All the talk in the media lately about whether or not the State Parliament should return to a 35-Member lower house makes us wonder: Are we asking the right question?
The fundamental intent of the size-of-parliament question is a good one: How do we increase the ability of our parliamentary representatives to represent us with thoughtfulness and deep understanding of the issues that affect Tasmanians?
But why are we locked to an answer that is either what we have now (a 25-seat House of Assembly) or what we used to have 20 years ago (a 35-seat House of Assembly)?
If our State is ready to be asking how our elected Members can better represent us, then we are ready to ask what the best way to do that really is.
TasCOSS believes we need to be asking a different question. Instead of going back to the way things were 20 years ago, we need to be thinking about the model that will best serve us for the next 20 years.
The question we should be asking is what model does our Parliament need to adopt in order to provide good governance, transparency of leadership and the ability for robust and responsible representation of the Tasmanian people?
Many parts of the world have strong representative democracies with parliamentary models that ensure the voices of citizens are front and centre and decision makers are able to act in the best interests of their communities and do the right thing by their citizens.
What is stopping us from finding the model that will do this for Tasmanians?