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PM's Senate plans doomed to fail.



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Senator Meg Lees

Australian Progressive Alliance Senator for South Australia 8 June 2003

MEDIA RELEASE

PM’s Senate Plans Doomed To Fail

The Prime Minister’s plans for Senate reform are unlikely to succeed at a referendum, according to Australian Progressive Alliance Senator, Meg Lees.

“Australians value the contribution of the Senate,” said Senator Lees.

“They do not want to hand more power to the government of the day by weakening the Senate.

“Already a large proportion of the electorate chooses to caste its vote away from the two major parties in the Senate,” said Senator Lees.

“I believe this shows Australians today agree with the framers of our Constitution who wanted two equal houses of parliament involved in government.

“A constructive Senate will ensure debate and discussion about important issues and its committee system allows for far greater community involvement than the House of Representatives ever will.

“The Constitution deliberately bestows almost equal powers on the Senate as it does on the lower house.

“The use of proportional representation to elect the Senate makes it a far more representative and democratic institution than the House of Representatives.

“Australians have shown themselves to be very wary of constitutional change in the past. They will certainly recognise the dangers inherent in this proposal,” Senator Lees concluded.

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