The following article was authored by Sandy Bolton MP and published in the Noosa Today on the 27th of October 2023:

This week whilst In Parliament I was invited to be a guest speaker by the Australasian Study of Parliament Group to the topic ‘The Two-Party System – Past, Present, and the Future.’

Now before you flick the page to something a bit ‘juicier’, this is one of the most important topics to discuss, as you will understand further on. Why? Because ultimately, every single aspect of our lives is being impacted by the ‘tug of war’ between political parties where ‘winning’ dominates over ‘collaborating’.

As I relayed on Monday night, as a society, we can only benefit from analyzing how we can improve our governance and political systems, in order to deliver the best for Queensland.

Having spoken previously about the need, and fought now for 4 years, for a review of the current committee system, (we are nearly there!) I will not rehash except to say that it is essential to do this when your Parliament is unicameral and doesn’t have an Upper House. This is especially true in the climate we are experiencing in the Queensland two party system, as well at a federal level, where more than ever, bipartisan agreements are needed. To get that, appropriate processes that encourage consensus through negotiation are required.

We must reduce endless nonproductive cycles, where major legislation, projects or initiatives are brought in, to be overturned/defunded at a change of government, then reverted back. It’s costly, frustrating and a waste of time.

In addition, there needs to be a decrease in the devastation created by divisions in our communities and families as we saw during the pandemic and with the Voice referendum. This should always have been a bipartisan endeavour, never a ‘political football’ which, regardless of how you voted, was deemed disgraceful.

For Queensland, with the long process of Path to Treaty underway, which to clarify does not start actual negotiations nor give the Government any powers to implement a treaty as yet, may the focus be on bipartisanism and transparency as we are doing with the Youth Justice Reform Committee, which I am honoured to chair.

There are ways to improve the status quo on many fronts. First, that much needed Committee review I mentioned previously to promote bipartisanship. Second, increased capabilities of our public service sector which as I have advocated for, now has extra funding allocated for the Public Service Commission to address.

Both of these major contributors to poor outcomes and greater disengagement across our country are byproducts of our two-party system that was imported from the UK as was our constitution, which has no reference to parties. Little thought seems to have been undertaken on how an improved system could be developed, then or since.

Hence, we continue to see the two-party battle played out in scenes reminiscent of an old military tactics and worn out political strategy of ‘divide and conquer’. Neither serve Queensland or Australia well any longer.

The COVID pandemic, and ongoing fallout, which is being demonstrated in multiple statistical realms, highlighted the importance of greater transparency, accountability, and stability in our governance. Over 2 years of requests for a full inquiry to ensure we do not repeat the errors of the past have led to little response from any ‘colour’ with the Federal Government Independent Inquiry being watered down.

As noted in the recently released book Locked-Up Country, this slide back to business as usual suggests that next time might not be different – with parties and governments reticent to take a deep look at their actions and what they could have done better because of the fear their opposition will attack them. We see this every day, in every debate, decision and headline.

The authors then furthered that the demands of society need to be articulated and organized into a new democratic movement, that is more responsive to everyday citizen’s needs. Now what would that look like?

In addition, a fundamental restructuring that would involve building up the public service capacity instead of outsourcing to the private sector, to preempt, analyse, and plan longer into the future beyond an election cycle through bipartisan agreements to deliver surety. That no level of government regardless of ‘colour’ and warnings acted to prevent our housing crisis, is just one example where the costs to our society keep rising through reactionary responses versus proactive governance, the usual blame game, and a lack of collaboration and bipartisanship.

Ultimately, there is an increasing call for political leaders to be accountable to their constituencies rather than state or nationwide political strategies and policies that are broad sweeping, making it easy for those elected to evade responsibility.

Over the last decade, we have seen a rise in women representatives, as well minor parties and independents in both federal and state parliaments. Customization is being sought by Queenslanders, whether to localities by communities of interest such as Katter Country, or to forward advocacies for specific interests such as the Shooter, Fisher and Farmers or Animal Justice parties as examples.

We also see electorates choosing MP’s to reflect their own community and assess each issue or piece of legislation in relation to their collective views, which for our electorate I call the ‘Noosa position’. This has increased momentum from when independents such as Liz Cunningham in Gladstone 1995, Clover Moore in Sydney 2007, and Cathy McGowan in Indi 2010 were elected. With 7 teal independents at the last federal election, is this trend here to stay?

We can only hope so, and that Queenslanders and Australians continue to seek more from their representatives than a party ‘byline’ or policy, and that as a result, parties morph into alliances where their members vote in line with their community, versus a party position.

To quote Cathy McGowan’s Kitchen Table conversations.

“Each one of us can play a constructive part in lifting standards of behaviour, focusing on ideas and policies and strengthening the way we are represented.”

Ultimately, as Winston Churchill stated that it had been said, democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time!

Whether we move to a ‘new’ democracy as referred to or not, we need greater transparency, accountability and responsibility, and not accepting ‘because’.

As I finished my speech with, we are at the cusp, who will join in? This is where a crystal ball would be handy!

Now to a couple of important messages before I go as we are coming into the Christmas period!

Our office is a collection point for Hope in a Suitcase, DV phones and a Christmas Wishing tree, so please drop off vouchers or items for dignity bags for our Noosa families in refuges by November the 30th.

In addition, keep an eye out early December for our Annual Connect and Noosa MP Community Survey in your letterbox, which has lots of important information and updates.

As always, stay in the loop via subscribing to our newsletter at which ensures you receive into your inbox Noosa specific surveys and polls.

And finally, with fire season here, please tell me you have prepared including your evacuation kits?!  If not, head right now to and yes, get ready! In addition, we have our Rural Fire brigades and SES needing volunteers, so head to to sign up. If that is not quite to your liking, we have hundreds of organisations including Pomona Meals on Wheels needing YOU…so add your skills to make a real difference in our community.

Until next month, enjoy this small respite before the festive season starts as I have a feeling it will be more than busy!