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Community cabinet meetings

By Gungahlin Al - 22 January 2008 26

The Sydney Morning Herald is reporting that PM Rudd has taken his new Cabinet out into the field for a community cabinet meeting.

When I was a councillor on the Sunshine Coast, we started holding council meetings in different towns around the Shire, taking community feedback as part of the process.

Then when my colleague Cr Peter Wellington got himself elected as an independent to the Qld State seat of Nicklin, he held the balance of power for 3 years, and convinced Peter Beattie to take his cabinet out into the community. The first stop of course was in the Nicklin town of Nambour (in my electorate), and it went over very well. So it’s fair to say I’m well disposed to pollies connecting with the community in this way.

All of this is my roundabout way of asking, if the PM were to bring his cabinet to Canberra, what questions would people like to see asked?

With my Gungahlin Community Council hat on, of course my question would be when will we see some action on Bob McMullan’s commitment to see a federal department or 2 based in Gungahlin?

What’s Your opinion?

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26 Responses to
Community cabinet meetings
Fluges 6:40 pm 22 Jan 08

GA, you asked what local issues, for which the Feds are responsible, I would like to see raised. Well, here’s one: We need to draw the Fed’s attention to the extent of local community opposition to this folly. Rather than just our being able to write a letter to the Canberra Times, or make representations to the NCA, who’ll just tell you that they’ve already made up their minds and that it’s got nothing to do with the people of Canberra, it’s a ‘national thing’ so stick it up your jumper.

caf 6:14 pm 22 Jan 08

The formula doesn’t work that way, the number of MPs elected for the states will always be twice the number of senators for the states. The only way the total can go down (or up) without amending the Act is for the relative populations of the Territories to change significantly. (ie, if a State gets a new representative, it’s at the expense of another State. If a Territory does, it’s not). The next redetermination will see Queensland gaining one seat at the expense of NSW.

Gungahlin Al 5:19 pm 22 Jan 08

Good points caf – particularly the under-representation. I think CT mentioned today that Canberra has the highest proportion of people per MP of the whole country – around 112K vs average 90K? Although a number of states are over quota, the spread means that the next electoral redistribution will likely see the number of MPs nationwide actually reduce by one.
(Cue derisive comments about less pollies=no loss…)

On the validity of country cabinet meetings, I note this from today’s Crikey:

Suzanne Lappeman, political reporter, Gold Coast Bulletin, writes: Actually, the Gold Coast Bulletin goes to every community cabinet unless it is very, very difficult for us to get there….I shouldn’t speak for the other media organisations in the press gallery but I am never alone at these things. ABC radio is always there. Most of us were at Mt Isa for the most recent community cabinet a couple of months ago. Also, local media turn up and get good stories out of the meetings. These meetings are not boring and give the Queensland media a good insight into how local communities feel about issues.

caf 4:20 pm 22 Jan 08

I reckon there are two major ACT issues at the Federal level: The Federal Government getting behind the actions recommended in the ACT’s Future Water Options report, providing support for overcoming the cross-border issues therein; and the future of ACT planning and the NCA. Of secondary interest is the underrepresentation of ACT residents in the house of reps under the current formula.

hingo 4:02 pm 22 Jan 08

Its always funny to see Peter Garrett out there pretending he has a fucking clue.

Thumper 3:56 pm 22 Jan 08

One has to ‘register’ for these events.

As for Canberra, would McMullen be bothered turning up? Afterall, there’s not another election for three years.

Ralph 3:48 pm 22 Jan 08

They are stage-managed in the arrangements by necessity, but not in the content.

So a rousing standing ovation from the ‘audience’ and Rudd giving scripted answers is not stage managing the content?

Get off the grass.

These meetings are merely a ruse for proper consultation, with the audience being hand picked to not rouse too much rabble.

Can’t have the real people asking too hard questions. These things will quietly get tossed aside when they start getting to hard to ‘manage’, and the gerrymander of interest groups, like Cititzens Electoral Council, Gungahlin Community Council etc etc start infiltrating these things and stacking the audience.

Gungahlin Al 3:43 pm 22 Jan 08

While recognising the cabinet meets in Canberra all the time anyway, I was referring more to the idea of taking them outside Capital Hill and talking to residents themselves. It can and does work. They are stage-managed in the arrangements by necessity, but not in the content.

And if he wasn’t carefully managed the message, well we’d all be on here slagging off about incompetence wouldn’t we?

I remain interested in people’s thoughts on issues of relevance for Canberra residents that would be worth discussing with at least our local elected reps even if the cabinet never ‘came to town’…

Mr Evil 2:10 pm 22 Jan 08

Yes, but every spiral begins with a spin. 🙂

Ralph 2:08 pm 22 Jan 08


spin spin spin

Thumper 2:04 pm 22 Jan 08

Everything Mr Rudd has recently done, or is doing, is a carefully stage managed affair.

Even his pets being moved to the Lodge was a news item for the CT, again, some astute PR work.

Mr Evil 2:02 pm 22 Jan 08

Yeah, then they can revert to the tried and tested method of gaining feedback on their performance – Talkback radio. 😉

Ralph 1:50 pm 22 Jan 08

And when they start getting heckled.

Last Sunday’s jaunt looked like a very stage managed affair.

Mr Evil 1:15 pm 22 Jan 08

I bet they’ll stop doing this when the honeymoon is over!

Hugo 1:09 pm 22 Jan 08

These peripatetic cabinet and community meetings are for the REAL people OUT THERE.

Cabinet meetings happen in Canberra all the time, and all Australia knows through the shock jocks and pollies that there are no REAL people here, so no community meetings for us, mate!

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