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Andrew Leigh pushes for 5 x 5

By 28 February 2013 32

Labor Member for Fraser Andrew Leigh has published his submission to the ACT Electoral Commission’s Expert Reference Group and it’s inquiry into the size of the ACT Legislative Assembly.

Like any smart observer he wants an expansion to a setup five five electorates each returning five members. (rather than the current nutso 5, 5, 7 arrangement).

As the population of Canberra continues to increase, the interests of the community could be disadvantaged by ongoing underrepresentation. Increasing the Assembly to 25 MLAs (consisting of five electorates, each returning five members) would provide the people of Canberra with a total of 29 elected representatives, or 1 per 12, 931 people. This would still be well below other states and territories (and less than half of what the cube root rule would suggest), but it would be a significant improvement on the current situation. A 25-member Assembly would provide Canberra with a level of representation per-person comparable to that in 1989, when the territory attained self-government.

In my view, a 25-member Assembly is the smallest that ought to be considered. If the Assembly is increased to 25 members, I believe that it should only be done with an indexation formula built in, which would (for example) allow an increase from 25 members to 35 members (seven electorates, each with five members) once the ACT population has increased by a certain amount (eg. 10 per cent) from today’s level. Legislating such an increase would provide a defensible and predictable default for future generations, who could always choose to vary it if they wished.

An increase of the Ministry would also be nice.

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32 Responses to
Andrew Leigh pushes for 5 x 5
Proboscus 12:48 pm
28 Feb 13
#1

If this model gets the go ahead, then the ACT will perennially have a Labor government because the Greens will win a few more seats in the Legislative Assembly and then they will align themselves with the ALP.

johnboy 12:50 pm
28 Feb 13
#2

How terrible that the numbers in the assembly should represent the community!

Libs took three of five in Brindabella last year. Your analysis doesn’t bear up to reality.

watto23 1:02 pm
28 Feb 13
#3

Proboscus said :

If this model gets the go ahead, then the ACT will perennially have a Labor government because the Greens will win a few more seats in the Legislative Assembly and then they will align themselves with the ALP.

More of an issue of quality independents and other parties.
Admittedlly the greens get more support than the extreme conservative parties, but thats the nature of society at the moment.

Zed jumping probably does more harm to local liberals than a 5×5 system would do.

LegalNut 1:12 pm
28 Feb 13
#4

@Proboscus – The only setup that wouldn’t guarantee Labor government would be to massively gerrymander the electorates. It doesn’t matter if the electorates have 5, 7 or 9 members, the chances are that a Labor/Greens combination will be elected.

Alderney 1:15 pm
28 Feb 13
#5

I think the good Doctor has been a little muddled with his figures.

He states that a 25 member assembly would equate to a MLA per 12 931 persons, but there are only 256 702 electors on the roll at the last election therefore, a 25 member assembly will return 1 MLA to each 10 268 electors.

Personally, I’d go for 25 single member electorates and let the prospective MsLA have a closer, more personal affinity with the electors.

Chop71 1:42 pm
28 Feb 13
#6

Andrew,

You have not mentioned the cost of the increase in MLA’s.
Also you have made no reference to the reduction of sitting days.

p1 1:49 pm
28 Feb 13
#7

Alderney said :

Personally, I’d go for 25 single member electorates and let the prospective MsLA have a closer, more personal affinity with the electors.

Really? I was leaning the other way – 1000 twenty member electorates, and we hold the Assembly meeting in Bruce Stadium at half time during Brumbies matches.

Jim Jones 1:57 pm
28 Feb 13
#8

johnboy said :

How terrible that the numbers in the assembly should represent the community!

Libs took three of five in Brindabella last year. Your analysis doesn’t bear up to reality.

Reality has a left-wing bias and should be ignored in favour of talkback radio.

damien haas 2:03 pm
28 Feb 13
#9

I’d like 25 electorates and 25 members. There are occasionally some very lazy MLA’s that coast in on leader quota overflow. Some personal accountability would aid their motivation, resulting in a better outcome for constituents.

DrKoresh 2:10 pm
28 Feb 13
#10

watto23 said :

Zed jumping probably does more harm to local liberals than a 5×5 system would do.

I dunno, I wouldn’t say that. I might vote for them now that Zed’s out of the picture.

johnboy 2:11 pm
28 Feb 13
#11

The lazy ones rarely get re-elected when younger and hungrier candidates come forward.

c_c™ 2:15 pm
28 Feb 13
#12

Proboscus said :

If this model gets the go ahead, then the ACT will perennially have a Labor government because the Greens will win a few more seats in the Legislative Assembly and then they will align themselves with the ALP.

No, not really.

Primal 2:23 pm
28 Feb 13
#13

25 members, names to be drawn from the ACT electoral roll at random. Like jury duty, but for three years…

Ben_Dover 2:27 pm
28 Feb 13
#14

It’s bad enough with 17 of the buggers spending our money hand over fist. Think of what carnage 25 could impose on us.

Tom Swann 2:43 pm
28 Feb 13
#15

Mixed Proportional Representation!!!

As in NZ, Germany

Many small electorates, could be single member or multi member, and then an ‘overflow’ that is allocated to make sure the Assembly represents the Territory wide vote.

Best of both worlds.

bikhet 2:53 pm
28 Feb 13
#16

Ben_Dover said :

It’s bad enough with 17 of the buggers spending our money hand over fist. Think of what carnage 25 will impose on us.

There, fixed it for you.

bundah 3:06 pm
28 Feb 13
#17

Seems like a sensible approach not unlike appointing two additional judges.If we are prepared to allocate money for additional members then there is absolutely no reason not to do the same for the judiciary.

damien haas 3:14 pm
28 Feb 13
#18

johnboy said :

The lazy ones rarely get re-elected when younger and hungrier candidates come forward.

Hare Clark in the ACT has 30% turnover.

gungsuperstar 3:29 pm
28 Feb 13
#19

damien haas said :

I’d like 25 electorates and 25 members. There are occasionally some very lazy MLA’s that coast in on leader quota overflow. Some personal accountability would aid their motivation, resulting in a better outcome for constituents.

Hare Clarke is the only way to get proportional representation in the ACT – the CT had an article on election day last year that indicated that for the last 2 elections, using 17 single seat electorates would’ve resulted in 15 Labor Party candidates being elected. That’s not representative, nor is it particularly good for democracy (see: Newman’s reign of terror in Qld).

PrinceOfAles 5:00 pm
28 Feb 13
#20

p1 said :

Alderney said :

Personally, I’d go for 25 single member electorates and let the prospective MsLA have a closer, more personal affinity with the electors.

Really? I was leaning the other way – 1000 twenty member electorates, and we hold the Assembly meeting in Bruce Stadium at half time during Brumbies matches.

That`s absurd. It should be at Manuka under the new lights.

Gungahlin Al 5:22 pm
28 Feb 13
#21

damien haas said :

I’d like 25 electorates and 25 members. There are occasionally some very lazy MLA’s that coast in on leader quota overflow. Some personal accountability would aid their motivation, resulting in a better outcome for constituents.

That doesn’t stand scrutiny Damien. Single member electorates lead to appalling governance when coupled with a single-house parliament. You kiss goodbye to all accountability for the entire term because there are no checks and balances. Majority single house government was hopeless under Peter Beattie and Anna Bligh, is even more so under Campbell Newman.

We have an Assembly size that suited the ACT years ago for a population half the size. I want good governance, and that means acceptable workloads. I lean the 5×5 model, even though I know it will be very hard for Greens to ever get more than one MLA in a seat. The balance is that ther electorate size is more reasonable to serve and be across the issues of, more affordable to campaign in, and more answerable to specific geographic communities.

3×7 leaves the electorates so large that they continue to only be reasonable for parties to campaign in, except for independent candidates who are well cashed up, which *may* itself point to them being less desirable.

caf 6:51 pm
28 Feb 13
#22

Proboscus said :

If this model gets the go ahead, then the ACT will perennially have a Labor government because the Greens will win a few more seats in the Legislative Assembly and then they will align themselves with the ALP.

This is not the case. The quota for election in each electorate depends on the number of members – in a seven member electorate (eg. the current Molonglo), the quota is 12.5%; in a five member electorate (as in the 5×5 proposal), the quota is 16.7%.

This means that it’s harder for the Greens (and the other minor parties/independents) to get elected in 5 member electorates. At the most recent election, the Greens’ only successful candidate was elected in the seven-member electorate.

steveu 8:18 pm
28 Feb 13
#23

I don’t think canberra s have been convinced that the local council has actually worked;adding more politicians to the mix isn’t going to help IMHO. Personally I would like to see the cost savings over the last decade since we had them imposed on us.

Tetranitrate 8:20 pm
28 Feb 13
#24

I don’t think there’s much question of the need to change the system – having electorates with differing numbers of electors and therefore different quotas is pretty poor form.

Question is more 5×5 vs 3×7.

Tetranitrate 8:36 pm
28 Feb 13
#25

steveu said :

I don’t think canberra s have been convinced that the local council has actually worked;adding more politicians to the mix isn’t going to help IMHO. Personally I would like to see the cost savings over the last decade since we had them imposed on us.

I’m afraid it’s been more than two decades, time flies and all…

justin heywood 10:17 pm
28 Feb 13
#26

I understand a politician believing that More politicians would be somehow good for the community.

But is there any evidence that this is the case? Are there lines of concerned constituents outside members offices? Is the poor performance and general mediocrity of the current assembly a result of their high workload? I doubt it.

Andrew should devote his excellent mind to improving the standard of the current lot. I wouldn’t mind if the entire city was governed by a benevolent dictator, rather than the circus of self-interested fools we have at the moment.

thebadtouch 8:00 am
01 Mar 13
#27

johnboy said :

The lazy ones rarely get re-elected when younger and hungrier candidates come forward.

I wish! Simon and Andrew somehow got re-elected.

watto23 10:16 am
01 Mar 13
#28

Gungahlin Al said :

damien haas said :

I’d like 25 electorates and 25 members. There are occasionally some very lazy MLA’s that coast in on leader quota overflow. Some personal accountability would aid their motivation, resulting in a better outcome for constituents.

That doesn’t stand scrutiny Damien. Single member electorates lead to appalling governance when coupled with a single-house parliament. You kiss goodbye to all accountability for the entire term because there are no checks and balances. Majority single house government was hopeless under Peter Beattie and Anna Bligh, is even more so under Campbell Newman.

We have an Assembly size that suited the ACT years ago for a population half the size. I want good governance, and that means acceptable workloads. I lean the 5×5 model, even though I know it will be very hard for Greens to ever get more than one MLA in a seat. The balance is that ther electorate size is more reasonable to serve and be across the issues of, more affordable to campaign in, and more answerable to specific geographic communities.

3×7 leaves the electorates so large that they continue to only be reasonable for parties to campaign in, except for independent candidates who are well cashed up, which *may* itself point to them being less desirable.

Agree 25 single electorates would mean we’ll always have a labor government and with no upper house, that would be like the howard government controlling both houses or the majority stanhope government we had.

We can whinge all we want but minority government in the ACT provide checks and balances. I know the hardcore lib and lab voters would love to have everything their party wants to be done, but without each other, neither party is good. It would be just like a dictatorship.

Gungahlin Al 11:06 am
01 Mar 13
#29

thebadtouch said :

johnboy said :

The lazy ones rarely get re-elected when younger and hungrier candidates come forward.

I wish! Simon and Andrew somehow got re-elected.

I don’t think they’re lazy at all. Just because they had almost non-existent election campaigns doesn’t mean they don’t work very hard at their jobs. From what I’ve seen, they do.

justin heywood said :

I understand a politician believing that More politicians would be somehow good for the community. But is there any evidence that this is the case? Are there lines of concerned constituents outside members offices? Is the poor performance and general mediocrity of the current assembly a result of their high workload? I doubt it.

There is an ample supply of evidence of politicians not doing a good job when they are overworked. Advice missed, poor decisions, etc. Look past the 2UE/Daily Tele “all pollies are corrupt/greedy/lazy” mantra and consider they are people in the main who are trying to do the best job they can for their communities, but just like for everyone else, there are only so many hours in a day.

Chop71 11:48 am
01 Mar 13
#30

there are only so many hours in a day…

I agree with that in part, but don’t we pay them already enough?
Maybe give them more staff to cater for more sitting days?

I have still not seen the cost of this proposal.
We can crap on about it all we like but what is the cost?

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