Never has there been a greater example of why we should restore Queensland’s Upper House than the flurry of rushed changes to Queensland’s electoral system this week.
Both major parties have been guilty of playing politics with our electoral system and voting reform this week in an attempt to score wins over each other.
Firstly, whilst the LNP’s introduction of a bill to add additional seats to the Parliament was probably a discussion that needed to be had, seeing it pushed through the Legislative Assembly in just three sitting days hardly allows the level of scrutiny that should be afforded such a bill, especially one which spends Queensland taxpayers dollars.
However, Labor’s counter move today – moving amendments that change the way people will vote at the next state election and ramming those amendments through the Parliament in just a few hours – is an abuse of power that could literally only happen in Queensland’s single-house Parliament.
Malcolm Turnbull’s Federal Senate voting reform, whilst widely unpopular and rushed in a haphazard manner, at least had to go through some form of due process and public scrutiny because it had to pass through two Houses of Parliament and the associated committee processes.
In contrast, the idea of a return to compulsory preferential voting had not even been raised as a thought bubble by Queensland’s Labor State Government before it was thrust upon the Parliament today.
In just a few short months this year we have seen longer terms approved for MPs, an increased number of MPs approved, and a return to compulsory preferential voting. What we haven’t seen yet is an increase in accountability measures for our State Parliamentarians.
Let’s start a proper debate on restoring Queensland’s Upper House as a way of improving accountability for Queensland’s MPs. Both major parties have given us a lesson this week in why it’s sorely needed.
Seath Holswich, Family First Qld Spokesperson
21st April 2016