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Thursday, 15 September 1983
Page: 896

Mr WELLS —My question without notice is also directed to the Deputy Prime Minister but in his capacity as the Minister representing the Attorney-General. Is it a fundamental requirement of the Westminster system that a government is drawn from the party or parties which have a majority on the floor of the House? If so, has his attention been drawn to any recent breaches of this fundamental convention in any parliamentary democracy?

Mr LIONEL BOWEN —I thank the honourable gentleman for such an intelligent question. The Westminster principle clearly requires democracies to be accountable to a parliament, have the confidence of a parliament and have an Executive that is responsible and accountable to parliament. Firstly, one State Parliament at present, namely Queensland, is not able to have an Executive that has the confidence of the Parliament because it refuses to have the Parliament meet. Secondly, that Government is a minority representation of the Parliament, which is contrary to the Westminster practice. Thirdly, that Government is acting on a Budget which has not yet been introduced to the Parliament and has arranged for an election to be held at such a time that in fact the people of Queensland could be without Supply. I predict that the Labor Party will win handsomely in Queensland on 22 October. That Government will immediately, within a matter of days, be required to introduce a Budget merely to keep the normal services of government going in Queensland. That situation is due solely to the irresponsible action of the Bjelke-Petersen faction, which is not prepared to face a parliament, not prepared to have a Budget endorsed by a parliament and is prepared to denude the Treasury of Queensland of the normal services of Supply. It is contrary to every tradition of good government. It is contrary to every tradition of responsible government. It is a minority government, fearful of what the people will do to it on 22 October.