When referendums go wrong: Queensland's 2016 fixed, four-year term proposal

Orr, Graeme and Cassar, Samara (2016) When referendums go wrong: Queensland's 2016 fixed, four-year term proposal. Australasian Parliamentary Review, 31 2: 161-175.

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Author Orr, Graeme
Cassar, Samara
Title When referendums go wrong: Queensland's 2016 fixed, four-year term proposal
Journal name Australasian Parliamentary Review
ISSN 1447-9125
Publication date 2016-01-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 31
Issue 2
Start page 161
End page 175
Total pages 15
Place of publication Canberra, ACT, Australia
Publisher Australasian Study of Parliament Group
Language eng
Abstract Constitutional referendums are an opportunity to showcase direct democracy and popular sovereignty over the shape of the institutions that govern representative democracy. But to be deliberatively meaningful, referendums on such legal questions require lengthy voter education, and fair structuring of questions. In 2016, Queensland voted narrowly to join the other Australian States and Territories in having fixed, four-year terms. This article explains the context behind the referendum, and analyses the partisan and regional drivers of its outcome. It also critiques the process, which bundled two distinct questions, in a hurried 'campaign' that offered minimal voter education. In the result, the major parties won the longer terms they had long craved. However Queensland is left with less frequent elections, and a powerful executive with neither an upper house nor proportional representation to check it.
Keyword Queensland parliament
999 Constitutional Referendum
Deliberative democracy
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
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TC Beirne School of Law Publications
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Created: Mon, 30 Jan 2017, 10:24:59 EST by Associate Professor Graeme Orr on behalf of T.C. Beirne School of Law