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Section 128 - Proposed amendment

 

Involving the people directly to change the constitution is a must if Australians want to overcome the deplorable constitutional stagnation that has now endured since Federation in 1901. Only eight of the 44 proposals for change have been approved largely as a result of the highly inflexible and, in practice, undemocratic amendment procedure. Many other proposals have been contemplated but were never put because, given the two party domination, unless the major parties agree proposals have no chance of being approved "by a majority in a majority of states", as constitutionally required. ALL proposals have to be initiated by the (federal) politicians and this is in itself a reason why so many proposals have been knocked back by the citizens. This proposal has been developed by the Foundation of National Renewal in Queensland and is fully supported by Republic Now!

Chapter VIII

ALTERATION of the CONSTITUTION

128. This Constitution shall not be altered except in the following manner:

By the People.

Any elector or group of electors eligible to vote for the election of the House of Representatives may initiate a proposal to change this Constitution by submitting a Petition to the Governor General. The Petition shall include the proposed alteration of this Constitution. On receipt of such a Petition signed by not less than one per cent of the electors qualified to vote for the election of the House of Representatives, and verified by the Electoral Commissioner, the Governor-General shall within three months submit the proposal to referendum.

Note: These bits in bold are the changes we seek. The remainder is as it currently appears in our 1901 Constitution.

By the Parliament.

A proposed law by the Parliament for the alteration thereof must be passed by an absolute majority of each House of the Parliament, and not less than two nor more than six months after its passage through both Houses the proposed law shall be submitted in each State and Territory to the electors qualified to vote for the election of members of the House of Representatives.

But if either House passes any such proposed law by an absolute majority, and the other House rejects or fails to pass it, or passes it with any amendment to which the first-mentioned House will not agree, and if after an interval of three months the first-mentioned House in the same or the next session again passes the proposed law by an absolute majority with or without any amendment which has been made or agreed to by the other House, and such other House rejects or fails to pass it or passes it with any amendment to which the first-mentioned House will not agree, the Governor-General may submit the proposed law as last proposed by the first-mentioned House, and either with or without any amendments subsequently agreed to by both Houses, to the electors in each State and Territory qualified to vote for the election of the House of Representatives.

When a proposed law is submitted to the electors the vote shall be taken in such manner as the Parliament prescribes. But until the qualification of electors of members of the House of Representatives becomes uniform throughout the Commonwealth, only one-half the electors voting for and against the proposed law shall be counted in any State in which adult suffrage prevails.

And if in a majority of the States a majority of the electors voting approve the proposed law, and if a majority of all the electors voting also approve the proposed law, it shall be presented to the Governor-General for the Queen's assent.

No alteration diminishing the proportionate representation of any State in either House of the Parliament, or the minimum number of representatives of a State in the House of Representatives, or increasing, diminishing, or otherwise altering the limits of the State, or in any manner affecting the provisions of the Constitution in relation thereto, shall become law unless the majority of the electors voting in that State approve the proposed law.

In this section, “Territory “means any territory referred to in section one hundred and twenty-two of this Constitution in respect of which there is in force a law allowing its representation in the House of Representatives.

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 ADD YOUR VOICE

(Petition form)

We ask the House to submit to the electors a referendum to change Section 128 of the Australian Constitution to allow Electors as well as the House the power to initiate referenda to change the Constitution.

The amendment we seek could be worded as follows:

Any elector or group of electors eligible to vote for the election of the House of Representatives may initiate a proposal to change this Constitution by submitting a Petition to the Governor General. The Petition shall include the proposed alteration of this Constitution. On receipt of such a Petition signed by not less than one per cent of the electors qualified to vote for the election of the House of Representatives, the Governor-General shall within three months submit the proposal to referendum.

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