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20 years of local government

By johnboy - 4 March 2009 42

The ABC brings the news that today is the 20th anniversary of Self Government in the ACT.

It was 4 March 1989 that the reluctant electors of the ACT trooped miserably to the polling places to be confronted by a table cloth size ballot paper (pictured in the ABC article) which would send the first bunch of clowns off to their paid three year gig under the big top on London Circuit.

Aside from those directly employed by the Assembly I think it’s fair to say no-one’s been very happy with the outcomes since then. Although I note that corners of the town have thrived without the dead hand of the Commonwealth bureaucracy upon them.

So at 20 years what changes would you like to see made to the Government is conducted in the ACT?

What’s Your opinion?


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42 Responses to
20 years of local government
johnboy 10:55 am 04 Mar 09

No support for single member electorates?

Get some real accountability going?

Alternatively what about devolving the local council functions to actual local councils representing the urban centres?

Have each mayor sit as an upper house once a month to approve or disallow the legislation of the Legislative Assembly?

sepi 10:35 am 04 Mar 09

CMAG is opening an exhibition of the 20 years of self government apparently.

old canberran 10:25 am 04 Mar 09

I would like to see the running of the ACT handed back to the authority whose responsibility it is to administer Australia’s capital city, the Federal Government. Bob Hawke abdicated that responsibility in 1988, which was something that should never have happened.
Since then the population growth has gone unchecked and in fill development has been rife which has placed unplanned burdens on the infrastructure. The City was never designed for self government. It is not a State, or a Municipality or a Shire, it belongs to the people of Australia.

p1 10:23 am 04 Mar 09
sepi 10:21 am 04 Mar 09

Maybe hive off the council type functions like road repairs and rubbish removal, and have a mini council looking after them.

The the MLAs could concentrate on serious stuff like hospitals and schools.

And we need to get more money out of the Feds. Canberra is going downhill fast. They look after themselves, via the NCA, the parliamentary triangle is green and clean, while the rest of us live in a filthy dustbowl. Not a good representation of democracy really.

Loose Brown 10:20 am 04 Mar 09

We should elevate Jon to the position of ‘benign dictator’ and place the assembly under house arrest.

Then we could get on with things.

housebound 10:04 am 04 Mar 09

If a single electorate opened up the field, then maybe some clowns wouldn’t keep getting re-elected due to increased competition.

Good point about 3 electorates, but I asuspect five would even further entrench the power of the two/three parties, which doesn’t really help accountability in this jurisdiction.

There’s a bit of an assumption that the two-party system (or even three if this Greens-ALP thing lasts past the next election) is a good thing and delivers a better class of politician. Can’t quite see it myself from the current mob in government.

caf 9:58 am 04 Mar 09

Three electorates is just too few to give the flexibility to align closely with the way Canberra is layed out. Three equal-sized electorates would just exacerbate the current problem.

A large single electorate would work OK, but the threshold for election is significantly lowered so you end up with a few quite fringe members getting in. It also means you don’t have any “local members” to take your local concerns up.

housebound 9:48 am 04 Mar 09

1. Abolish the idea of a cabinet, have chairs (or similar) of portfolios, and have all busines conducted through committees and the Assembly itself. Then we won’t need Ministers, and government processes will be more open to scrutiny.

2. Go for three seven-member electorates, or return to the old days of one huge electorate. It seemed to work better at the time.

Gobbo 9:42 am 04 Mar 09

Perhaps not 35 MLAs, but I believe we definately more than we have at present.

There are too few Ministers responsible for too many portfolios. They are spread too thin.

caf 9:40 am 04 Mar 09

Perhaps 5 electorates of 5 members would be better (the requirement to have an odd number of MLAs means that the choices are quite restricted, particularly if we want to aim for equal-sized electorates).

p1 9:40 am 04 Mar 09

What we need is a system where by half the clowns in the circus (those not forming “government”) have something to do other then undermine their political opponents.

pug206gti 9:36 am 04 Mar 09

I wasn’t around for the pre-self government days, so I can’t really comment on life comparitively, but all things considered, we’re doing pretty well here even though many moan and whinge.

The Human Rights Act is pretty cool, as an example of something self government has achieved.

poptop 9:31 am 04 Mar 09

You MUST be joking!

35 MLAs for a population of less than 350k?

Kill me now.

caf 9:20 am 04 Mar 09

We need the ability to have a larger Ministry, because the current limitations overload too much onto too few. In order to make that feasible we need a few more members. The best way to do that would be to increase the number of electorates – say 7 electorates of 5 members each – which would also allow the electorate boundaries to more closely align with “communities of interest” (potentially fixing the current issue where Nicholls is in a different electorate from the rest of Gungahlin, and Torrens/Pearce/Chifley/Farrer are lumped in with Tuggeranong).

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