How Legislative Reforms in Western Australia Consolidate an Elected Dictatorship

Commentary Despite repeated claims during the Western Australian (WA) election campaign, Premier Mark McGowan has swiftly used his parliamentary majority to overhaul the state electoral laws. The passage of the Constitutional and Electoral Legislation Amendment (Electoral Equality) Bill through Parliament introduces a single state-wide electorate for the Upper House. The six Legislative Council regions, with each electing six representatives, will be replaced by a monolithic electorate comprising the whole territory of WA. Why is strong regional representation in the WA Parliament so important? It has long been held that accountable government requires an effective separation of legislative, executive, and judicial powers. Accountability is central to the democratic government, but this is not possible if power is concentrated in the hands of a few. However, the design and operation of our current parliamentary system is not dispersing institutional powers, making accountability difficult to achieve. In WA, the Crown no longer has …

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