The Abolition of the Upper House of Queensland Parliament

The Upper House of Queensland Parliament (the Legislative Council) was abolished in 1922, and the State continues today without an Upper House.

Re-establishment remained a feature of the election platforms of the anti-Labor parties. In 1929, the Country Party prepared a draft Bill providing for the restoration of the Legislative Council without going to a referendum, but containing a provision preventing the Bill from being amended or repealed unless a referendum was held.

In 1934, through the Constitution Act Amendment Bills, Premier Forgan Smith’s Labor Government removed any threat that the Legislative Council would for could be revived. The Opposition forces boycotted the Bill, sitting coldly and silently throughout the second-reading debate,

In more recent times, consideration of the consolidation and review of the Queensland Constitution has been undertaken by:

• the Electoral and Administrative Review Commission (1993),
• the Parliamentary Committee for Electoral and Administrative Review (1993-94),
• the Parliamentary Legal, Constitutional and Administrative Review Committee (1998.2000), and
• the Queensland Constitutional Review Commission (1999-2000).

The Constitution of Queensland 2001 consolidated and modernised existing constitutional provisions. However, entrenched provisions, such as s 3 of the 1934 Constitution Act Amendment Act, which cannot be repealed or amended without the approval of the electors at a referendum remains.

Click to access 5311t4517.pdf

Click to access act-1934-035.pdf

In Bowyer v de Jersey [2017] QSC 340 the appellant contended that the Legislative Council was abolished unlawfully because the 1921 State Parliament did not have the powers to bypass triple-entrenched provisions to amend the Constitution Act 1867 (Qld) that made changes to the composition of the legislature. The argument was rejected.

Click to access bowyer-v-de-jersey-2017-qsc-340.pdf