11th August 2007Deputy Prime Minister, Mark Vaile, has accused Premier Beattie of using tactics more like those of a communist state than those of a democratically elected Australian government, over the forced Queensland council mergers.
Unlike his Queensland Nationals counterparts, however, Mr Vaile has declined to encourage civil disobedience in the war of words over forced shire council mergers.
Speaking to the media during a visit to Brisbane on Friday, Mr Vaile said, “If the Commonwealth tried to do this (sort of thing) to the states, there would be outrage – there’d be marches in the streets.
“Our intervention in this (by providing federal funding for referendums) is all about the things that we believe in,” he said.
“We think that we live in a fair and democratic society – we do in the rest of Australia but I’m sorry to say the people of Queensland at the moment do not,” Mr Vaile said.
Mr Beattie on Thursday night, rushed through State Parliament, a late amendment to his council amalgamations legislation to give the Government the power to automatically sack any council that holds a referendum on the issue.
Earlier this week, Prime Minister John Howard offered to cover the cost of the Australian Electoral Commission running such plebiscites where councils requested a popular vote.
More than 60 councils expressed interest in the Federal Government running a referendum on the issue.
They are now reconsidering their options following Mr Beattie’s latest act of political force.
SOURCE: Queensland Country Life, weekly rural newspaper, posting breaking news on FarmOnline.