Major voting changes have been passed in Queensland, with Parliament approving four more MPs and a return to compulsory preferential voting. It will now be compulsory to number every square on the ballot box, a move which would have given Labor an extra eight seats and a majority government in last year’s election. In what was a see-saw battle for control of the legislative agenda, Labor managed to force through an amendment to a Liberal National Party (LNP) bill. The LNP’s Electoral (Improving Representation) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill to increase the number of seats from 89 to 93 was set to pass with crossbench support. But in a surprise move, Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath proposed an amendment to also include the reintroduction of compulsory preferential voting. Katter’s Australian Party and independent MPs supported the bill to number all boxes.
The LNP accused Labor of being opportunistic and undemocratic by rushing through changes without it going to committee for review. “This is the most disingenuous act of corruption and bastardry that I’ve ever witnessed in this Parliament,” Ros Bates said.
If the party won the next election, Opposition Leader Lawrence Springborg said they would move to change the system back. “We would put it to a proper consultative process to the people,” Mr Springborg said.