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Increased Assembly representation

By John Hargreaves - 14 November 2014 11

legislative-assembly

There has been some opposition to the notion of increasing the number of Assembly members here in the ACT and the writing of the new boundaries will resurrect those opposed to an increase.

We should note that we have a similar population as Tasmania and a more robust economy. But in Tasmania, there are five electorates at both the state and federal level – in fact they share the same names.

So let’s look at the representation in the two jurisdictions.

In the ACT, we will have 25 Territory representatives in a single House of governance. We have two senators and two House of Representatives Members. Total – 26 representatives for 385,600 people. (source ABS)

And apart from an aberration in 1996-1998 (when we had 3 House of Reps Members) we have had no change in representatives we’ve seen a huge increase in population.

The ratio here is 1:13,297 people.

Note that we don’t have city or shire councils which ups the number of elected representatives a lot.

In Tasmania, with a population as at March 2014 of 514,700 (source ABS), there are 12 senators (a throwback from federation), 5 House of Representatives, 25 State House of Assembly Members and 15 Legislative Council Members. Total – 57 – so far…

In Tasmania there are 29 local Government Councils and a total of 265 Councillors. New total – 325.
So… the ratio in Tasmania is 1:1,584

So… it is agreed that Tasmania has a higher population – 33% higher – but look at the representation!

I reckon that the ACT at 1:13,297 people is grossly under- represented or Tasmania is grossly over-represented. Maybe both.

I reckon we need the extra Assembly Members and we need more House of representative Members.

The numbers speak for themselves.

We have a more robust economy, Tasmania is a basket case and we are a success story. We have no local government and no Upper House. All we need is a workable number in the Legislative Assembly.

We also have a federal Government (of both persuasions) which couldn’t give a monkey’s about fairness in this issue. Shame on both their houses! They would have us governed by a farmer from Queensland or a nutter from Tasmania.

What’s Your opinion?


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11 Responses to
Increased Assembly representation
John Hargreaves Ex M 7:03 pm 16 Nov 14

Alderney said :

I can see why they didn’t make you treasurer John.

25 + 2 + 2 = 29, not 26.

For the record I think we need more MsLA, but I’m not convinced the multi-member electrote is the best model.

Big thumbs, small keyboard. Sorry. Well picked.

Maya123 11:38 am 16 Nov 14

Alderney said :

I can see why they didn’t make you treasurer John.

25 + 2 + 2 = 29, not 26.

For the record I think we need more MsLA, but I’m not convinced the multi-member electrote is the best model.

I would like to see one electorate, as the ACT is not a big enough area for multi-electorates. It would be fairer too, as it would give a result more closely matched to the voters’ wishes. The smaller electorates will leave many people feeling disenfranchised, but the smaller electorates suit the two major parties better, hence it has nothing to do with fair representation, but rather keeping them there and keeping others out.
How many people actually know who their local representatives are? Likely if they have some grievance they will approach the minister it concerns. Which makes the argument for multi electorates nothing more than a power grab.

Pork Hunt 8:06 am 16 Nov 14

TFarquahar said :

All I can see is this leading to more wasteful, large arguments in the assembly. A mass debate if you will. J H Ex MLA appears to enjoy them. No wonder he is arguing for them.

Perhaps you have stumbled upon a new collective noun for a group of politicians – mass debate…

TFarquahar 1:41 am 16 Nov 14

All I can see is this leading to more wasteful, large arguments in the assembly. A mass debate if you will. J H Ex MLA appears to enjoy them. No wonder he is arguing for them.

Alderney 10:53 am 15 Nov 14

I can see why they didn’t make you treasurer John.

25 + 2 + 2 = 29, not 26.

For the record I think we need more MsLA, but I’m not convinced the multi-member electrote is the best model.

rommeldog56 8:53 pm 14 Nov 14

And another thing…….

If its about workload and having a slightly larger number of MLAs from which to draw Minister from :

1) Work harder – like so many other people have to. When u stand for a gig as an ACT MLA or accept a Ministership, you know what the demands of office are. If u dont like it, dont stand.

2) All parties must get their preselections right – we need better quality MLAs & Ministers – not more of the tallentless party political hacks that will just go with the Gallagher, Corbell, Rattenbury, etc flow. Ones who will stand up for ACT Ratepayers and be counted. I wonder how much dissent there was in the ACT Govt Cabinet room and from Labor MLAs room when that appaling business case (the BCR) for the Light Rail was approved, when the up to tripling of Annual Rates was approved, etc ? Who is defending ACT Ratepayers.

Yep – I can just see more MLAs and Ministers helping heaps……

rommeldog56 7:54 pm 14 Nov 14

Look, increasing the numbers of ACT MLAs is really going to make bugger all difference to ACT Government decision making or to making the ACT a better place to live for residents (as it used to be !).

It will mean massively increased wages for the extra MLS, staffers, cars, offices (rented – I feel another PPP coming on !), superannuation costs, increased Annual Rates/charges to pay for it all and more paper – oh yeah. Paper.

For all the practical difference they will make, maybe their greatest contribution will be sending each other Minutes, reports, strategy papers and dropping even more of those annoying self promoting leaflets in my letter box telling me what a great job they are doing and inventing more economic stimulus projects for Ratepayers to support for decades to come. If 5 or 6 ACT Govt Ministers can get basic decision making and fiscal management as wrong as this ACT Labor Gov’t does, I can not wait to see what a mess of the territory even more Ministers will make !

Cum on – given the party political system, does anyone really believe that more Labor MLAs will mean decisions like the Light Rail, tripling of annual rates, the ongoing debacles at Canberra Hospital, siting of solar farms, baning the car, increasing rego costs, bringing infrastructure projects in on budget, etc, won’t be made ? If so, you are living in LaLa land.

About the only benefit to ACT Ratepayers will be improved access to MLAs because of smaller electorates. But, all they will toss back at you is the scripted party political spin line anyway.

neanderthalsis 3:18 pm 14 Nov 14

Has having more politicians per head of population benefited Tasmanians in any way? No…

Is Tasmania significantly larger that the ACT and have a much more dispersed population that the ACT with it’s small city sized lump of population in one corner and bugger all elsewhere? Yes…

Is the move to increase the size of the Assembly about getting jobs for second rate political hacks that can’t get a real advisors job on the hill? Yes…

That said, getting mindless union drones, otherwise unemployable social activists and petulant prepubescent young conservatives off the streets may be a good thing.

Innovation 10:52 am 14 Nov 14

Excellent point about FTE Garfield. I’d be much happier with the numbers if at least some assembly members were part time. I’d also like to see some comparisons of average sitting days between jurisdictions.

On a separate point – and not strictly relevant to the title of this thread – I’m surprised no-one has posted on RA about the AEC’s recent calculations that leave us with two Federal seats in the Reps. I’m not sure if my calcs are correct but we seem to have missed out on a third seat by only 9626 voters. I wonder how long ACT voters have held the dubious title of the lowest value (proportional) vote in the country?

justin heywood 10:27 am 14 Nov 14

OK, I accept that our ratio of politicians to people is lower than Tasmania (but as you say, Tasmania is a basket case).

But I can’t see the direct connection between more politicians and better governance.

John, can you give us a real world example of an issue which would have been better dealt with if more members were in the Assembly?

Garfield 9:42 am 14 Nov 14

Two quick points.
1. Are all those 265 Tasmanian Councillors full time? My understanding is that most Councillors are part time so you should scale it back to FTE to compare apples to apples.
2. Tasmania is over represented with more politicians per head of population than any other state. To make a good comparison it would be better to include the stats for the least represented state as well as the average for the states, all expressed in FTE.

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