Compulsory preferential voting 'a good reform' for Queensland, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says

Labor had "every right" to bypass the committee system and bring back compulsory preferential voting with no public consultation, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says.

The Queensland Government has been criticised for not allowing scrutiny of the voting reform, which it attached to the LNP's Electoral (Improving Representation) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill to add four seats to State Parliament during debate on Thursday night.

It will now be compulsory to number every square on a ballot paper, a move that would have given Labor an extra eight seats and a majority government in last year's election.

Ms Palaszczuk defended her minority government's move.

"The LNP introduced a bill to increase the number of politicians in this state — it was something that I did not support," Ms Palaszczuk said.

Antony Green's analysis

Such unannounced, major change is exactly the sort of slip shod legislative behaviour that the single chamber Queensland Parliament has been criticised for so often.

"They bypassed the committee system and the Government has every right to put forward their amendments.

"We're in minority government and this is a good reform now that we are consistent with the federal sphere and also every other state except New South Wales."

The Government also rejected the Opposition's criticism that the return of full preferential voting flew in the face of Fitzgerald-era reforms.

Leader of the House, Stirling Hinchliffe, said times had changed since optional preferencing began in 1992.

"Twenty-five five years on [from the post-Fitzgerald reforms] there's been a lot of experiences, a lot of concerns expressed, especially since the early 2000s when we've seen parties very actively promoting the concept of 'just voting one'," Mr Hinchliffe said.

"That has flowed on to some impact in terms of disenfranchising some people."

Government made a 'crooked move'

However Opposition Leader Lawrence Springborg said it was a "crooked move" to "fix" elections.

"What happened last night was Annastacia Palaszczuk rampaged back to the pre-Fitzgerald era," Mr Springborg said.

"There is no consideration, no regard for the rights of Queenslanders.

"If the Government wanted to do this, it should have been properly referred to a parliamentary committee and taken to the people of Queensland."

Mr Springborg said the LNP would seek to switch back to optional preferential voting if it won the next election.

"We believe that it should stay the way that it was," he said.

"However having said that, we would put it to a proper consultative process to the people — if the people felt that it should come back, then it would."

Source: ABC News

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