Politics is simple.
Referenda are often used by politicians who don't want to take the decision as a way of avoiding responsibility. In my view, that is wrong.
Good referenda: devolution in 1997, joining the EEC
Bad referendum: devolution 1979
Good subject for referendum: a European federal state
Bad subject for referendum: joining the single currency (election issue)
Now, I have no objection to following the Swiss model of referenda on most major issues, but I do have a problem with the concept of "Propositions" as used in California, largely as it is a way for institutions to further their interests.
So where am I going with this? If politicians start calling for referenda then beware. Either every major decision should be the subject of a vote or only a very few should be.
Let's test the water -- a politicians in favour of a referendum on their pay increases raise your hands now! If that's not a good subject to start with, then how can they justify anything else?