Liberal Member of the Legislative Council Rob Lucas claimed today Mr Rann received legal advice that public statements he had made about a referendum on his promise to abolish the Legislative Council were wrong.
Since November 2005, Mr Rann has been promising to conduct a ‘pick-a-box’ type referendum on the future of the Legislative Council at the next election in 2010.
For example, on 24 November 2005 in the Advertiser, Mr Rann promised to hold a referendum to abolish the Legislative Council. He also added:
“I will also be putting an alternative option into the referendum, that if the people do not agree to substantial reform of the Upper House which includes: reducing its term from eight years to four; reducing the number of Members from 22 to 16; and reducing its ability to indefinitely delay legislation that has passed the Lower House……The third and final option in the referendum would be no change at all.”
Mr Lucas said, however, that Government sources have now confirmed that Mr Rann has received legal advice that Section 10A of the Constitution Act prevents Mr Rann from conducting his ‘pick-a-box’ referendum at the next election.
“Section 10A of the Constitution Act makes it clear that for a referendum to be conducted, a Bill must pass both Houses of Parliament. The referendum of electors then either approves or disapproves of the specific changes outlined in the Bill.
“It is clear therefore that it is not possible to have a ‘pick-a-box’ type referendum as promised by Mr Rann.
“This is a major embarrassment for Mr Rann given the many statements and promises he has made over the last two years.
“It is hard to believe that someone like Mr Rann could have made such a basic blunder.
“Ultimately, Mr Rann is either guilty of ignorance or incompetence, or perhaps both.”