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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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20 years of local government
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jakez 9:47 am 05 Mar 09

monomania said :

caf said :

Single Member Electorates are an undemocratic rort designed to entrench the two-party system. The disadvantage of one large multi-member electorate (ie, that you end up with a few fruitcakes) is also its advantage (the makeup of the parliament more closely represents the vote of the electors).

A few multi-member electorates seems a good compromise – the bar is high enough that you have to have a decent level of real support to get in, but low enough that it doesn’t turn into a one-party whitewash.

I agree. Fruit cakes are entitled to representation too. I think a lot of our elected members are already fruitcakes and some were not directly elected but ‘appointed’ by their party and elected on its vote. Of course our major political parties, Liberal, Labor and the Greens like electorates with a small number of members since it entrenches their power. Why not three electorates of nine or two of 14 and 13 with no preferences or Hare Clark. Major parties would need to select the best candidates (not party hacks) and put up a sensible number of candidates.

More people would get their member of choice.

I agree with you except on preferences or hare clark. An inability to preference entrenches the major parties. Look at the US where 10-20% self identify as libertarian yet the Libertarian candidate has only ever once cracked 1% in a Presidential election (1980).

Wasted vote syndrome, it protects the two (or in the ACT’s case three) party system.

sepi 9:27 pm 04 Mar 09

I don’t think the ACT is that easy. NSW has heaps of ministers – so they get to have just one portfolio per minister. Not like Katy with health/treasurer and a few more as a job lot.

Ours also have the Feds interfering all the time in legislation. The airport is nearly in the middle of town and does what it likes. Ditto for parliament house/NCA.

They have a well educated population who expects to be looked after – and who were quite used to being looked after under the fed govt.

They have a small population base to make money from, resorting mostly to housing taxes.

They are at the whim of the Feds again on employment – cuts to the PS cut Canberra to the bone.

They have got a very spread out town with poor transport infrastructure.

They have a population that is good at writing to ministers and complaining.

There are no efficiencies in only running one or two hospitals.

They are running out of water.

They have trouble hiring good people, as we can all get better pay for doing less for the Feds.

That said, they aren’t doing themselves any favours by not improving the transport infrastructure.

And they really need to concentrate on the basics – enough busses, shorter waits in hospital etc, instead of pointless announcibles like touchscreens at busstops and snazzy sleep clinics that noone wants.

It is like they think they have to keep thinking of new stuff to do, and noone has told them they also have to keep things running along smoothly as well.

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