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Votersí dislike of politics makes fixed four-year parliamentary terms look appealing

Jamie Fellows writes in The Conversation (24.2.17) about the recent proposal by NSW Liberal MP, David Coleman, to introduce fixed four-year terms for the federal Parliament.

'Liberal MP David Coleman plans to introduce a private member’s bill to bring in fixed, four-year terms for the House of Representatives. Currently, our federal lower house is elected to serve up to three years. As Coleman notes:

'Since Federation … the average term has been a little more than two-and-a-half years, as prime ministers have wide discretion to call an election at a time of their choosing.

'The House of Representatives is the only lower house chamber in the Australian parliamentary system with non-fixed three-year terms.

'In March 2016, Queenslanders voted in a referendum to adopt fixed, four-year terms for members in the state’s lower house. Although the result could hardly be described as a landslide endorsement (53% yes; 47% no) the victory is a salient message to those in the federal parliament. People are likely to vote for longer parliamentary terms. They want fewer elections and are dissatisfied with politics.'

 

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