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Public supports strong Senate role but power to block ordinary supply should go.

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DEMOCRATS MEDIA 04/440 TUESDAY 1 JUNE 2004 SENATOR ANDREW BARTLETT LEADER OF THE AUSTRALIAN DEMOCRATS Public supports Strong Senate role but power to block ordinary supply should go The Australian public has not fallen for the Government's long-standing campaign to paint the Senate as obstructive, the Australian Democrats said today. The Prime Minister's plans to nobble the powers of the Senate to scrutinise, amend and prevent bad legislation, through joint sittings without a double dissolution election, are dead. "It is a shame however that needed parliamentary reform, including reform that puts more power in the hands of people, won't occur," Democrats' leader, Senator Andrew Bartlett said today. "Positive changes that could be made include removing the Senate's power to block ordinary supply. "It is no surprise the Coalition is unwilling to remove the power to block ordinary supply to Government. They have done it before and could do it again. The ALP's 'Prime Minister in waiting', and all Australians, should be very concerned that the Green Senators, like the Coalition, will not rule out blocking supply," Senator Bartlett said. The Democrats made a submission to the Prime Minister's inquiry into Constitutional Change calling for: - Constitutional reform to introduce binding plebiscites so the Australian people can deliver a verdict on legislation in dispute; - remove the Senate’s ability to block supply; - fixed four terms; - parliamentary approval required for going to war; - improvements to the regulation of political parties and rules to cap donations and stamp out donations that have strings attached; - more accountability measures for Ministers and staffers to combat government secrecy and abuse of power; and - reforms to the House of Representatives to inject more accountability. The Democrats Submission to the Prime Minister's Consultative Group on Constitutional Change: Media Contact- Daele Healy - 0419 867 649