Sunday, 23 July 2017

Fixed four year terms - with Turnbull and Shorten it's the blind leading the blind

In 1988 Australians voted on a referendum proposal to amend the constitution to provide four year terms for the House of Representatives. The change needed a majority of votes nationally and support in a majority of states. And the result? 32.92% in favour nationally with a majority in no states at all.

Now admittedly there were a few additional factors back in 1988. Other items were on the referendum agenda and the four year fixed term proposal of the Hawke government included the reduction of a normal Senate term from a six-year fixed term to a four-year fixed term As well there was a plan to introduce simultaneous elections for both Houses of the Parliament. It was not possible for the voter to support only one of the questions being dealt with. 

From memory Senators were not that keen on the idea of losing a couple of years from their job security. They were out and about advocating a "No" vote. This time will Messrs Turnbull and Shorten be proposing a two year extension rather than a two year reduction? Plenty of scope should they do so for minor parties to campaign for the "No" vote.

My guess is that the referendum will not come to pass as this pair of leaders have not thought through the problem of actually being on a winning side.

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