The Queensland Parliament is currently unmanageable, and it is no wonder the Premier is considering a snap early election in response to the threat from the Katter MPs and Rob Pyne to block the State Budget, as reported in this morning’s Courier-Mail. The need for an early election has been clear since at least December last year, when the Parliament passed one of the dumbest pieces of legislation passed by a western democratic parliament in decades: the Sugar Industry (Real Choice in Marketing) Amendment Act. This bizarre Act gives sugar cane growers a say in the marketing of the sugar made from their cane, even after they have sold the cane to the mill, creating a weird new property right that has never previously existed (see the Queensland Productivity Commission’s scathing assessment of the policy in the Regulatory Impact Assessment it prepared).
This Act would never have been passed in a normal parliament dominated by either Labor or the LNP. The Opposition, sensing an opportunity to embarrass the Government, sided with Katter Party MPs and Billy Gordon to pass the Act, which the Government opposed. This was a huge blow to the Government, because it showed it had lost control of the Parliament. All the Government could do was write to the ACCC and Federal Government in protest (see the ABC News report). Ever since that time, I have been of the strong view that, in the interests of good government and economic management, Queensland needs a new State election to get a more stable Parliament. The current situation is unsustainable and undesirable.