FOUR YEAR FIXED TERMS FOR QUEENSLAND
On March 19, Queenslanders will vote on a referendum on four year fixed terms for the Queensland Parliament in addition to the local government quadrennial election. The move to a four year fixed term has bipartisan support in the Parliament. Here is some information on why the changes should be made:
On 17 September 2015, Shadow Attorney-General Ian Walker introduced the Constitution (Fixed Term Parliament) Amendment Bill 2015 and Constitution (Fixed Term Parliament) Referendum Bill 2015 into the Parliament (the Bills).
The Bills provide for the establishment of fixed four year terms of Parliament in Queensland, following a successful vote at a state-wide referendum.
There are a number of significant advantages in having fixed, four year terms of government, namely:
- it provides for better government and better public policy making because decisions can be made in the interest of outcomes and better services for Queenslanders, rather than short term political gain or what may be the news of the day;
- it removes the constant speculation from the political process and provides fairness to all political parties rather than what is in the interest of the government of the day; and
- it provides confidence in government and certainty in government, from the public and also from the business community, which drives investment, economic confidence and job creation.
Of the 9 jurisdictions (state, territory and commonwealth), Queensland and the Commonwealth are the only not to have 4 year terms.
The Parliamentary Finance and Administration Committee conducted an on-line survey with the following results:
- 74.12% or 776 people supported increasing the maximum term of Parliament to four years;
- 68.95% or 724 people supported a fixed date or term for an election;
- 35% of respondents supported a March election, however there was an even spread across several months, including 23.4% for May, 21.38% for June and 19.68% for August and September. It should be noted that this question provided a multiple choice response, rather than just one option.
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