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News Article

New 18-minute law shows why Qld needs an upper house
Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Queensland’s empty Legislative Council: restoration could prevent government dictatorship  


Former Queensland Labor Premier Peter Beattie opposes the new law enforcing full preferential voting in state elections, pushed through by the Palaszczuk government on 21 April after just 18 minutes’ notice.

“I share Mr Beattie’s concern about what happened last week – but for different reasons,” FamilyVoice Queensland director Andrew Lawton said today.  “Full preferential voting would be a good thing.  Winning candidates would then be more likely to reflect a majority of voters’ views.  But the way the bill was suddenly introduced and passed, before people had a chance to think about it, was what you’d expect under Stalin or Mao.”

Andrew Lawton said that at current Queensland state elections, the winning party takes all.  “The Palaszczuk government has a tiny majority, but normally wins every vote and controls every committee,” he said.

“What we really need is an upper house, elected by proportional representation like the federal Senate, to act as a house of review.

“We don’t need more MPs to do that.  We could have 60 MPs (say) in the Legislative Assembly, and the rest in the Legislative Council.  Bills would have to be passed by both houses, ensuring that no legislation could be rushed through without proper consideration.”

Mr Lawton said Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath should abandon her plans for a charter of rights and instead restore Queensland’s Legislative Council, which was abolished by Labor in 1922 in defiance of an earlier referendum.

“A rights charter would allow unelected judges to decide what our rights mean,” he said.  “That is not democracy.  Our rights are better protected by elected MPs in two independent houses of parliament.”


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