Crisafulli begs Commonwealth to alter referendum wording

Local Government Minister David Crisafulli.
Local Government Minister David Crisafulli. Lee Constable

THE Queensland Government may have dressed up its threat as an appeal, but the demand for a rephrasing to a national referendum appears to have been dismissed by all sides.

Local Government Minister David Crisafulli said on Tuesday he was "pleading" with the Commonwealth to change the wording on the referendum to put councils into the constitution so Queensland could support it.

A failure to do so would likely lead to the state withdrawing its support.

The change would be to remove a line on the Federal Government handing money to the councils, removing the line, "on such terms and conditions as the Parliament thinks fit".

Mr Crisafulli said this amounted to the Commonwealth forcing councils to do or allow certain acts in order to obtain the funds.

But the Local Government Association of Queensland - which counts all Queensland councils as its members - described Mr Crisafulli's stance was "disappointing and bemusing".

LGAQ president Margaret de Wit said she was "mystified" by the state's sudden change of tune after having been so supportive of the change.

"It is too important for politics to get in the way of a successful outcome," she said.

The referendum has support from the Federal Government, Opposition, minor parties and cross-benchers.

Its overwhelming support means $10 million will be supplied to campaign for a "yes" vote.

Just $500,000 will be used for the "no" side.

However, the Coalition support for the "yes" campaign hit a bump as a debate was sparked on Tuesday on whether the ratio of funding was fair.

The Coalition have warned they would consider dumping their backing of the referendum if both campaigns were not given equal amounts.

Topics:  commonwealth david crisafulli local government queensland government referendum

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