The LNP will move a bill in Parliament this week giving an Independent Body the power to oversee any future decisions on the size of Queensland’s Parliament.
Shadow Attorney-General and Shadow Minister for Justice, Industrial Relations and Arts Ian Walker said that the power will pass to an expanded Redistribution Commission – which will also have more flexibility to determine what is required to adequately service regional and remote parts of Queensland.
“This was an important recommendation of the Electoral and Administrative Review Commission (EARC) in 1990, borne out of the Fitzgerald Inquiry,” Mr Walker said.
“As we approach the redistribution due before the next election we have to be sure that we get the best outcome for Queenslanders.
“Given the last review of seat numbers occurred nearly 30 years ago, and that since then the average number of electors in each seat has almost doubled, it may be wise to look at whether more seats need to be created.
If that occurs, it should not be a politician’s call – it should be determined by an independent and transparent process that Queenslanders can have confidence in,” Mr Walker said.
The LNP proposal would provide the option for the independent Redistribution Commission to increase the number of seats in Parliament from 89 to no more than 94. It would also allow the option for the weighting currently provided for large seats to be increased from 2% to 4%.
Mr Walker said some of our seats in Queensland are more than twice the size of Victoria – and are likely to get larger given recent population trends.
“There is a size beyond which an electorate cannot be adequately serviced by a single member – no matter what technology or transport assistance is provided,” Mr Walker said.
“The Redistribution Commission needs the tools to ensure that those large seats do not get even bigger – this bill will give them those powers.”
The LNP proposal follows principles coming out of the Fitzgerald Inquiry report and the subsequent EARC process – moving electoral decisions to an independent body and retaining a weighting for large seats where distance and regular communication are issues.
It will also provide a process in which Queenslanders can have a say to the Redistribution process.
This Bill represents important steps in restoring accountability to Queensland’s political arena.