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Political reformation

By Everald Compton - posted Thursday, 27 July 2017

Bill Shorten has recommended to Malcolm Turnbull that they join together in a bi-partisan attempt to hold a Referendum on Constitutional Change which will enable the Australian Parliament to have four year fixed terms. To his credit, Turnbull has left the door open for further discussions.

This is a good initiative that I will strongly support and I hope that you will too.

It will enable governments to spend at least their first year of office implementing difficult policies before they inevitably become obsessed with their pressing need to hold on to power at the next election.


In addition, fixed terms will cause Prime Ministers to cease their appallingly undemocratic practice of calling elections on a political whim, treating us all as fools in the process, just as Campbell Newman did so disastrously in Queensland and Theresa May did so arrogantly in Britain.

However, a Referendum will succeed only if other constitutional changes are made at the same time.

The first is that changes are needed in the Senate which is the most undemocratic institution on the planet, filled with people who have an enormously distorted vision of their unintended power and enjoy languishing there for six unaccountable years.

If the current practice of Senators serving double terms continues to be tolerated, they will have eight years before they face the voters again, which will be an absolute abuse of privilege, appalling by any democratic standards.

So, the Constitution must be changed so they serve one four year term only, exactly the same as the Members of the House of Representatives, with their elections being held at exactly the same time. The Constitution currently does not provide for this.

And the number of Senators must be drastically reduced.


Australia does not need a Parliament that elects 12 Senators from each State, most of whom do not have a clue as to how to fill their days. Five from each State is plenty and the financial savings will be enormous. This will mean that there will also be a lesser number of crossbenchers who can stop a Government from carrying out the mandates on which they were elected.

At the same time, the Constitution must be changed to say that the House of Representatives can never have more than 100 electorates. We have far too many Members of Parliament, over 150 in fact, despite the fact that we live in a world where most voters are disgusted with politics and want the least number of politicians possible.

Along with this, we must also abolish preferential voting which is massively manipulated by politicians and creates situations in which it can takes months to decide who won. Whoever is first past the post must always win and we can know on Election night who our next government will be.

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About the Author

Everald Compton is Chairman of The Longevity Forum, a not for profit entity which is implementing The Blueprint for an Ageing Australia. He was a Founding Director of National Seniors Australia and served as its Chairman for 25 years. Subsequently , he was Chairman for three years of the Federal Government's Advisory Panel on Positive Ageing.

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