Queensland Premier Campbell Newman's quibbling over the wording of the referendum to recognise local government in the Constitution is a setback for the 'Yes' campaign, says Australian Greens local government spokesperson Lee Rhiannon.
"While the Coalition has supported legislation behind the referendum there is a growing undercurrent which suggests that key Liberal MPs are working to destabilise the campaign," Senator Rhiannon said.
"Opposition Leader Tony Abbott should lay his cards on the table - does he really back the referendum or not, or is this turnaround by Premier Newman indicative of a tactic in his party to destabilise the campaign?
"There was great excitement among councils in February when at parliamentary committee hearings in Sydney it was revealed that Premier Newman had written to his fellow Premiers calling on them to support a referendum.
"Premier Newman's questioning of the wording of the referendum is surprising and suggests another Coalition spoiler agenda is at work. What the community and local councils want, which is secure federal funding for everything from library to child care services, may be lost as a result.