Bill to amend the Constitution of Queensland by abolishing the Legislative Council.

A non-elected body, the Legislative Council had been the bastion of conservatism in Queensland since the colony’s Separation. The position of the Upper House had largely gone unchallenged until the election of a reformist Labor government led by Premier Thomas Ryan in 1915. Ryan made it clear from the outset that any interference with his government’s social and economic reforms would not be tolerated, and the first tentative attack on the Legislative Council came in November 1915 when Ryan introduced a Bill to amend the State’s Constitution by abolishing the Upper House. A tense struggle ensued over the next six years, and during the period from October 1917 to March 1920 a string of government appointees took their places in the Council. A second reading of the Constitution Act Amendment Bill was finally passed without amendment by 28 votes to 10 on 3 November 1921, the Act being proclaimed on 23 March 1922. The abolition of the Legislative Council meant that Queensland became, and remains, the only Australian State with a unicameral parliament.


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