Final advice as summit prepares to vote


By Angela Dorizas in Melbourne

After receiving final advice from federal politicians, political analysts and constitutional law experts, the Local Government Constitutional Summit has moved into the final stages of developing a model for constitutional reform.

The Attorney-General Robert McClelland today delivered the final words of advice to the summit, stressing the importance of bipartisan support.

"I think the first thing that local government has to do is to reassure themselves that local govenrment as an entity is behind constitutional change and then to work on lobbying their federal representatives," Mr McClelland told Government News.

"Ultimately, the question must be simple, it must be straight forward. They have to engage the Australian community and convince the Australian community why the change is necessary."

Mr McClelland was confident that local government would reach a decision on the best way to move forward in its pursuit of constitutional reform.

"It’s certainly achievable. [It’s] a lot of work, but it is achievable," he said.

Mr McClelland did not share the same doubts of Local Government Minister Anthony Albanese, who disbelieved the Coalition’s assurances to not use constitutional reform as a political football.

"I certainly have no reason to disbelieve it and that is significant. If the opposition indicates that they would support a proposal for constitutional change, and obviously that would be subject to seeing the wording and terms of it were, then that is very important," Mr McClelland said.

"It is the essential precondition to a successful referendum, so if that box is ticked off then there are some prospects for a successful referendum."

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