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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
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Maelinar 4:11 pm 08 Sep 05

What ?

Introduce planning, proper consultation, representative voting, proportional decision making ?

This government would never wear that concept, they’d much prefer the treat them like mushrooms approach.

Absent Diane 1:39 pm 08 Sep 05

How is this for an idea…forget voting, forget councils and political systems…

We implement an online government system whereby anybody can comment on any change or politicial issue and vote/allocate points for it once. Each topic has a certain life time and grace period etc. The option with most votes or points wins – point allocation only occurs at the end of its time allocation. To log in you must purchase a system which utilises biometric technology so that no-one can fraudulently login under a false name.

And you could set it up so that every 3 months a new moderator is voted in… now that is self governance!!

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