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Do we really want more ACT politicians?

By housebound - 13 March 2014 26

ACT legislative assembly - Image from ABC.net.au
You’ll probably have heard about the idea to increase the size of the ACT Assembly from 17 to 25 MLAs (in five electorates), with an outside chance of 35 MLAs (from seven electorates) somewhere in the distant future. There’s also a proposal to increase all their salaries now.

The snouts are well and truly in the trough, and now they all want a bigger trough with more swill.

Labor supports it because it will almost certainly entrench their power forever, as if they haven’t already dug in for the long term. Liberal supports it because they foolishly believe they have an outside chance at grabbing government when the ballot paper suddenly expands to include a whole lot of new names that aren’t already established through Labor’s born-to-rule place on the front pages of the Canberra Times. The Green (there’s only one) says his party will do well whatever.

Is that what we really want? More politicians?

We can play ‘pretend’ with the results of the last ACT election. It’s a flawed game for a lot of reasons, not least of which is the likely change to electorate boundaries and size, but it can give us an idea of voting intentions.

If we take the 25 MLAs and assume we have the same three electorates with more pollies in each, we could have ended up with the following (primary vote and party affiliation in brackets):

Brindabella (8 seats)
1. Zed SESELJA (18566) (Lib)
2. Joy BURCH (9031) (ALP)
3. Andrew WALL (2477) (Lib)
4. Brendan SMYTH (3954) (Lib)
5. Mick GENTLEMAN (5105) (ALP)
6. Amanda BRESNAN (3515) (Grn)
7. Nicole LAWDER (2086) (Lib)
8. Rebecca CODY (3561) (ALP)

Ginninderra (8 seats)
1. Alistair COE (10017) (Lib)
2. Vicki DUNNE (5167) (Lib)
3. Mary PORTER (9423) (ALP)
4. Chris BOURKE (5048) (ALP)
5. Yvette BERRY (4917) (ALP)
6. Meredith HUNTER (4462) (Grn)
7. Chic HENRY (4360) (Motorists)
8. Glen McCREA (4153) (ALP)

Molonglo (9 seats)
1. Katy GALLAGHER (23996) (ALP)
2. Jeremy HANSON (10235) (Lib)
3. Andrew BARR (3880) (ALP)
4. Simon CORBELL (1909) (ALP)
5. Shane RATTENBURY (4966) (Grn)
6. Giulia JONES (5754) (Lib)
7. Steve DOSZPOT (5245) (Lib)
8. Caroline LE COUTEUR (4531) (Grn)
9. Meegan FITZHARRIS (2626) (ALP)

Overall result
Labor: 11 seats
Liberal: 9 seats
Green: 4 seats (Labor aligned)
Motorists: 1 seat (Liberal aligned)

The more things change, and the more it costs to change them, the more they stay the same.

What’s Your opinion?


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26 Responses to
Do we really want more ACT politicians?
1
bundah 3:25 pm
13 Mar 14
#

Shit don’t we already have enough buffoons in there….

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2
bikhet 3:58 pm
13 Mar 14
#

I might support the increase if they’d use the additional members to better manage the existing bureaucracy. This is unlikely. It’s more likely that they’ll use the time freed up to pursue their own, or their party’s, agenda. As a result I’d have to say that I’m not in favour.

On the analysis of the outcome provided by the OP the additional numbers wouldn’t make a great deal of difference to the division of power. It would still be Labor forming the government with the support of the Greens.

Whatever the outcome it terms of numbers, I’m opposed to any increase in their salaries or allowances.

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3
gazket 4:41 pm
13 Mar 14
#

They have other people that were elected, why do they only have 4 ministers . What do the other elected members with out a portfolio do ? Obvious No Waste by 2010 was just a slogan.

Labour Greens are already increasing our power bills just for idealism. Running up massive debts for us to pay when they will all leave Canberra when they retire or get voted out just like their federal Labour Greens members who abandoned their parties when they lost the Federal election.

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4
HiddenDragon 5:49 pm
13 Mar 14
#

bikhet said :

I might support the increase if they’d use the additional members to better manage the existing bureaucracy. This is unlikely. It’s more likely that they’ll use the time freed up to pursue their own, or their party’s, agenda. As a result I’d have to say that I’m not in favour.

On the analysis of the outcome provided by the OP the additional numbers wouldn’t make a great deal of difference to the division of power. It would still be Labor forming the government with the support of the Greens.

Whatever the outcome it terms of numbers, I’m opposed to any increase in their salaries or allowances.

That sums it up very nicely, particularly the first sentence – if there’s not going to be more democractic supervision of the large local bureaucracy, it just means more elected chair-warmers competing for photo opportunities and whiling away their time on humdrum backbench acitivities, and generally making a nuisance of themselves by looking for things to regulate and spend other people’s money on.

The Liberals got sucked in on the move from three to four year terms, so it’s a little (but not much) suprising they’ve fallen for this one – would have been a great opportunity to make a stand on an issue which would have resontated with many Canberra voter/taxpayers.

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5
c_c™ 6:11 pm
13 Mar 14
#

So…

People complain when government doesn’t do something. People complain when government does do something.
People complain when government is too fast. People complain when government is too slow.
People complain when there’s more politicians or politicians get paid more. People complain when politicians don’t work fast enough or the politicians we get are eclipsed in talent and skill by private sector leaders.
People complain about the reps they elect, when people vote based on self interest and simplistic campaigns rather than merit and a full understanding of policies.

Electorate needs to get smarter and more informed.
In the ACT, we need to have enough reps to fulfil the roles of a Parliament that combines two ordinary levels of representation.
We need to pay them enough, but should make it less about perks and more about performance pay.

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6
Mysteryman 6:25 pm
13 Mar 14
#

Just get rid of Andrew Barr and I’ll be happy. What a chump.

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7
switch 6:31 pm
13 Mar 14
#

HiddenDragon said :

The Liberals got sucked in on the move from three to four year terms, so it’s a little (but not much) suprising they’ve fallen for this one – would have been a great opportunity to make a stand on an issue which would have resontated with many Canberra voter/taxpayers.

When do politicians of any sort ever vote to spend less on themselves?

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8
dungfungus 6:32 pm
13 Mar 14
#

bundah said :

Shit don’t we already have enough buffoons in there….

If we don’t have enough buffoons to draft and enact policies, the ACT public service bureaucracies and directorates will do it for us on the run.
The buffoons are cheaper by far.

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9
jkbbcc 8:02 pm
13 Mar 14
#

Here is a very rushed list of the amount of representation in other Australian State Legislative Assemblies:
NSW : 1 MLA per 79,000 population.
VIC: 1 per 64,500.
QLD: 1 per 51,800.
WA: 1 per 146,000.

ACT (current 17 MLA’s): 1 per 22,329
ACT (with 25 MLA’s): 1 per 15,184
ACT (with 35 MLA’s): 1 per 10,845

Do we really need representation levels four or five times greater than NSW or Victoria or even 10 times greater than WA?

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10
c_c™ 8:41 pm
13 Mar 14
#

jkbbcc, does that factor in local councils in States?

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11
Diggety 10:44 pm
13 Mar 14
#

I would prefer less governance.

I’d be happy with 1000 pollies, as long as they’re there to rip up laws, not create more.

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12
Garfield 9:34 am
14 Mar 14
#

jkbbcc said :

Here is a very rushed list of the amount of representation in other Australian State Legislative Assemblies:
NSW : 1 MLA per 79,000 population.
VIC: 1 per 64,500.
QLD: 1 per 51,800.
WA: 1 per 146,000.

ACT (current 17 MLA’s): 1 per 22,329
ACT (with 25 MLA’s): 1 per 15,184
ACT (with 35 MLA’s): 1 per 10,845

Do we really need representation levels four or five times greater than NSW or Victoria or even 10 times greater than WA?

If you have a look at the tables on page 35 of the report by the expert reference panel into the size of the ACT Assembly you will see that we currently have 1 state/local politician for every 15129 enrolled voters. The state with the next lowest representation is Victoria with 1 for every 4769 voters. You have to keep in mind that the ACT Assembly is responsible for both state and local government issues. Of course what the reference panel didn’t include was the fact that the majority of local government reps around the country are part time and so they’re not comparing apples with apples.

I look at some of the fiascos with things like building the jail too small despite expert advice that it needed to be larger and some of the awful ministers we’ve had. Hopefully with more MLA’s in the Assembly errors will get picked up before they cost the taxpayer millions of dollars and the ministerial standard will be better meaning that the 8 extra MLA’s plus staff will pay for themselves (or at least break even).
http://www.elections.act.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0008/10142/Size_of_the_Assembly_Final_report.pdf

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13
cmdwedge 9:44 am
14 Mar 14
#

A much clearer (and more important) view would be to see how the seats were distributed in a 5×5 configuration, not 8-8-9 as you’ve done.

What will happen is the Greens will be slaughtered. They will need 20% of the vote to get a MLA. The best result for the Green was 13.2% – http://www.elections.act.gov.au/elections_and_voting/past_act_legislative_assembly_elections/2012_act_legislative_assembly_election/2012_election_results2/2012_results_by_party/results_by_party_-_act_greens

The other results are even worse. If the system goes to 5×5 (five electorates of five MLAs, the preferred split for both Liberal and Labor), the Greens will cease to be in this town – in fact, it will largely be impossible for any minor party or independent to seat an MLA.

As such, Shane Rattenbury was utterly filthy with Jeremy Hanson when JH was announcing that the Liberal lay-party had voted in favour of 5×5 electorates.

The future will be majorities only. No more alliances. And it will forever be Labor and Liberal.

Unless of course we go to 5×7 (five electorates of seven members) in 2020. That’d bring the Greens and minor parties back into play.

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14
Az 9:57 am
14 Mar 14
#

‘Spose the increase could be justified by claiming the ACT LA does the work of two tiers of government anywhere else in Australia (NT excepted?), but….

Operationally it will lead to increased funding for the major parties via more bums on seats and more tax-payer funded staff to shine those bums, along with all the other freebies (study trips, transport, offices, allowances etc). The proposed voting system will deliver nearly exactly the same voting blocks at a drastically increased cost.

What’s the budget deficit running at now? A good chunk of a billion dollars or something. Canberra’s in recession and the looming Federal budget will do its best to make sure the city stays that way for years.

An ostentatious expansion of the LA in the current political/economic climate is probably not the best idea. It’s sure to get adopted.

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15
HiddenDragon 11:00 am
14 Mar 14
#

switch said :

HiddenDragon said :

The Liberals got sucked in on the move from three to four year terms, so it’s a little (but not much) suprising they’ve fallen for this one – would have been a great opportunity to make a stand on an issue which would have resontated with many Canberra voter/taxpayers.

When do politicians of any sort ever vote to spend less on themselves?

Yes, it almost always goes in the one direction, although there was that rare moment of madness when Latham bluffed/stampeded Howard into cutting superannuation entitlements (prospectively, of course) for federal politicians. I assume that has since been at least partially reversed.

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