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MP favours terms plebiscite

PEOPLE’S CHOICE: Member for Burnett Stephen Bennett says the public should decide.
PEOPLE’S CHOICE: Member for Burnett Stephen Bennett says the public should decide. Matthew Mcinerney

ANY plan for Queensland to introduce four-year terms must be decided by the public, according to Member for Burnett Stephen Bennett.

Premier Campbell Newman raised the prospect of extending the duration of government terms last week, and called for Labor leader Annastacia Palaszczuk to consider a bi-partisan approach.

Every other Australian state's legislative assemblies sit for four year terms.

Mr Bennett admitted sitting governments have a clear advantage in being able to call an election within their terms, but said the idea of aligning Queensland's electoral process with the rest of the country should be discussed by the people.

"It's certainly something I'd like to have considered," Mr Bennett said.

"More importantly, it's something (on which) Queenslanders should be able to have their say, so maybe something like a plebiscite on that issue would be needed."

In supporting his claim, Mr Bennett said Queenslanders were "sick of the nonsense" of election campaigns, and trumpeted the extra security four-year terms would bring.

Should Queensland adopt four-year terms it would follow education as an area in which the state is aligning itself with the rest of the country.

Mr Newman told the ABC last week the extended terms would give more certainty to Queenslanders, and said he hoped Ms Palaszczuk would support the plan.

"I would be delighted to have fixed terms on the table for this election, but sadly it needs bi-partisan support and that has not been forthcoming in previous years," the Premier said.

Ms Palaszczuk suggested she was not in favour of such a move, contradicting statements she made following the Labor Party's heavy 2012 election defeat.

At the time she said she would be open to discussions with Mr Newman about the change, which she said the ALP had supported for a "long time".

Ms Palaszczuk appeared to rule out a move to four-year terms, saying she hadn't "received one phone call" from Mr Newman during his time in office, and that everything was "working well" in the electoral system.

Mr Bennett encouraged his constituents to have their say on the issue, saying it should be a decision made by people and not politicians.

"This is politicians talking about four-year terms, it needs to be people giving their feedback on whether it's four or three; if they're happy with the system we currently have," Mr Bennett said.

"At the end of the day, I'm a representative of the people, and people should be able to give me their thoughts on that."

Topics:  annastacia palaszczuk, campbell newman, politics, stephen bennett



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