Elec­toral re­dis­tri­bu­tion

Isis Town and Country - - Opinion -

JIM Nilon’s let­ter (Isis Town and Coun­try, Novem­ber 12) com­pletely misses the mark on re­dis­tri­bu­tion. Con­trary to what he says, the Bill would not have in­creased the num­ber of par­lia­men­tar­i­ans – it would sim­ply have given the in­de­pen­dent re­dis­tri­bu­tion com­mis­sion the abil­ity to see whether it is nec­es­sary and to con­sider it. Queens­land is the most de­cen­tralised state in Aus­tralia, with more peo­ple liv­ing out­side the cap­i­tal city than any other state. The last in­crease in the num­ber of mem­bers in the Leg­isla­tive As­sem­bly was three decades ago, when Queens­land’s pop­u­la­tion was 2.2 mil­lion. It is now 4.7 mil­lion. MPs have gone from rep­re­sent­ing 27,000 men, women and chil­dren in 1985 to a whop­ping 53,000 peo­ple. It’s no won­der elec­tors are con­cerned they can’t get an ap­point­ment to see their lo­cal MP when th­ese mem­bers are try­ing to cover vast elec­torates. De­mo­graphic shifts have meant that large ru­ral and re­gional seats have con­tin­ued to grow in area, to the ex­tent where the elec­torate of Mount Isa is now the size of France. The Mount Isa MP, Rob Kat­ter, said he of­ten had to sleep in his car overnight be­tween towns, go­ing hours with­out phone re­cep­tion. A re­dis­tri­bu­tion of seats is due next year, ready for the 2018 elec­tion. The LNP’s Re­dis­tri­bu­tion Bill, which aimed to es­tab­lish a fairer and more trans­par­ent re­dis­tri­bu­tion process, was bat­ted down by the Palaszczuk Gov­ern­ment. La­bor proved dur­ing the de­bate of this Bill that they are out of touch with re­gional Queens­land. This kind of ig­no­rance is hold­ing Queens­land back. We need a ma­ture dis­cus­sion about how bound­aries are re­drawn and by whom, how best to cater for peo­ple in ru­ral and re­gional ar­eas like Childers and to help MPs of all per­sua­sions to best rep­re­sent their vot­ers. Only the LNP can de­liver on this.

Stephen Ben­nett MP,

Mem­ber for Bur­nett

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