Allow the Federal Government to take control during national emergencies and disasters

Allow the Federal Government to take control during national emergencies and disasters

6 August 2020
Petition to
The Federal Goverment and 1 other
Signatures: 8Next Goal: 10
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Why this petition matters

Started by Anthony Wrobel

In times of national emergencies or disasters the States and territories are often required to deal with these set of circumstances on their own, however, they may call for assistance from the Federal Government albeit material or financial.

Chapter V, S 119 of the Australian Constitution requires the Commonwealth to protect the States from invasion and upon request, from the State, against domestic violence, but does not provide for the responsibility of national emergency or disaster assistance or management.

Often emergencies or disasters may only affect one state while the rest of the country remains trouble free and in this circumstance Federal Government assistance may not be required.  However, in recent times we have seen emergencies and disasters on a national scale, such as the bushfires of 2019/2020 and the Covid-19 pandemic manifest itself in a way that the Nation required a coordinated response from the States and Federal Government. This did not happen despite the formation of the National Cabinet.

In times of national emergencies and disasters there needs to be a provision in the Australian Constitution for the Federal Government to provide an unambiguous single point of leadership and coordination so the the Australian people gain a clear insight and confidence in the actions required to provide the most appropriate response in any national crises.

All Australians are currently being impacted by the poor and confusing decisions  taken by State and Territory Leaders, during the current Covid - 19 pandemic, who are acting unilaterally despite agreements made at National Cabinet meetings. Furthermore, the use of the defence force during the bushfires created disagreements between the States and the Federal Government which was unhelpful.

I am seeking to petition the Federal Government to include a referendum question at the next federal election to change Chapter V of the Australian Constitution that will allow the Federal Government to take responsibility for all emergency and disaster response decision making and oversight, when appropriate, in all affected states and territories. The provision to approve these actions by the Federal Government to undertake these responsibilities would rest with the Governor General. States and territories would temporarily defer their responsibilities, for example, border controls, restrictions of movement, operational command and control of emergency services, use of the defence force, etc to the Federal Government and then the states and territories would be required to follow the directions of the Federal Government. Each application to enact this authority would be strictly controlled and have specific time limits.

All Australians would benefit from an unequivocal, effective, single point of reference and leadership in times of national emergency and disaster management. Based on the current and recent crises, it has become clear that under the Australian Constitution interactions and coordination between the States and territories, and the Federal Government, requires change.

I look forward to your support of this petition.

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Signatures: 8Next Goal: 10
Support now


  • The Federal Goverment
  • Russell Broadbent MP