Experts to discuss fixed four-year terms for the Australian Parliament

Issue date: Monday, 16 September 2019

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Should Australia move to fixed four-year parliamentary terms? A parliamentary committee will hold a roundtable discussion on this topic on Thursday 7 November 2019, and has invited questions and views from the public.

Mr Andrew Wallace MP, Chair of the House Social Policy and Legal Affairs Committee, says the Australian Parliament’s House of Representatives is the only lower house in the country with three-year parliamentary terms.

‘Four-year terms could address the community’s concerns about the revolving doors of politicians and policy by providing more stability and opportunities for longer-term outcomes’, Mr Wallace said.

‘All of our state and territory parliaments have four-year lower house terms, with Queensland moving to four-year terms in 2020 following a successful referendum in 2016.

‘On the other hand, there may be down-sides to fixed parliamentary terms. Current events in the United Kingdom show that this issue is one that needs careful consideration’.

The roundtable will consist of a panel of Constitutional experts including Laureate Professor Emeritus Cheryl Saunders, Professor Gabrielle Appleby, Professor Anne Twomey and Professor George Williams.

‘Any change to parliamentary terms would require popular support from voters, so we’re offering voters the opportunity to be involved in the process from the very beginning’, Mr Wallace said.

The roundtable will be open to the public and streamed live on the Parliament’s website. You can participate by submitting your questions and views via the roundtable website.

The Committee will also consider questions posted live on Twitter on the day of the roundtable. The House’s Twitter account, @AbouttheHouse, will post live commentary from the event.

Following the roundtable, the Committee intends to present a short report to the House reflecting the issues discussed.

For more information go to the Committee’s website.

Public roundtable details

Date: Thursday 7 November, 2019
Time: 9.00 am to 12.15 pm
Location: Committee Room 2R1, Parliament House, Canberra

The hearing will be broadcast live at

Media inquiries
Mr Andrew Wallace, Chair of Committee
Mr Simon Thwaites
0439 972 667

For background information
Committee Secretariat
02 6277 2358

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