Media Release

Government needs to cut the spin on Parliamentary Reform

05/11/2014 11:00 am

The Greens support the reduction of terms for SA Upper House MPs from eight years to four, however many of the other reforms proposed by the Premier are undemocratic and will lead to worse government, says Greens SA Parliamentary Leader, Mark Parnell MLC.

“Certainly eight years is too long to serve without going back to the voters. That was the position we took under Premier Rann and it remains our position under Premier Weatherill.

“The Greens do not support reducing the size of the Legislative Council below 22 members, because that will make it more difficult to properly scrutinise legislation and to hold the Government to account.

“If the Government was serious about improving democracy, they need to fix the Lower House as well, where nearly 20% of voters wanted someone other than Liberal or Labor at the March election. If seats were decided on the proportion of votes, then there should be nine cross-bench MPs, rather than just two elected last March.

“The Greens are open to a discussion with the Government about Parliamentary salaries and conditions. Let’s start with the rort of chauffeur-driven cars and extra pay for Parliamentary Committees.

“Ironically, the Government is proposing a salary hike totalling $400,000 over four years for eight MPs chosen to serve on a Parliamentary Committee to look into electoral reform. That shows that the Government needs to get its own House in order before throwing rocks at the Upper House,” said Mark Parnell.

The Greens priorities for Parliamentary reform include:

  • Optional Preferential Voting for the Legislative Council and an end to back-room preference deals between parties.
  • Improving accountability by forcing Ministers to answer questions in Parliament.
  • Ensuring that Bills passing one House of Parliament are guaranteed debate in the other.
  • Fixing Freedom of Information laws to reduce waiting times and increase disclosure of documents.

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