Call for referendum on electoral reform

29 Aug, 2001 10:00 PM
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The WA Farmers Federation hailed last week's Day of Rural Awareness held at Parliament House a great success and will now monitor closely the issue of electoral reform and the plans to hold a Rural Debt Summit.

As part of the push to halt the Electoral Amendment Bill 2001, WAFF is running a petition calling on the State Government to hold a referendum on the issue of electoral reform in country WA.

People will have a chance to discuss the issue and sign the petition at both the Dowerin and Newdegate field days.

WAFF zone presidents and co-ordinators also have copies of the petition and information on the proposed changes to the Bill.

WAFF general president Colin Nicholl said that the Day of Rural Awareness was a great success and thanked the WAFF members attending, the respective MPs for making their time available and Agriculture Minister Kim Chance for supporting the initiative and assisting with the logistics of the day.

"Rural awareness was the focus of the day and I am pleased to be able to say that everyone involved had their horizons widened during the course of the day," he said.

"Our members certainly obtained a greater appreciation of the workings of the Parliament and pressures that our MPs work under, whilst the MPs, particularly those based in city electorates, are now better able to understand and appreciate the difficulties facing many rural communities at the current time.

"The issue of rural parliamentary representation remains a highly contentious issue with our members.

"Following last week's meetings with MPs from all parties and several Independents, I am firmly of the belief that a referendum should be called to let the people decide.

"WAFF is also calling for a Rural Debt Summit to address this issue and will be following up the support received from many MPs for this proposal to ensure that the summit takes place as a matter of urgency.

"The Day of Awareness is the start of an ongoing lobbying process, the future success of which will be ensured by a co-ordinated whole of industry approach.

"I look forward to working with the PGA and other representative bodies with rural industries at heart to achieve some positive outcomes that will deliver benefits to us all."

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