Governor signs Writ for Queensland referendum

For the first time this century, the Governor has signed a Writ for a referendum in Queensland.  

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The Governor is the representative of Queensland’s Head of State, and undertakes various important constitutional, community and ceremonial duties.

One of the Governor’s rarely exercised constitutional duties – referenda have only happened only 7 times previously in Queensland, the last time in 1992 – is signing Writs which bring about referenda. 

Some parts of Queensland’s Constitution – including the provision which says the Queensland Parliament shall not continue for longer than 3 years – need to be taken to the people before they can be altered.

Before a referendum can be held, Parliament first passes a Bill, or settles on a question, to be taken to the people.

The Governor then signs the Writ. In practice, the Governor is advised by Executive Council in the exercise of this power.

The Writ empowers the Electoral Commission of Queensland to conduct the referendum in accordance with the details contained in the Writ and the laws of Queensland.  

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The signing of a Writ happened today (8 February 2016), and there will be a referendum in Queensland on 19 March 2016 for 4 year fixed parliamentary terms.

If a majority of electors voting approve the Bill presented at the referendum, the Bill is presented to the Governor for Assent.