Queensland Upper House abolition a chance for reform
The Parliamentary Committee system is a failure and cannot criticise the government of the day
Tomorrow marks 100 years since the formal abolition of the Legislative Council, the former Upper House, which left Queensland with the only unicameral state parliamentary system in the country.
Katter’s Australian Party Leader and Traeger MP Robbie Katter said, while the last thing people wanted was more politicians, the occasion marked an opportune time to reflect on the absolute centralisation of political power in Queensland and the possibilities of reform.
”We first must ask – is there a problem to be solved in Queensland politics? Obviously I believe there is,” he said.
“There is a global trend away from the two-party system in modern democracies, but here we are behind the times and still wedded to a political landscape that doesn’t serve people adequately.
“Perhaps a more effective way of dealing with the problems inherent to our two-party, unicameral system is a more balanced spread of power across minor parties.
“As the real advocates for regional Queensland, the KAP is able to speak with authority on the failings of the current system as we are acutely aware of the deficiencies in funding and political focus that result from the status quo.
“These issues are exactly what had led to us calling for a separate state in the past.
“I am still not sold on the answer to these issues being the reinstatement of the Upper House and the extra politicians that come with it, but the KAP would certainly be open to discussions around reforming the system to ensure integrity of the government and to prevent the democratic process from being manipulated and exploited.”
Mr Katter said the Queensland public was not being adequately served by current political structures.
“The Committee system, which Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk recently said was a pillar of Queensland’s systemic anti-corruption measures, has a tendency to operate as a political apparatus and is, by design, incapable of effectively critiquing the Government of the day,” he said.
“While the committees do undertake very valuable work, anyone who tries to suggest they are apolitical and therefore capable of truly holding the Government of the day to account is kidding themselves.”
Queensland’s Parliamentary Committees, which in place of an elected Upper House examine legislation and conduct public inquiries as per the Parliament of Queensland Act 2001, are ultimately controlled by the Government (in this case, the Palaszczuk Labor Government).
The Chair, who adjudicates all meetings, is a Government MP who is appointed by the Leader of the House.
The committees are then made up of at least 50 per cent Government MPs, as well as Opposition and crossbenchers depending on the political composition of the Legislative Assembly at the time.
Public briefings and hearings are made public and are televised, but internal decision-making is kept secret.
MPs are then considered to be in contempt of parliament if they divulge anything discussed in private.
Editor: Cairns News over a decade has noticed a trend by readers to abolish state governments and replaced them with a federal system utilising regional local government councils to formulate policies for their regions. One size does not fit all. The Commonwealth should be returned with the restoration of Constitutional government.