Queensland referendum set to change parliament term

Canberra, March 20 (IANS) Queensland’s political system is set for its biggest shake-up in the decades as a referendum for fixed four-year parliamentary terms looks likely to succeed.

On Sunday, just under half of the three million votes had been counted, the ‘yes’ vote held a 53.16 percent margin to the ‘no’ vote’s 46.84 percent, Australian ABC reported.

The Palaszczuk government remained cautiously optimistic after driving the ‘yes’ campaign with advertisements and a bipartisan promotional tour in the week leading into polling day.

Road Safety Minister Mark Bailey said that the Queenslanders had decided they wanted a stable government.

“I think Queenslanders are showing good sense in terms of having provisions that other states have had for a long time,” he said.

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland’s Nick Behrens said that a ‘yes’ would give business the confidence to plan ahead.

“Two in three businesses record sales decreases during election periods, businesses delay investment decisions because of policy uncertainty, major projects get put on hold and accordingly the economic benefit that cascades across the economy also gets stalled,” he said.

Federal government member of parliament Trent Zimmerman said that he wanted Queensland’s debate over four-year parliamentary terms to happen at a national level.

He said that making the same move federally could improve planning and governance.

“One of the problems with three-year terms has occasionally led to short-term decision-making,” he said.

“Four-year terms just give you that slightly greater opportunity to be thinking about the challenges of not just today, but what’s coming in the decades ahead.”

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