LNP and crossbench MPs unite to push bill to increase Queensland Parliament seats
It could be third time lucky for the backers of a push to expand the size of Queensland's Parliament to match the growth in the state's population.
Independent MP Rob Pyne has voted with the LNP and Katter's Australian Party MPs to allow a debate this Thursday on a new Electoral (Improving Representation) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill.
Last year, the LNP and the Katter MPs both failed to pass bills to increase the number of seats, but could succeed later this week with Mr Pyne's support.
Shadow attorney-general Ian Walker said the bill would increase the number of electoral districts from 89 to 93.
"This issue of how Queenslanders are represented and the process of determining that representation is obviously not a new debate to this Parliament but it is an important one," he said.
"As members on this side have travelled around Queensland, what's abundantly clear is that representation for regional Queensland is an extremely important issue, which is why we are seeking to debate this issue for a third time."
Mr Walker said the new bill contained parts of the previous LNP bill debated last year, along with parts of the previous Katter party bill.
"In essence, it's a hybrid model of those two bills," he said.
"As a Parliament we need to recognise that extra technology, staff or offices won't solve the issues of density and sparse population that communities in remote parts of the state deal with on a daily basis.
"The number of electoral districts in Queensland has not increased since 1986."
Faced with the prospect of losing the third round of the fight against a bigger Parliament, Leader of Government Business Stirling Hinchliffe appealed to MPs to reject the LNP bill.
"This house has [twice] made a decision in relation to the reintroduction effectively of some form of gerrymander," Mr Hinchliffe said.
"What we see here is those opposite trying on a stunt that distracts from the true business of this house."
Mr Hinchliffe said MPs should "not be pulled sideways and pulled asunder on this crazy reprosecution of something that has been dealt with by this Parliament"
Source: ABC News