Onlookers will be excused for experiencing a sense of déjà vu this week, as the Supreme Court slammed the government's biased referendum campaign, because we've been here before. In 1995 the SC slammed the government's biased referendum campaign with the McKenna Judgement.

Despite this, the government repeated their referendum tactic and again it fell to ordinary citizen McCrystal to risk his wealth and again to ask the SC to do what it did in '95. The SC again told the government "thou shalt not" and it was back to business as usual. Nobody was fined or fired, no sanctions were imposed.

If this, or a future government again decides to breach the McKenna or McCrystal Judgements and to again misappropriate taxpayers' money, there is nothing to prevent it doing so except another Joe Citizen again running the gauntlet of the High Court and the SC.

If it is the function of our Supreme Court to apply a legal remedy, then the repetition of the offence and the possibility of future offences shows that it has clearly failed in these instances and it is now only playing the role of constitutional referee.

The repeat offence of the government, some of whose members were in office in '95, also makes it clear that our SC does not command the respect it should.