Archive for the 'Statehood' Category

21
Nov
10

Statehood and a letter to the editor

The Centralian Advocate printed this letter to the editor:

If the Australian constitution is to acknowledge Aboriginal people as the first Australians then this will likely be a symbolic gesture.  Symbols and acknowledgements can be important; it can lift peoples’ hopes.  Going beyond symbolism will be very difficult because changing the Australian constitution requires broad bi-partisan support from across political parties.  This support exists now, and only to the point of acknowledging the ‘first Australians’, but there is still a long way to go.
Putting the Australian constitution aside, what is more important to us is Statehood because we have the opportunity to design a completely new constitution.  We start with a blank canvass.  A planned convention in late 2011 intends to involve delegates from across the Territory to do exactly this.
What a number of us on Town Council have said, and what we are calling for others to support, is for the new constitution to actively protect and empower regions.  We want a debate at the convention about how infrastructure funds should be spread across the regions, and how people at a regional level can have more of a say as to how they are spent.  The ‘royalties for regions’ program in Western Australia has proved significant for their regions, and we want a similar program built into the new constitution so that it can’t be changed by politicians.  This would benefit Alice Springs, but also those around us. 
One main reason (there are many) is that under our current governance structure the increasing population of Darwin, Palmerston and the new city of Weddell will see a substantive increase in political power.  Regional seats will be swallowed up by the growing capital centre.  To put this in perspective, recently a Minister of the Northern Territory said that 73,000 additional people are expected to live in Darwin and Palmerston by 2025.  Imagine what this will do for the political power of Alice Springs (and the regions)?
It is clear that the local Alice Springs community will be divided about whether to change the Australian constitution, but focusing on our once-only opportunity to design a new constitution as part of Statehood should not be an opportunity wasted.  I urge all to get involved, to be part of the debate and stand up for the rights of our town and our regions

Advertisements
13
Apr
10

Statehood and regionalisation

An issue I feel passionate about is Statehood and the possibility of designing a modern constitution for a new State.  Constitutional law was an interest during law school.  The potential we have during this important time in history is, in my view, often overlooked, and to our detriment.  With such a complex issue many Territorians are asking questions.  In one sense there is simply too much information – many questions cannot be answered because we aren’t in a point of time in our history to provide an answer.  What can follow is uncertainty masked as confusion.  Whilst this happens there is the chance for leadership and for those showing leadership to coalesce around some core principles that define us.  

Dave Richards from Alice Online kindly posted this piece about Statehood and regionalisation – a speech I recently delivered to the LGANT general meeting.  The Alice Springs News printed a modified version.  The NT News (online copy unavailable) printed a modified version over two pages in the most recent Saturday edition.

This direction builds on a previous motion passed by Council, posted here.  There are many constitutional models for devolving infrastructure decisions closer to the regions, to the bottom-up, and many constitutional models for the distribution of infrastructure resources equitably across the regions – our call is to enshrine these principles in the new constitution and discuss various models in the convention that will decide a new constitution.  More to come on this topic.




October 2017
M T W T F S S
« Mar    
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
3031  

Twitter Updates

Flickr Photos

Blog Stats

  • 8,017 hits