While welcoming the final passing of the laws to set up the Referendum for constitutional recognition of local government, Greens local government spokesperson Senator Lee Rhiannon has accused the Coalition of running a spoiler campaign to undermine the chances of the Referendum passing.
"Last night's split in the Coalition vote shows that Abbott is a wolf in sheep's clothing on the Referendum for constitutional recognition of local government," Senator Rhiannon said.
"In the Senate last night seven Coalition senators voted against the Referendum bill and nineteen others abstained, including Senators George Brandis and Eric Abbetz.
"While the Coalition officially support including a reference to local government in the Constitution, their actions seem designed to put roadblocks on any momentum around a 'Yes' vote.
"A number of Coalition MPs in the Senate debate said that they did not want the Referendum campaign to distract from their election campaign.
"Liberal Senator Mathias Cormann summed up his party's approach when he told the Senate that the Coalition will be campaigning for a change of government not a change to the Constitution.
"The deceptive tactics of the Coalition could jeopardise financial certainty for many local councils and shires.
"Former Australian Greens leader Bob Brown played a key role in initiating this Referendum.
"Despite the undermining tactics of the Coalition the Greens are still confident that the Referendum can pass. The Greens are mounting a strong 'Yes' campaign," Senator Rhiannon said.