Rob Borbidge says upper house not needed

Widely tipped to be Queensland's next governor, Rob Borbidge has changed his mind about the state's need for an upper house.

Mr Borbidge campaigned on the issue during the 1995 state election, promising a referendum if the Liberal-National Coalition was elected.

"At present, the Parliament is a joke," he said at the time. "It is not working properly. The committee system is not working properly and accountability is a charade. It might not be this way if there was a house of review."

Mr Borbidge was elected premier following the 1996 hung parliament when independent MP Liz Cunningham cast the deciding vote, but Labor MPs did not support the calls for a referendum and the issue was consigned to history.

Ms Cunningham, who has always supported the need for a Queensland house of review, was sacked from the parliamentary crime and misconduct commission oversight committee, along with the rest of its members, last month.

Following the controversial motion, Ms Cunningham and fellow commission member and independent MP Peter Wellington called for an upper house to be established to protect the integrity of the parliamentary process from politics.

But Mr Borbidge said he now believed Queenslanders had no appetite for a legislative council.

"When we gave it consideration early in the term of our government, it was just clear that people would not accept the idea," he said. "They don't want it, they don't want more politicians; they think we have too many politicians already, so the idea of creating an upper chamber full of politicians is something that I think is anathema to the electorate.

"I think the committee system works well, from my observations."

Mr Borbidge said upper houses were "not covering themselves in glory at the moment" as it was.

"There is lots of concern about what has recently happened in the Senate, what's happened in terms of the NSW upper house and there is a feeling in the electorate it is not the solution to providing improved parliamentary accountability," he said.

He said the government was right to sack the commission.

"Inevitably, if you had parliamentary committees where non-government MPs are in a majority, those non-government MPs will be seeking to make life difficult for the government," he said.

Asked about rumours that he would become the state's next representative to the Queen when Governor Penelope Wensley's term expires in July 2014, he had a laugh and a polite "no comment".

"I only know what I have read," he said.

"I really don't know and can't comment. That is a matter, a decision for the Premier to make in due course and for him to make a recommendation to the Queen, but I've not discussed the matter with anyone, aside from interested journalists."

Queensland's upper house was abolished in 1922, following a campaign by the Labor Party. A parliamentary committee review system, made up of both government and opposition members, was put in its place.

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