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Carnell calls for council-style government

By Kerces - 7 September 2005 22

Interesting story in the Canberra Times this morning in which former Chief Minister Kate Carnell calls for our system of government to be overhauled.

She suggests abandoning the adversarial Westminster-style system in favour of a more collaborative local council-style one.

The trouble with the current system, she says, is that most of the work is being done by just a few people and the rest of them are basically just sitting there twiddling their thumbs and thinking up troublesome press releases to show they’re still relevant.

“I don’t think it is necessary [to increase the size of the Assembly],” she told the paper. “I think what we could look at is a bit of a different system, where the people who aren’t in government, the opposition and the cross-bench, are better utilised, so you have some sort of hybrid between a city council and our current form of government.”

Ms Carnell’s government showed somewhat how this concept could work when she included independent MLA Michael Moore in her ministry in 1998.

The CT says there have been at least four reports into the ACT’s system of governance over the years and none of them thought change was necessary. Indeed, the Pettit report of 1998 said the current Westminster system was desirable because it was the best for tranparency and accountability.

[ED UPDATE The Liberal Democrats sent the following in as a story but I thought it best appended to the existing article, read below for their thoughts.

The Canberra Times has again run with a front page article on the need to change the way the ACT governs itself. Former Chief Minister Kate Carnell has suggested the Legislative Assembly work more like a council than a parliment.

What is interesting is that both Labor and Liberal parties are keen to increase the size of the Assembly from the current 17 members, to 24 and 21 respectively.

Fortunately, there is one political party which is registered in the ACT, but does not support such an increase, The Liberal Democratic Party.

Check out their website at

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22 Responses to
Carnell calls for council-style government
Mr Evil 2:13 pm 07 Sep 05

Thumper, that’s right, I’d forgotten about that.

How nice to have a legacy to leave behind after you’ve been given the arse by the voters.

xman 2:13 pm 07 Sep 05

Hard to go past Denis Stephenson as the worst.

Thumper 1:58 pm 07 Sep 05

Ah, famous for the infamous Dubydome which still haunts the civic pool….

Maelinar 1:50 pm 07 Sep 05

I’m completely prepared to stand up and be a MLA with commesurate paypacket, I’m in the market for a new position at the moment anyway.

I don’t have a house in Yarralumla, I detest building policies that don’t cover height, and I don’t look like a surprised donkey or an angry raisin so I think I’d be out of the running though.

Mr Evil 1:25 pm 07 Sep 05

Craig Duby (aka Mr D.U.I.) was a bit of a joke!

Thumper 1:14 pm 07 Sep 05

Michael Moore. hahahahaha…..

Okay, who can think of a worse MLA.

How about Trevor Caine?

Mr Evil 1:11 pm 07 Sep 05

That’s true Bulldog, but how much longer do you think it’ll take to get the right people in power?

I thought we’d get rid of all the joke parties e.g. No Self Govt, Residents Rally, Michael Moore etc, in the first couple of terms then everything would be okay: but that was when I was young and stupid(er)!

bulldog 1:04 pm 07 Sep 05

Transparency and accountability? Whatever happened to the minister not responsible?

The current system can work, we just have to get the right people in there. So far they haven’t presented themselves.

Thumper 12:53 pm 07 Sep 05

“it was the best for tranparency and accountability.”

Did I read that bit correctly?

wonsworld 12:41 pm 07 Sep 05

Montesque? as in Montesque Pythonesque???

Mr Evil 11:54 am 07 Sep 05

Funny that Carnell didn’t change it when she possibly had the opportunity to, but to be fair she was probably too busy coming up with ‘great’ slogans like, “Feel The Power of Canberra”.

Samuel Gordon-Stewar 11:47 am 07 Sep 05

When I heard of the idea I wanted to jump up and down with joy. I’ll remain optimistic and say that when it happens it will be good…it is nice to be optimistic sometimes.

bonfire 11:31 am 07 Sep 05

at last some sense.

of course thsi will never happen, as those with power dont want to lose it, and those who dont have it want it.

of course im not sure how deciding to paint green bike paths on a road is power, but you have to make do with what you have.

Ralph 11:13 am 07 Sep 05

Well they’re just a glorified local council so they might as well start acting like one.

Good idea Kate.

Kerces 11:12 am 07 Sep 05

And if anyone wants to know the technical theory, what we’ve got at the moment is close to a Montesque system, which is designed so governments can be decisive with out having to compromise much. This is especially true at the moment when we actually have a majority government.

What Carnell is proposing is more like a Continental system, where everyone has to work together and there is much bargaining and many compromises made. Of course, when we don’t have a moajority government this has to happen to an extent so that anything can get passed.

(I’m studying local government theory at the moment so it’s all in the front of my head)

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