Former Labor premier Michael Field says abolition of the upper house would better serve Tasmanians without risking the passing of dodgy legislation.
Upper house member Ivan Dean on Monday made another pitch tfor Tasmanian Parliament to be unicameral in light of the upcoming dominace of party members in the Legislative Council.
Mr Field, when Opposition Leader in 1995, proposed a 40-member unicameral Parliament made up of 15 single-member seats and five Hare-Clarke multi-member seats.
In other news:
On Tuesday, he said Parliament’s function was three-fold: to represent people’s opinions, to pass legislation, and to form an executive government.
He said it was important there were enough people elected to form a cabinet which could be sourced from the Legislative Council.
But Mr Field said parliamentarians should sit together as one chamber to pass legislation with Legislative Council members excluded from voting on money bills or votes of confidence.
“That way you save huge amounts of money, make more people available for the executive, and represent people better particularly on a statewide vote,” Mr Field said.
Former Liberal premier Tony Rundle said it was important for there to be an upper house in Parliament to look at legislation and further scrutinise government decisions beyond the opposition parties.
“[A unicameral] system is not perfect by any measure and is in fact seen as having deficiences,” he said.
Mersey independent MLC Mike Gaffney said although he did not agree with all bills sent to the Legislative Council, it was the job of all members to move amendments to strengthen them.
Although he said it would not be in the state’s best interests to have eight members of one party in the upper house as it would then become a rubber stamp.
Launceston independent MLC Rosemary Armitage said most of the legislation that reached the upper house was amended in some way – either slightly or drastically.
“There are many amendments for a majority of it,” she said.
Ms Armitage said an independent majority in the upper house was important to ensure a diversity or voices and opinions as well as better representation for electorates.
What do you think? Send us a letter to the editor: