Billy Gordon votes against bid for five more Qld seats
A PROPOSED bill which could have created up to five new seats in rural Queensland failed to pass through parliament on Wednesday night when controversial MP Billy Gordon broke with his Katter's Australian Party allies.
The LNP-proposed bill would have allowed the Queensland Electoral Commission to divide massive electorates like Warrego and Mt Isa and create up to five new seats.
The Opposition said the bill would give rural voters more say in the government. Noosa MP Glen Elmes said in opposing the bill the government was ensuring they would never again win western or northern seats.
"The one thing that has come out very clearly through this debate is that, once the speeches from those opposite me are read and heard in different parts of Queensland, it is guaranteed that the Labor Party will never win another seat west of the divide and chances are they will never win one north of the Tropic of Capricorn," he said.
The Labor Government opposed the bill saying it would move the parliament away from a "one vote, one value" electoral system.
Education Minister Kate Jones said the it was an attempt to revive Bjelke-Petersen-era election manipulation.
"This bill is a desperate attempt by members opposite to resurrect the unfair and undemocratic gerrymander of the Joh Bjelke-Petersen era," she said.
KAP MPs Robbie Katter and Shane Knuth, whose electorates might have been split under the proposal, supported the redistribution.
Cook MP Mr Gordon said opposing the bill was the "the hardest thing I have had to vote on since my time in the parliament".
"In opposing the bill I acknowledge that the proponents of the bill have been well motivated in their endeavours to improve representation to rural and remote regions of the state," he said.
"I oppose this bill not because I am not attracted to changes that help constituents access their local representatives, or the local member's capacity to better serve and represent them, I oppose the bill because I believe the methods the bill seeks to use to address the problem are fundamentally flawed."
Mr Gordon said improved electoral resources for rural and remote MPs was a fairer way to help politicians with huge electorates.
- APN NEWSDESK