13 April 2006

South Australia doesn’t want one. The New South Wales one saved the State from additional road tolls. Why doesn’t Queensland have one?

UQ`s TC Beirne School of Law is hosting a conference which asks why Queensland is the only Australian state without an upper house of Parliament.

The Improving Government Accountability in Queensland: The Upper House Solution? conference on April 21 will place the spotlight on whether Queensland could benefit from the reintroduction of an upper house as a means of improving scrutiny of government decisions.

The conference will be addressed by a number of prominent speakers, including former Governor-General The Hon Bill Hayden, former federal Attorney-General The Hon Michael Lavarch, Senators George Brandis and John Hogg, former Senator Meg Lees, the Clerk of the Senate Harry Evans, Justice Bruce McPherson of the Queensland Court of Appeal, and the President of the Australian Council for Civil Liberties Terry O’Gorman.

The issue of the relevance of an upper house in state politics has become topical in recent weeks, with the announcement that South Australia may review its own upper house.

The recently re-elected Premier of South Australia, Mike Rann, has suggested he will be seeking to review the role of the upper house, reigniting interest in the role of upper houses as mechanisms which review the actions of government.

In New South Wales, the watchdog role of the upper house has been highlighted in recent months when its actions forced the Iemma Government to back down from its bid to establish additional road tolls.

The conference will be held in Brisbane at Customs House.

Also addressing the conference will be a number of leading legal scholars and political scientists, including Professor Colin Hughes, Professor Gerard Carney and Associate Professor Paul Reynolds.

For further information and registration please visit www.law.uq.edu.au/upperhouse or email Dr Nicholas Aroney (UQ) n.aroney@law.uq.edu.au or Dr Scott Prasser (USC), scottprasser@optusnet.com.au.