for Victoria Health by direct funding to the Hospital Board. The game is obviously to take advantage of public concern and foist support for a more urgent referendum proposal that would raise substantial and additional taxes from ratepayers.  

This particular question was asked at Referendum on 3 September 1988, and was soundly defeated by 66.39% (NO) to 33.61% (YES).  

To put this issue into context, the Australian Constitution recognises only two (2) levels of Government - Federal and State - with local 'Councils' formed as Local Authorities, with delegated powers from the State.  

Local Authorities provides around 150 services to its community, using only 3% of taxation revenue raised through fees and charges and the only local government tax... property rates.  

Of the estimated 250 taxes in Australia, Local Authorities have only one tax, the rates levied on property. This accounts for only 3% of Australia’s total taxation revenue. The States raise 15% and the Commonwealth Government raises 82% of taxation revenue. Funding from the Commonwealth accounts for around 7% of local government revenue but this funding is vital to providing local services.  

The 2009 High Court case of Pape v Commissioner of Taxation has found that the Commonwealth does not have power to directly fund areas such as local Authorities. It can only spend money where it has a specific power under the Constitution.  

Section 96 of the Constitution allows the Federal Government to fund state governments and the ‘engineered proposal’ would be to amend Section 96 to read:-  

“Parliament may grant financial assistance to any state or local government body formed by or under a law of a state or territory..  . 

This proposed Constitutional ‘amendment’ has far reaching ramifications without limitation on the already ‘bleeding’ pockets of Australian ratepayers.  

It must be noted that Australian Federal and State Governments have never had any 'money'! Federal and State governments are only 'trustees' for taxpayer funds! The same applies to Local Authorities!  

Our State and Federal politicians are presently engaged in a bitter war over who gets what out of the GST revenue. You will, no doubt, remember that GST was intended to be used by the States to take the place of a raft of State taxes… including stamp duties?  Well, all those aspirations are well and truly over and, now GST money is the major part of the Federal Government Revenues which are used for anything but its originally intended purpose.  

Right now it is State health & education funding on the line, and clearly the Federal Government will want to keep this funding and look for another revenue source. Hence the proposed funding directly to hospital boards together with the associated attempt to put Local Governments in a position to be another source of new taxes revenue.  

The real problem facing Australians is that it now appears there is bipartisan support from a majority of politicians in all political parties to again include Local 'Governments' into the Constitution, which will inevitability create additional 'taxes' being raised at a local level, in addition to existing Federal and State.  

Should Gillard/Swan achieve their 'centralised' goal… who pays? YES, you, the already over burdened taxpayer/ratepayer. To what extent is the question? The basic fact is that it would be introducing a third level of taxation and that we can all do without.  

Should a Referendum eventuate on 14 September 2013 with the goal to recognise an additional tax raising Local Government... say NO!  

There is of course another and more sinister perspective to this issue. It is a given that for total control you need ‘centralisation’ and that is what a referendum of this nature could be expected to do. It has always been the desire of the Federal Government to weaken the States to the point of a ceremonial role only leaving all the real power based in Canberra. Nothing could be more destructive for this Nation… and electors should keep this in mind.  

Not only would a ‘yes’ vote ensure the introduction of another level of taxation it would signify a substantial shift in the balance of power in Canberra's favour.  

SO... it’s your choice?




14 March 2013


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Written and Authorised by Selwyn Johnston, Cairns FNQ 4870