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Moves for a bigger Assembly gather momentum

By johnboy - 8 November 2012 33

The ABC has word of moves on the hill to give the Legislative Assembly the power to change its own composition, in turn paving the way for Chief Minister Gallagher’s favoured 25 seat Assembly.

Chief Minister Katy Gallagher says Julia Gillard has written to Minister for the Territories Simon Crean asking for legislation to be drawn up to give MLAs the power over their numbers.

Currently only the Federal Government can change the numbers in the 17 member Assembly.

Ms Gallagher says the current number is too small for the workload involved.

“We were 17 members when self-government started, the population was half the size it is now,” she said.

“The job has got bigger and I think to deliver good government there is an acceptance that we need to increase the size.”

Ms Gallagher says she would like to see the Assembly increased to 25 members at the next election in 2016.

There’s something in this for everyone.

Traditionally holding the biggest single block of seats Labor gets more MLAs and more staffing positions with which to reward factional spear carriers.

But more MLAs means a smaller number of votes needed to get a candidate up. The Greens will like the idea of that.

For the Liberals the appeal is a better chance of getting the amenable independents into the Assembly they need to form Government.

With everyone seeing an upside these things can happen very fast.

Chief Minister Gallagher has blogged the letter from the PM to the Minister.

What’s Your opinion?


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33 Responses to
Moves for a bigger Assembly gather momentum
1
bikhet 11:38 am
08 Nov 12
#

Here’s a novel idea – how about letting the serfs have a say in how many rulers they have? Can’t do that though as they might not like the answer.

I see two possible benefits:

1) ministers will be able to spend more time on their responsibilities and so make fewer stuff-ups – one hopes!

2) there might be someone around to take care of the local government aspects of the job.

The negatives are too many to enumerate, but a few to start with:

1) cost. More members, more staffers, more, more, more

2) the more of them there are the more time they’ll have to come up with ridiculous laws and regulations – the Texan approach has a lot to recommend it.

3) more people to pass the buck to.

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2
davo101 11:45 am
08 Nov 12
#

I’m not sure if it will help small parties. It would depend on how geographically spread out your supporters were. If all of your supporters live in one area then you’d like a small electorate centred on this area, if they’re spread out you’d prefer to have large electorates.

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3
Morgan 11:51 am
08 Nov 12
#

Could we give the Electoral Commission more power to vary the size of electorates? Can we give each town centre (Gungahlin, Belco, Inner North, Inner South, Woden, Weston?, Tuggers) their own, and simply vary the number of members as populations change? In my opinion, the less the assembly has to do with deciding this in the future the better as we will simply end up with attempts to Gerrymander or manage the number of members to ensure minor parties do or don’t get elected.

If we had more local electorates we could have some planning issues dealt with by only those members who represent that area? Almost like having all the Belconnen members sitting on an informal Belconnen local council

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4
Peewee Slasher 12:00 pm
08 Nov 12
#

Great idea. Now … lets apply that idea to the agencies where the public servants work.
I’m sure the MLA’s will empathise with them.

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5
Tetranitrate 12:06 pm
08 Nov 12
#

Give us a plebiscite to chose between status quo, 3 times 7 and 5 times 5.

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6
astrojax 12:13 pm
08 Nov 12
#

i rekkun going from seventeen to twenty five in one fell swoop is too big a jump – maybe re-jigging the electoral boundaries only slightly and having three lots of seven [so twenty one mlas] would be a better option.

this would be a less-cost option tha that mooted by the venerable leader yet deliver many of the benefits she attributes to the expansion of the assembly. she is reported as saying twenty five at the next election would be good – what do other members say; do we know?

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7
Alderney 12:17 pm
08 Nov 12
#

Why not have 25 single member electorates making each MLA more accountable, and more likely known, to each electorate.

Something like the old hundred system but a bit bigger.

With about 260 000 electors it’s a bit over 10 000 people to an MLA.

We could get rid of that terrible Hare Clark and either have first past the post or a preferential system.

The Americans got a result in a day and they have over 100 million votes cast. It took us a week to figure out who won and even then it had to be negotiated (as if the Greens weren’t going to plumb for Labor anyway).

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8
Tetranitrate 12:24 pm
08 Nov 12
#

Alderney said :

Why not have 25 single member electorates making each MLA more accountable, and more likely known, to each electorate.

Something like the old hundred system but a bit bigger.

With about 260 000 electors it’s a bit over 10 000 people to an MLA.

We could get rid of that terrible Hare Clark and either have first past the post or a preferential system.

The Americans got a result in a day and they have over 100 million votes cast. It took us a week to figure out who won and even then it had to be negotiated (as if the Greens weren’t going to plumb for Labor anyway).

It’d work alright if we were electing a local council that actually functioned like a local council.
Unfortunately what would actually occur is a permanent labor majority government that could do as it pleased without any fear of ever being tossed out of office.

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9
Thumper 12:41 pm
08 Nov 12
#

Surely it’s time for a benevolent dictator?

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10
astrojax 12:47 pm
08 Nov 12
#

Alderney said :

The Americans got a result in a day and they have over 100 million votes cast. It took us a week to figure out who won and even then it had to be negotiated (as if the Greens weren’t going to plumb for Labor anyway).

the americans choose between just two candidates – maybe we should all just vote for an single overlord and be done with it? a poor analogy here, good sir/madam…

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11
joingler 1:29 pm
08 Nov 12
#

Alderney said :

Why not have 25 single member electorates making each MLA more accountable, and more likely known, to each electorate.

Something like the old hundred system but a bit bigger.

With about 260 000 electors it’s a bit over 10 000 people to an MLA.

We could get rid of that terrible Hare Clark and either have first past the post or a preferential system.

The Americans got a result in a day and they have over 100 million votes cast. It took us a week to figure out who won and even then it had to be negotiated (as if the Greens weren’t going to plumb for Labor anyway).

Why is it such a big deal if we have to wait a week or so for results? Hare Clarke is good as your vote goes to where you want it to go – not where parties want it to go.

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12
watto23 1:32 pm
08 Nov 12
#

Firstly there is nothing wrong with the hare-clark system. It seems to be a problem now because it was 8-8-1 and supporters of Liberal party seem most upset. Also you need the Hare-Clark system that produces minority governments in the ACT unless there is an overwhelming majority, because we have a single house of government. We had a majority labor government and it was one of the worst we ever had. When the Liberals controlled both houses in the federal electorate all sorts of one sided policies were created.

The sooner staunch liberal and labor supporters realise that neither have all the answers needed to run a country properly the better. If a left or right wing party had power and yet also put more moderate and bi-partisan proposals up they’d stay in power longer because the swing/moderate/fringe voters probably wouldn’t change their mind as quickly. Swing too quickly in favour of right or left and the election usually boots you out next time.

So either 3 x 7 member electorates or 5 x 5 member electorates are needed with hare-clark or similar proportionate voting system. At least with 5 electorates, the boundaries would be able to mirror Tuggeranong, Belconnen, Woden/weston, Gungahlin and inner canberra better, although population moves so the borders would never be exact. 3×7 electorates would probably result in some of Gungahlin with Belconnen and more of woden with tuggeranong.

Then many of the candidates elected don’t live in their electorate either. I hope Gungahlin residents are not expecting a lot, because no MLA’s will share their pain.

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13
EvanJames 2:19 pm
08 Nov 12
#

This would not be necessary if they ran it like a local council, where every councillor gets allocated jobs to do, committees to sit on, things to be responsible for. It’s idiocy to have 5 or 6 people holding a laundry list of portfolios while the rest of the elected people get to oppose them. WTF?

Wasteful, inefficient, and pointless.

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14
johnboy 2:32 pm
08 Nov 12
#

EvanJames said :

This would not be necessary if they ran it like a local council, where every councillor gets allocated jobs to do, committees to sit on, things to be responsible for. It’s idiocy to have 5 or 6 people holding a laundry list of portfolios while the rest of the elected people get to oppose them. WTF?

Wasteful, inefficient, and pointless.

The non-ministers do all work in committees

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15
peitab 3:00 pm
08 Nov 12
#

astrojax said :

Alderney said :

maybe we should all just vote for an single overlord and be done with it? a poor analogy here, good sir/madam…

Don’t blame me, I voted for Kodos

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