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20 years of the Legislative Assembly

By johnboy 11 May 2009 41

So apparently today marks the 20th year of sittings in the London Circuit Soviet also known as the Legislative Assembly.

Having done the fogey reminiscence to mark the anniversary of the first election let’s instead look forward.

What would you change to improve the governance of our Territory?

What’s Your opinion?

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20 years of the Legislative Assembly
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RayP 9:30 pm 12 May 09

The constitution of the ACT wasn’t and isn’t decided by the people of Canberra. It was decided by the Commonwealth Parliament. I am not sure where that leaves the legitimacy of government in Canberra.

Statements to the effect that “that’s democracy” suggest a limited understanding of the range of views on the nature of democracy.

There is an elite view of democracy along the lines that the people elect the elites who then make all the decisions until the next election. Clown Killer seems to have this view of democracy. The current ACT Labor Government seems to also like this approach to democracy.

But there are also participatory theories of democracy that run a long the lines that the more participation in decisions by more people the more democratic it is. On these theories, more democracy, meaning more participation, is better.

Also from this perspective, elite decision making is not very democratic.

Interestingly, from their policy statements, both the Greens and the Liberals seem to lean toward participatory approaches to democracy.

It also looked to me like the Canberra electorate voted in that direction in the last election – that many voters wanted a more participatory approach to decision making.

So, when people make claims to the effect that this is what democracy is, it would be good to recognise that they are making that claim from a particular perspective.

Also, if ACT Labor does lean to an elite theory of democracy while the the Greens (and the ACT electorate)lean to a participatory theory of democracy then that could lead to interesting sparks between Labor and the Greens.

I favour a participatory approach to democracy and I would like to see local councils in addition to a larger Assembly. I would like to see more democracy rather than less.

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