Much has been said of the difficulties in repealing the carbon tax legislation – with the Government introducing many poison pills to thwart the intentions of future Parliaments and future generations. Partly this hinges on the creation of property rights which would be extremely expensive to repurchase (under the ‘just terms’ provision of section 51(xxxi) of the Constitution).
Both Labor and the Greens have declared that they will actively subvert the will of the people should an Abbott Government be elected with an express promise to repeal the legislation. This would, we’re told, require a double dissolution and potentially a joint sitting of Parliament.
But there is a simpler way – a Referendum.
Under section 128, the Governor-General (on the advice of the Prime Minister) may submit a referendum to the People without the concurrence of (say) the Senate if it has rejected twice (with a gap of three months) the Referendum legislation.
Hence, the Opposition could make the following promise:
- that, if elected, it would bring to the House of Representatives a Bill for a Referendum to make unconstitutional the carbon tax legislation with no compensation
- that if the Senate rejects the Bill, Tony Abbott would then (as Prime Minister) advise the Governor-General to submit the Referendum to the People.