Qld officially backs fixed four-year terms

By Jamie McKinnell
Residents have officially voted in favour of four-year parliamentary terms in Queensland.

Future governments in Queensland will serve an extra year in office after residents officially voted in favour of four-year parliamentary terms.

The Electoral Commission Queensland on Tuesday confirmed the result of the 2016 state referendum on the issue, held to coincide with local government elections last month, had been declared in the positive with 80 per cent of votes counted.

Fifty-one per cent of voters were in favour of an Act to extend parliamentary terms while 46 per cent were opposed.

Electoral Commissioner Walter van der Merwe said the result was a historic moment for Queensland.

"A change from three to four year terms was previously rejected by Queenslanders at the 1991 referendum," he said.

"This is only the third successful referendum in Queensland's history."

It was the first referendum to return a positive result since 1910, when voters were asked to support religious instruction in schools.

In 1899, Queensland held a referendum to join the federation of Australia which was also resolved with a "yes" vote.

The change will bring Queensland into line with other states and territories.

Both the government and the opposition supported the case for four-year terms and argued it would allow for greater certainty about the timing of elections.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk will decide when the next election, due by 2018, will be held but from then on polls will take place in late October.

Katter's Australian Party led the campaign against four-year terms, along with a host of minor parties, by arguing it would allow bad governments to stay in power for longer and that the state's democracy already suffered due to the lack of an upper house.