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Beazley on road to elected dictatorship.

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Senator Meg Lees

Australian Democrats

Parliamentary Leader


16 MARCH 1999




The ALP has given the green light to the GST, the full sale of Telstra and to the dismantling of Medicare today, acco rding to Democrats Leader Meg Lees.


Senator Lees was responding to a suggestion by Kim Beazley that the ALP would collude with the Coalition to remove scrutiny of the Executive by the Parliament.


“The only thing that stands in the way of an elected dictatorship is the Senate as a House of Review. Kim Beazley has today declared that he is willing to tear down the protection of Parliament,” Senator Lees said.


“The people have consistently voted to support a strong House of Review. Who is Kim Beazley to say that they are wrong?


“To say that there is some arbitrary distinction between bills affecting people and bills affecting money is ludicrous. Every bill is a people bill, and should be subject to the full scrutiny of an elected Parliament. Not just to the whim of the Executive and the rubber stamp of a compliant House of Representatives.


“Beazley’s short-sighted idea means that Telstra, Australia Post and Medicare, which are all Budget bills, will be at risk. He is giving a nod and a wink to Peter Costello by saying, in effect - I’ll vote against the GST now, but make damn sure no-one can vote against it next time. He is giving Costello a bookfull of blank cheques for the future and I’m sure many Labor supporters will be appalled.


“What happens if we get the balance of power in the House of Reps?” Senator Lees said. “Will he close that down too?”


The Australian Democrats have always guaranteed Supply to successive governments over 22 years. Budget bills, however, are dealt with on a case by case basis. During the first Howard Government only two bills out of 427 were rejected by the Parliament.


Further comment or to arrange interview: Senator Meg Lees on 0418 804 505