How Richard Colbeck voted compared to someone who believes that local government should be recognised in the Australian Constitution

Division Richard Colbeck Supporters vote Division outcome

24th Jun 2013, 8:19 PM – Senate Constitution Alteration (Local Government) 2013 - Third Reading - Pass the bill

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The majority supported passing the bill in the Senate (in parliamentary jargon, they supported reading the bill for a third time). Since it has already passed in the House of Representatives, the bill will now become law.

The main idea of the bill is to recognise local governments in the Australian Constitution but it can't do this on its own. To amend the Constitution, there must be a successful referendum (as required by Section 128).

Rebellious Coalition senators

Coalition senators were split on this question. Seven Liberal senators and three National Party senators voted 'yes' while six Liberal senators and 1 National Party senator voted 'no'.

Liberal and National Party members are allowed to rebel (unlike Labor Party members), but it is increasingly uncommon.

What does recognising local governments mean?

Recognising local governments in the Constitution would mean that the federal government could directly fund local governments instead of having to fund them through state governments.

For an academic discussion of the effects of recognition, see Professor Anne Twomey's report (906 KB).

Background to the bill

This is the third time that the federal government has tried to change the Constitution to recognise local governments. The first time was in 1974 and the second time was in 1988.

See the bills digest (775 KB) for more background information.

absent Yes (strong) Passed by a large majority

24th Jun 2013, 8:11 PM – Senate Constitution Alteration (Local Government) 2013 - Second Reading - Agree with the bill's main idea

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The majority support the bill's main idea (in parliamentary jargon, they want to read it for a second time).

The main idea of the bill is to recognise local governments in the Australian Constitution but it can't do this on its own. To amend the Constitution, there must be a successful referendum (as required by Section 128).

Rebellious Coalition senators

Coalition senators were split on this question. Seven Liberal senators and three National Party senators voted 'yes' while six Liberal senators and 1 National Party senator voted 'no'.

Liberal and National Party members are allowed to rebel (unlike Labor Party members), but it is increasingly uncommon.

What does recognising local governments mean?

Recognising local governments in the Constitution would mean that the federal government could directly fund local governments instead of having to fund them through state governments.

For an academic discussion of the effects of recognition, see Professor Anne Twomey's report (906 KB).

Background to the bill

This is the third time that the federal government has tried to change the Constitution to recognise local governments. The first time was in 1974 and the second time was in 1988.

See the bills digest (775 KB) for more background information.

absent Yes (strong) Passed by a large majority

7th Sep 2006, 9:56 AM – Senate Motions - Local Government in Australia - Referendum

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The majority voted against an amendment introduced by Labor Senator Kim Carr.

It would have amended a motion introduced by Liberal Senator Chris Ellison by replacing the words:

(a) [That the Senate] recognises that local government is part of the governance of Australia, serving communities through locally-elected councils;

with the words:

(a) [That the Senate] supports a referendum to extend constitutional recognition to local government in recognition of the essential role it plays in the governance of Australia;

Background

There are three tiers of government in Australia: federal, state and local. Currently, the Australian Constitution does not mention local governments. In 1988, a referendum was held to amend the Constitution so that it recognises local governments but it was unsuccessful.

absent Yes Not passed by a small majority

How "never voted" is worked out

Normally a person's votes count towards a score which is used to work out a simple phrase to summarise their position on a policy. However in this case Richard Colbeck was absent during all divisions for this policy. So, it's impossible to say anything concrete other than that they have "never voted" on this policy.