Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Queensland upper house

The Queensland upper house was abolished in March 1922, 62 years after first operating as a house of review.  The history of the end of the Legislative Council  is pretty nasty politically.  The Labour party wanted to enact reforms but the landed gentry who controlled the council didn't want those changes.  Only after the governor stacked the chamber with 14 labour members did the numbers add up to get rid of the house of review.  Messy,tacky and party political.

The house of review needs restored but without the political sluttery of political parties.  I would suggest a number of people be chosen by lot form the electoral roles to sit in the upper house and to act as a true house of review.  My guess would be a third of the number of members in the lower house, about 30 at the moment. 29 and a big bit if you want to be mathematically pedantic.  One could be leader of the upper house and the other 29 would provide an odd number that wouldn't need to be disputed when ti comes to voting, at least not very often.

I would see them being selected on the last sitting day of each year and serving from the first sitting day until the last sitting day of every calendar year. The members would be paid the same as the lowest paid of the lower house MPs and would have very limited access to the shocking freebees that most MPs get and claim.  There would be an electoral office allowance, one or two public servants in the upper house MPs home town chosen by the Public Service commissioner to stop nepotism.  The Upper house MJP would get a flight to Brisbane for sitting days and a flight from Brisbane.  travel in and around the capital would be at the MPs own expense.  They would be given free meals in the parliament restaurant and would be housed at a hotel near parliament at government expense.  If they do not like the idea of that hotel they can choose to live elsewhere at their own expense.  MPs from Brisbane,Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast would use public transport to get to parliament each day.

The work day would be 9 to 5 for the upper house MPs, no exceptions, no overtime.  A public service staff would be provided to explain legislation to the members, to answer any questions raised by the members and to keep them fully informed on happenings in the other house.

The upper house MPs would vote on allowing legislation, laws and rules to be passed onto the Governor of Queensland for ratification and signing.

The Upper house would be a house of review and can not make its own legislation.

Choosing people by lot would mean there would be the chance of criminals being chosen, so long as they aren't currently in jail I see no problem.  And cynically speaking they can't be worse than some of hte criminals we have in parliament via the party political process.  We could have racists and bigots and anarchists in the mix, but statistically speaking there are very few of them and a lot more " normal" people.

So what do you think? A valid alternative?  This is along the lines of the Ancient Greek way of running a democracy. Their thoughts were that you would get people working hard for their state so as avoid themselves and their families suffering the shame of producing an idiot in charge.

Please pass on to politicians who you might think would appreciate a fresh view on the political world. The political parties will be dead set against such a set up as I have suggested because they will not have power.  Power corrupts and that can not be shown more clearly than the history of Queensland parliament and politics.

If you want to keep me out of poverty, please send a penny or two.  I am one of those pov-liners who can't afford to drive a car and for who a cup of coffee or a glass of beer is out of the question.

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