Tuesday 13 July 2010

Wendy Richardson wants upper house scrutiny in Queensland Parliament

Wendy Richardson is backing a call for the return of the Upper House in the Queensland Parliament, that recommends mayors of regional councils will fulfil the role.

“This is a call for much more accountability than what we Queenslanders get at the moment, but with no increase in the number of MP’s,” Wendy Richardson says, who has declared her affiliation with the new Queensland Party.

“It is very important that people realise this concept does not mean more politicians. Also any minor increase in cost would be seriously outweighed by the huge savings made by eliminating poor decisions," Richardson says. “Under a very innovative idea of using the Mayors as the Upper House, Queenslanders would get a whole lot more say on how their taxes are spent and how law reform occurs.”

Former LNP MP Aidan McLindon, launched the idea, saying that Queenslanders "desperately need this kind of control over our government."

"Every other state except Queensland has an Upper House or Senate," Aidan McLindon says. "Queensland had one, but lost it in 1922, much against the wishes of the people of the time. At the moment, the 51 Labor members of the Parliament determine what will happen in Queensland, regardless of whether the population agrees or not. The assets sale is a prime example. Most people do not want it; even the Labor Party faithful are angry about it. Yet Bligh and co have no conscience; they ride roughshod over us because they can.”

McLindon says the State opposition might as well take a three-year holiday in the Bahamas for all the good their chest-beating will do.

"They are effectively noisy, but toothless tigers. Having Independents who might hold balance of power will go a little way to resolving the situation, but once alliances are organised, some may well become mere extensions of particular parties,” Aidan McLindon says. “With an Upper House though, contentious and unwise decisions could be reviewed on an entirely different footing. The incredible waste in spending we see on failed projects such as the Traveston Dam, would cease if projects such as this had to meet the scrutiny of a different set of people. Mayors would be in the unique position of realising bad decisions at a State level would mean less money available for the Regional Councils.”

McLindon says this model is better for regional, rural and indigenous populations, that could take back some control over spending that is dominated by the South East Queensland.

“At present, many regional councils are suffering terribly, being blamed by angry ratepayers for increases in rates," McLindon says. "But much of this is due to the State Government very unfairly withdrawing money from the Councils, some of which was promised to them when they set their budgets.”

“This model for the Upper House will ensure that government goes back to serving, not subordinating the public – something we have needed for a long time.
    36 of the largest local councils would be permanent members of the Upper House.

    36 of the smallest local councils would rotate 9 of the 45 Upper House seats annually.

    The Lord Mayor of Brisbane would assume the role of Speaker of the House.

    Only legislation that is divided on in the lower house would be referred to the Upper House for further debate which would ultimately trigger amendments should the bill fail to pass by a majority in the Upper House.

    Sit ten times a year, excluding December and January.

    Each of the 73 Mayors able to participate in the functions of the Upper House at some stage in their four year term to ensure a less political, broader voice for Queensland.


Wendy What? said...

I am very pleased that Wendy has finally found a home that suits her eclectic tastes.Long may she remain a member of the Queensland Party - a mantra I guess will be echoed by every other sane person in the state.

Whilst Queenslanders may want/need/deserve an Upper House this silly idea will never get past the starting point. I pay rates for my council to look after issues that matter localy. I pay for, and expect, Councillors to work for Cairn full time. Look at what happens when Alan Blake tries to shaft us and do some of his wheeling and dealing on the side. It all comes unstuck. My rates are for Val and Co to work for Cairns.

The only way Queenslanders will accept a house of review is for some of the 89 current seats - say 20 odd - to disappear. This would mean much bigger lower house electorates. And dilute even further the chances of Wendy ever being elected outside her core groupie group in Barron River.

With Wendy sprouting such nonsense, her electibility diminishes every day. Like Pauline, she loves being in the limelight no matter what drivel it takes to get her there. Darling its time to retire!

Al said...

Another stupid idea from the LNP, or whatever it is their membership has morphed into this week.
We need another bunch of pollies like we need a hole in the head! Regional mayors are elected to manage regional municipalities, not the affairs of the state. To empower them in this way would then result in an unrepresentative body able to veto the decisions of a representative lower house. And as for the minor increase in costs; factor in the inevitable (and ever increasing) allowances, accommodation, business class air travel, and the cost will run into the millions. If you want an example of how dumb this suggestion is, look no further than the upper house of Victoria. If that doesn't convince you, picture the likes of Kevin Byrne with the power of veto in Brisbane.

Constance Lloyd said...

The idea of an Upper House certainly does have merit. But rather than distract local mayors from pressing local issues there is another solution.

Queensland has 30 members of the House of Representatives plus another 12 Senators = 42. Just a tad short of Wendy's 45. Why not have these august personages act as a Queensland House of Review?

Local federal members are across local issues - plus it would give "our" Jim the opportunity to do some thing about the asset sell-off that involves something slightly more substantial than sheepishly holding a balloon full of hot air!

Unknown said...

As I understand it the reason Qld doesn't have an upper house is because it was blocking all legislation of the democratically elected lower house, including supply.

I find the Tasmanian upper house to be the most interesting model.

The reality is that Mayors are very political and for the most part are members of political parties. A proposal like the one in this article would lead to the open politicisation of Local Government. That's not necessarily a bad thing but Wendy should be aware of the inevitable consequences of her proposal.

Thaddeus said...

Mayors have enough to do I should think.

Wendy Richardson said...

‘Wendy What? said …’ you are obviously very unaware of the interaction between State and Local Government funding. Mayors already spend considerable time arguing to retain and if possible increase their allocations from the State.
There are many examples of the ratepayer having to ‘fork out’ more because of the State Government refusing to allocate sufficient funds to local government. But one that has hit us hard locally is the forced amalgamation that caused huge demands on Council but did not receive proper reimbursement from Bligh and Co.

In fact, it is part of the Council’s core business to chase State funds.

By doing so, they ARE looking after you and your local needs.

Interestingly a few Mayors have already indicated a positive response to the suggestion.

And as far as your insult to the voters of Barron River, 12,000 + primary votes hardly constitutes a ‘core groupie group’.

‘Al said’, please note Queensland Party is anything but a morphed LNP. People with a conscience and a desire to be accountable have left both LNP and Labor, along with new people who are equally disenchanted with what is going on in this state.

Also have you checked out what poor decisions and a government running rampant have cost Queensland? Just looking at Traveston Dam and the desalination plant alone – it’s in the billions. We only have to stop one of these crazy decisions in future to save way more than the cost you talk about.

I don’t see your point re Mayors being unrepresentative. They too are elected by the people. However, they would tip the balance a lot more in favour of the regions, in that they are not representing people on an equitable basis if we go on population numbers alone.

For example Brisbane City Council represents around 1 million people, while Cairns Regional Council only represents a tenth of that number approximately yet both would get one vote.

Also, the upper house in Victoria does not run on the model presented I believe, so that’s a bit of a strange analogy.

‘Constance Lloyd’, thank you for your considered reply. It has a lot of merit, but there is a great deal of detail to know about State issues as well as Federal Issues, so I think the ‘Feds’ would not want to take on the extra knowledge base for State matters.

Also with close to 100,000 constituents to represent, I think they already have their work cut out for them as do the State representatives WHEN THEY ARE DOING THEIR JOBS PROPERLY.

You are very right though I think about Asset sales; the Feds could come in and stop the Asset sales if they chose to. In fact they could do this right now. How about some political pressure in that regard?

‘Wiki’ – May I suggest you have a look at this site for a discussion on the history of Qld’s Parliamentary system.
It’s quite short and very readable and paints a different picture to yours.

Also, while the Mayors have a right to a political view, they also represent an entire Council which is often a mixture of political views.

I don’t agree this move would further politicise the situation.

We already have some Mayors siding more with the government, while others oppose them – don’t see why that situation would change.

And ‘Thadeus’ – as stated before, Mayors are already substantially engaged in chasing State funding. This would just change the dynamic to give them more say, advantaging the ratepayer – not a bad thing perhaps?

Wendy What? said...

As usual Wendy writes a novel when brevity could suffice. I just love how she thinks 12,000+ in Barron River voted just because it was her name on the ballot paper.

Darling they voted for the LNP and against Wettenhall. You were the just the means to that end. Nothing more nothing less. Sure a few electors voted for you because it was you. Probably enough to fill a mini minor.

But I suspect your ego also expects many of the 12,000+ to do so again next time?

Time for a reality check darling!

Troy Williams (via Facebook) said...

Just what Queensland needs, Val in parliament.