Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Labor discussion paper on constitutional reform: joint statement by the Leader of the Opposition the Hon Simon Crean MP [and] Shadow Attorney-General Robert McClelland MP.



Download PDFDownload PDF

LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION

JOINT STATEMENT BY THE LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION THE HON SIMON CREAN MP SHADOW ATTORNEY-GENERAL ROBERT MCCLELLAND MP

LABOR DISCUSSION PAPER ON CONSTITUTIONAL REFORM

Labor is today releasing a discussion paper on constitutional reform, entitled Constitutional Reform and the Resolution of Parliamentary Deadlock.

Labor’s discussion paper emphasises that any reform of section 57 of the Constitution must be considered in the context of two related reforms:

• Removal of the Senate’s power to block supply; and • A move to fixed four-year terms for the House of Representatives and the Senate.

These reforms would deliver greater certainty and stability to Australia’s federal system of government.

The increased capacity of a government to pass legislation for which it has a specific mandate would be counterbalanced by the removal of the government’s power to manipulate the timing of an election, delivering greater certainty to Australians. No longer would an opposition be able to abuse the powers of the Senate to bring down a democratically elected government.

The discussion paper is not a response to the two models proposed by the Government today - the “Howard model” and the “Lavarch model”.

Rather it sets out the principles Labor will apply in its contribution to public debate on constitutional reform.

Much could be done to reform our Constitution in order to make it more relevant to Australians today.

The Australian Labor Party has put forward a range of proposals to achieve this and remains committed to advocating reform of the Constitution in the interests of the nation.

CANBERRA 8 OCTOBER 2003