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Kennett wrong: upper house reform always on agenda.



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Media Release

Senator Lyn Allison

Australian Democrats

Senator for Victoria

 

October 14, 1999

99/549

 

Kennett wrong: upper house reform always on agenda

 

The Australian Democrats today condemned comments by Victoria’s caretaker premier, Jeff Kennett, tha t reform of the state’s upper house was not on the agenda during the recent state election.

 

Senator for Victoria, Senator Lyn Allison, says the Democrats have long advocated upper house reform and took this policy into the election.

 

“Proportional representation has long been a cornerstone of Democrats policy, because it provides for an accurate representation of the electorate as a whole,” Senator Allison said.

 

“Victoria is the only state of Australia where members in both houses of parliament are elected on the preferential voting system. Democracy in Victoria would be strengthened if proportional representation were introduced.

 

“The current system is patently unfair. As it stands, the Victorian Legislative Council is almost always dominated by the Liberal/National Coalition. Despite the fact that at the last election the ALP received over 50% of the vote, this resulted in them winning only eight seats.

 

“Over 190,000 Victorians voted for the Democrats at the state election, and yet we have no representation whatsoever in the Legislative Council. Under the current system, hundreds of thousands of Victorians go unrepresented,” Senator Allison said.

 

Senator Allison said that under the Kennett Government, the Legislative Council was reduced to nothing but a rubber stamp. She added that now Mr Kennett is faced with the possibility of being in opposition he was talking about using the upper house to obstruct the legislative agenda of an ALP government.

 

“The present Victorian upper house is either entirely useless or overly advantageous to the conservative side of politics. The injustice here is that this is not the case because of the way Victorians are voting; their aspirations are just not being accommodated by the current system.”

 

Senator Allison said the Democrats’ preferred model for proportional representation in Victoria entails dividing Victoria into five provinces (three metropolitan and two regional) with nine representatives in each. These representatives would be elected on the single transferable vote method, as with the current system in the federal Senate.

 

 

Contacts: Justin O’Brien on 0411 473 697, Senator Lyn Allison 015 691 512

 

 

jk  1999-10-18  11:14