Originally Posted by BlaasForRafa
I'm not a lawyer so I could be getting this completely wrong but this provision looks like it gives the government of the day carte blanche to do whatever it likes and justify it as being necessary to the performance of the stability pact.
For example, it would seem that a government could get rid of child benefit payments and justify it as being necessary despite the provisions in the constitution relating to the child and the family etc. Now thats an extreme and broad brush example and no government that wished to get re-elected would do it but it would seem that its possible under this provision.
If this amendment were time limited (say 8-10 years) or subject to reconfirmation with another referendum in 8-10 years than it might seem less powerful than it is.
On another point entirely, if there was a significant debt writedown (not the payment delay thats currently being proposed) then I might be more inclined to vote yes than I am now. I realise thats a mercenary viewpoint but so what, I'm not ashamed to admit I'm open to inducement.
Actually, that illustrates quite well the kind of problems I have with phrases like "trumps our constitution", because that's a similarly over-broad reading.
If a government decided to do away with child benefit, then, first and foremost, there's nothing in the Constitution to stop them doing so.
Second, assuming that there were something in the Constitution which would otherwise prevent them, they can't merely wave at this and claim it as protective. In the inevitable court challenge, the government would be forced to show that the abolition of child benefit was a specific outcome of treaty implementation - which, unless child benefit is specifically mentioned in the treaty, they couldn't possibly do.
At most, the government could show that compliance with the treaty meant that government expenditure compared to revenue had to remain within a certain envelope, and that remaining within this envelope - given the government's other spending and taxation choices - required a level of savings that could
be financed by abolishing child benefit.
It should be immediately obvious, I hope, that the abolition of child benefit under those circumstances is in fact the outcome of the government's other
spending and taxation choices, and is one possible
way of meeting the targets, and therefore is not in any way specifically "necessitated by the obligations of the State under that treaty". Therefore, unless all the other spending and taxation choices had better constitutional protection than child benefit, there could be no obligation on the state to engage in something constitutionally repugnant to meet the targets in the treaty.
The exemption from constitutional challenge for treaty-derived law is not a carte blanche
, but a very narrow exemption only for what can be shown to be a direct obligation of the treaty in question.