Former Labor Prime Minister Bob Hawke wants the major parties to relinquish their right to caucus on certain matters, saying his plan will restore the public's faith in parliament.
Mr Hawke says decisions are not made in parliament - where the debate is a charade - but in the governing party's room and, on some matters at least, this should change.
"What goes on in parliament is a charade," Mr Hawke said.
"It would be marvellous if whoever's in government would say, `We'll go to the election with a clear legislative program ... but there are some issues on which we can see there are genuine arguments both ways'."
He said the ruling party could introduce draft legislation to say there will be no caucusing on either side, and the members could undertake to abide by the decision of the parliament.
Mr Hawke said he had discussed his plan with Labor leaders and wanted to broach it with Prime Minister Tony Abbott.
His comments came at a leadership lecture in Melbourne on Wednesday where he bemoaned the public's lack of faith in the major parties and the parliament.
"I think one of the tragedies of the current situation in Australian politics is the way in which the parliament is regarded by most Australians with disrespect and indeed contempt," Mr Hawke said."If the public starts to see the major parties have genuine debates, not charades, then you can't do anything more important than that."