CIR Bill

The following is the text of the CIR Bill we are working to submit to Parliament

The old Australian Constitution. What will the new one look like?
The old Australian Constitution. What will the new one look like?

A Bill for an Act for a referendum to amend Section 128 of the Constitution to enable citizens of Australia to initiate referendums to amend the Constitution, and for related purposesThe Parliament of Australia enacts:

Part 1— Preliminary

1 Short Title                   

This Act may be cited as the Section 128 Constitutional Amendment Act 201x

2  Commencement

This Act commences on the day this Act receives the Royal Assent.

3  Guide to this Act

This Act is for a referendum to amend Section 128 of the Constitution to allow Citizens to initiate referendums to amend the Constitution.The referendum question seeks to replace Section 128 with a new Section 128.The draft new Section 128 is attached as Schedule1.

The following paragraphs set out the process that must be followed, and the requirements that must be met, in order for a Citizen to initiate the holding of a referendum to amend the Constitution.The process involves the following steps:

  • A person who is an elector may propose an amendment to the Constitution.
  • The proposal must be forwarded to the Electoral Commission in an approved form accompanied by the signatures of 500 electors collected either electronically or in writing.
  • The Electoral Commission must undertake random sampling to verify the signatures and if all is in order, the Electoral Commission must forward the proposal to Parliamentary Counsel;
  • Parliamentary Counsel must, in consultation with the Attorney-General’s Department and the principle proposer, draft a referendum question(s) such that no alterations will be necessary, if the referendum is passed, before the proposal is incorporated into the Constitution. Parliamentary Counsel must then return the proposal to the Electoral Commission.
  • The Electoral Commission must then open a petition by publishing the proposal on an approved form calling for citizens to sign the petition in support of the proposal. Signatures may be collected electronically or in writing and must include name, address and signature enabling the Electoral Commission to verify that such a person is on the electoral roll.
  • In publishing the proposal and receiving signed petitions, the Electoral Commission is to strive for efficiency by using modern technology.
  • Upon receipt of the signatures of 1% of the voting population as at the last election in support of the proposal the Electoral Commission must verify the signatures by random sampling.
  • If all is in order the Electoral Commissioner is to forward the proposal to the Governor General.
  • The Governor General must within six months submit the proposal to the electors in each State and Territory qualified to vote for the election of the House of Representatives.

4  Object of this Act

The object of this Act is to enable Australian citizens to initiate referendums to amend the Constitution.

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This is the text we propose after the above Bill is passed by Parliament and the Will of the People

Schedule 1 to Section 128 Constitution Amendment Referendum Bill 2014Amended SECTION 128 OF THE CONSTITUTION

Chapter VIII

ALTERATION of the CONSTITUTION

Note: The parts that follow in bold are the changes. The remainder represents no change to our 1901 Constitution.

  1. 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. Such a proposal must be submitted to the Electoral Commission in an approved form accompanied by the signatures of 500 voters. Following verification by sample of the legitimacy of the signatures the Electoral Commission shall forward the proposal to Parliamentary Counsel who shall draft the proposal into an amendment to this Constitution in consultation with the Attorney-General’s Department and the principle proposer. The Electoral Commission shall then publish the proposal and open the collection of supporting signatures. Upon receipt of the signatures of 1% (as at the last election) of voters entitled to vote for the election of the House of Representatives submitted electronically or in writing and verified by sample the Electoral Commissioner shall forward the proposal to the Governor General. On receipt of such a proposal the Governor General shall within six months submit the proposal to the electors in each State and Territory qualified to vote for the election of the House of Representatives.

By the Parliament.

A proposed law by the Parliament for the alteration of this Constitution 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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