Southern Downs voter fires up over fixed term
MAJOR savings and better governance are some purported benefits for Queenslanders if politicians spent longer in parliament, but Warwick resident Al Cutmore said voting no in next week's referendum was the only way to "keep the buggers honest".
Coinciding with the state-wide local government elections on March 19, the referendum proposes changing Queensland's constitution to increase parliamentary terms from three years to four-year fixed terms after the next election.
Writing on his Facebook page Keep Queensland Free, Mr Cutmore, a vocal supporter of the "no" vote, described the referendum as the most serious assault on the rights of Queenslanders he had ever seen.
"Giving a four-year term would be in breach of the agreement made when the upper house was abolished in 1922 to only have three years of government, so people still had the right to remove a bad government without upper house control," Mr Cutmore said.
"This is similar to something that would be going on in the Kremlin.
"They're saying they need more time to get proper policy developed, but what are they doing while they're in opposition? Are they sitting on their hands?
"Communication is so much better now so there should be no reason they're taking so long to do everything. Stop procrastinating and get onto the job."
Southern Downs MP Lawrence Springborg was in Warwick on Friday to speak in support of the "yes vote (to increase terms), which has received bi-partisan support of both Labor and the LNP.
Though Mr Cutmore said he could see the benefit of legislating a three-year fixed term, he argued there was no need to spend millions on the referendum and extend government terms.
Having served nearly 26 years in parliament, the Opposition Leader also estimated less frequent elections could save the state's taxpayers $30-$40 million a term.
"Increasing the terms removes uncertainty and gives more stability for our voters," he said.
"At the moment it is up to the Premier to decide when they hold the election, but having fixed terms is putting people in the driver's seat.
"This is not about the ALP or LNP.
"It's about a system of good governance and it has received bipartisan support because both see the benefits."
Mr Cutmore rejected the idea fixed terms would give more power to the people, claiming the parliament had failed regional residents.
"The 'yes' vote campaign is telling so many damn lies; scurrilous actions by a desperate mob to get their way and to confuse the people," he said.
"[The ALP and LNP] are treating people of regional QLD like they're second- rate.
"The people who actually get to go to the polls on March 19 will all be flooded by information about voting 'yes' so we may as well not even vote in regional areas because it hasn't been a free and fair referendum."
How will you vote?
- PICK ONE OR PREFERENCE: On the mayoral ballot card, you may choose to either elect a single candidate, or preference the four candidates by numbering each box 1 to 4
- EIGHT IS THE MAGIC NUMBER: For the councillor ballot card, you must fill out exactly eight boxes corresponding to your eight preferred councillor candidates
- YES OR NO: On the state referendum card you can simply tick yes or no.
- MAKE IT COUNT: The official state-wide polling day is March 19 but votes will be received until March 29, so it is important they are mailed out in time to be counted.