Democracy

(Adopted October 2015; updated August 2017; updated December 2020)

Principles

The Queensland Greens believe that:

1. Public participation in political, social and economic decision-making should be increased.

2. Our democratic and electoral institutions should aim to empower individuals.

3. A democratic parliamentary system should include:       

a) A constitution enshrined in law by a referendum,

b) A Charter of Rights,

c) Separation of powers,

d) An independent public service,

e) A system of checks and balances,

f) Genuine representation of the community in elected bodies,

g) Public debate based on adequate information and evidence to underpin the making of laws and policy, and

h) Transparency and accountability in all levels of government decision-making.

4. A system of proportional representation at state and local level provides the best and fairest manner of ensuring all sections of the community have a voice in elected bodies

5. Recognition of local government in the Queensland Constitution should be enhanced. 

6. Formal participative processes are a necessary and legitimate means of engaging communities and community bodies in the processes of government.

7. Marginalised groups should be given real opportunities to participate in policy debates.

8. Fixed terms of office with fixed election dates should be combined with a recall mechanism available via a citizen initiated referendum. 

9. The influence of money must be eliminated in election campaigns.

10. Community organisations and individuals, including public servants, should be able to participate in public debate without fear of retribution.

11. The right to protest and dissent is inherent to the functioning of a democracy.

Aims

The Queensland Greens will:

1. Introduce a system of proportional representation for both state and local government:-

i) with a de facto low threshold for achieving representation, and no arbitrary exclusion threshold;

ii) that includes a significant proportion of levelling seats, with lists generated by voters.

2. Support compulsory voting with compulsory preferential voting.

3. Introduce a comprehensive and enforceable Charter of Rights for Queensland, including political and economic rights.

4. Introduce fixed three year terms for the Legislative Assembly.

5. Ensure the Electoral Commission has sufficient resources to educate the electorate on the importance, legal requirements, and systems of voting and has the facilities for the enrolment of voters.

6. Provide resources to First Nations Peoples to support full participation in government and community consultation processes.

7. Provide non-government members of parliament with adequate resources to enable them to effectively carry out their responsibilities.

8. Make parliamentary salaries, allowances and resources determined by a body independent of parliament or government such as a citizen’s jury.

9. Make parliamentary salaries and allowance linked to the median wage for Queensland.

10. Enact appropriate caps for political donations and campaign expenditure.

11. Require significant public funding of election campaigns as necessary for a level playing field for candidates.

12. Require political donations to be declared before funds become available for use.

13. Ban political donations from for-profit corporations.

14. Reform the process of appointing public servants to be based on merit and remove patronage.

15. Support a referendum on the introduction of a proportional upper house.

16. Strengthen the Whistleblowers' Protection Act.

17. Review regulations regarding How to Vote cards, electoral signage and other material to standardise the information available to voters.

18. Strengthen Right to Information (RTI) legislation so that it includes:

a) An Information Commissioner with powers of investigation to examine if government denials and appeals against RTI exposure conform to the Act,   

b) RTI coverage of government owned corporations and departments, 

c) Electronic provision of materials to avoid photocopy and labour search charges on materials requested under RTI,

d) No significant charge for RTI applications.

19. Reverse the onus for freedom of information so that by default information is public with exceptions for individual privacy, and require government to apply to an independent commission for any exemption.

20. Introduce legislation to counter strategic lawsuits against public participation (SLAPPs).

21. Lower the voting age to 16.

22. Enfranchise people who are incarcerated.

23. Enfranchise permanent residents.

24. Ensure that for a period of at least five years following their term, Ministers and their senior staff cannot be engaged in lobbying for, or undertaking any position in, a for-profit enterprise which raises a conflict or particular benefit from their role and connections developed as a Minister or senior member of staff. 

25. Remove the representation of the monarch in state government and replace it with a democratic alternative.

26. Enable Queenslanders to be able to trigger a parliamentary debate on petitions which receive a fixed number of signatures.

27. Ensure strikes, protests, demonstrations and boycotts are not criminalised but rather enshrined as a democratic right.

28. Ensure that there are effective anti-corruption bodies responsible for the electoral system, parliament, the executive and public administration, and that these have:- 

a) a broad jurisdiction to investigate any conduct that could directly or indirectly seriously or systemically adversely affect the honest or impartial exercise of public administration;

b) the ability to take submissions and initiate investigations; 

c) he investigative powers of a Royal Commission;

d) the status of an independent statutory body safe from interference or influence by the executive;

e) sufficient budget guaranteed to effectively carry out their functions;

f) public hearings.

g) introduce citizen juries as an option to judge matters of parliamentary or council conduct.

29. Expand democratic participation in community led decision-making through mechanisms such as meaningful community empowerment, community votes, and citizen assemblies or juries.