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Sunday, December 23, 2012
'Tea Party' ideas grab attention. JULIA Gillard and Tony Abbott will be asked to allow voters to cancel "bad laws" such as the carbon tax
JULIA Gillard and Tony Abbott will be asked to allow voters to cancel "bad laws" such as the carbon tax in a series of demands to be put to them by Australia's rapidly growing "tea party".
The Sunday Telegraph revealed last week the emergence of political campaign group CANdo, which describes itself as the Australian version of the famous right-wing US political movement.
CANdo chairman Professor David Flint said the group had added "around 500" new members since last weekend.
The group is campaigning for a series of policy changes, ranging from a tough onus-of-proof identity requirement for asylum seekers to greater discipline in schools.
Its first demand to leaders will be to establish a Swiss-style direct demo-cracy system whereby a people's convention could initiate referendums on big issues.
Under Swiss laws a petition of 50,000 signatures is required for a referendum to take place.
Recent outcomes of referendums held there include a ban on the building of minarets, a rejection of plans to make it illegal to smoke in enclosed public spaces, and continuing to allow terminally ill foreigners to be assisted in suicide.
Professor Flint said CANdo believed Australian voters needed a greater voice in deciding the future of the country.
He said the group would seek a commitment from both leaders to adopt Swiss-style direct democracy laws, with the establishment of a popularly elected convention to conduct referendums.
The first three referendums the group proposed to be held included whether voters should be given the right to recall a poor-performing government or a member of parliament, he said. Two others would be on whether voters should be given the power by petition to introduce or cancel new laws.
"When the carbon tax was introduced, there could have been a petition on whether that piece of legislation should be cancelled," he said.
"The more controversial one is whether people could actively propose new legislation, such as no asylum seekers being admitted to Australia from Indonesia unless they can explain why they do not have a passport, or stopping coal seam gas mining."