Skip to content Skip to main navigation

News

Buying off the plan?
View our developments

Moves for a bigger Assembly gather momentum

By johnboy 8 November 2012 33

The ABC has word of moves on the hill to give the Legislative Assembly the power to change its own composition, in turn paving the way for Chief Minister Gallagher’s favoured 25 seat Assembly.

Chief Minister Katy Gallagher says Julia Gillard has written to Minister for the Territories Simon Crean asking for legislation to be drawn up to give MLAs the power over their numbers.

Currently only the Federal Government can change the numbers in the 17 member Assembly.

Ms Gallagher says the current number is too small for the workload involved.

“We were 17 members when self-government started, the population was half the size it is now,” she said.

“The job has got bigger and I think to deliver good government there is an acceptance that we need to increase the size.”

Ms Gallagher says she would like to see the Assembly increased to 25 members at the next election in 2016.

There’s something in this for everyone.

Traditionally holding the biggest single block of seats Labor gets more MLAs and more staffing positions with which to reward factional spear carriers.

But more MLAs means a smaller number of votes needed to get a candidate up. The Greens will like the idea of that.

For the Liberals the appeal is a better chance of getting the amenable independents into the Assembly they need to form Government.

With everyone seeing an upside these things can happen very fast.

Chief Minister Gallagher has blogged the letter from the PM to the Minister.

What’s Your opinion?


Please login to post your comments, or connect with
33 Responses to
Moves for a bigger Assembly gather momentum
Filter
Showing only Website comments
Order
Newest to Oldest
Oldest to Newst
DrKoresh 10:48 am 12 Nov 12

Roundhead89 said :

The only way the community will support this is if the chances of more Greens being elected is minimised as much as possible. At the moment this is smelling like The Greens’ revenge on the voters of Canberra and a backdoor way of getting more Greens into the Assembly.

Remember that if there was one more seat in both Brindabella and Ginninderra the Greens candidates would have retained their seats, and if there was an extra seat in Molonglo the other defeated Greens candidate would have also retained her seat.

The only way The Greens could be locked out is if we have seven electorates of three candidates each or six seats in Tuggeranong with three candidates each and five other electorates in the rest of Canberra with one candidate each. I would be totally in favour of this.

You want to design an electoral system that specifically excludes certain parties? S***, why not just stage a coup and drop all pretence of democracy?

huckles 12:31 pm 11 Nov 12

I think we need a system that balances the interests of smaller areas with the interests of minority voices.

Why not do what they do in Germany:

One ballot for locally elected representatives.
Then, based on the difference between the Territory wide vote and representation, certain tickets would get a seat. So if a candidate got 10% over all of Canberra, but split among all the electorates so got no local members, it would get one of the Territory wide seats.

That would allow both small electorates with local members focused on local issues, and issue based candidates and minor parties, which the ACT seems to love.

housebound 5:56 pm 09 Nov 12

Kim F said :

If this goes ahead, let’s make it cost neutral. With more members, the current ones wont have to “do” as much as they currently do. Accordingly, a pay cut for the existing members to pay for the new ones.

Best idea yet.

astrojax 4:19 pm 09 Nov 12

caf said :

Roundhead89 said :

The only way The Greens could be locked out is if we have seven electorates of three candidates each or six seats in Tuggeranong with three candidates each and five other electorates in the rest of Canberra with one candidate each. I would be totally in favour of this.

If you’re so determined to thwart people from electing the representatives that they want, why not just outright pass a law saying that only members of the Labor or Liberal parties may contest the election?

+1 – well said… [i mean, how much primary vote did the greens lose in this election compared to the last?]

caf 3:58 pm 09 Nov 12

Roundhead89 said :

The only way The Greens could be locked out is if we have seven electorates of three candidates each or six seats in Tuggeranong with three candidates each and five other electorates in the rest of Canberra with one candidate each. I would be totally in favour of this.

If you’re so determined to thwart people from electing the representatives that they want, why not just outright pass a law saying that only members of the Labor or Liberal parties may contest the election?

Tetranitrate 3:02 pm 09 Nov 12

Roundhead89 said :

The only way the community will support this is if the chances of more Greens being elected is minimised as much as possible. At the moment this is smelling like The Greens’ revenge on the voters of Canberra and a backdoor way of getting more Greens into the Assembly.

Remember that if there was one more seat in both Brindabella and Ginninderra the Greens candidates would have retained their seats, and if there was an extra seat in Molonglo the other defeated Greens candidate would have also retained her seat.

The only way The Greens could be locked out is if we have seven electorates of three candidates each or six seats in Tuggeranong with three candidates each and five other electorates in the rest of Canberra with one candidate each. I would be totally in favour of this.

The AEC isn’t going to gerrymander/malapportion the system to keep the greens out, keep dreaming.
There wouldn’t ever be more seats in molonglo either – and the present situation with molonglo (which happens to contain a higher proportion of greens voters) being larger and thus having a lower quota actually gives them a significant advantage in getting into parliament over a minor party whose support is concentrated in the northern or southern suburbs, where the quota for an MLA is higher.

Anyway, electorates will have an odd number of seats, and each electorate will have the same number of seats, guaranteed. (also an odd number of electorates, to ensure you can’t get an assembly split down the middle).

Electorates in a 7/7/7 configuration would be physically different as well, with Brindabella and Ginninderra ending up geographically larger relative to molonglo,
My biggest beef isn’t that Greens get in, it’s that more people voted for ‘others’ of various stripes than voted for the Greens, but none are elected. Yes yes they’re different candidates of various stripes, but of note is that under 7/7/7 Chic Henry would almost certainly have gotten up, and the Motorists would probably have gotten MLAs in both Ginninderra and Brindabella in 2008.

Roundhead89 2:04 pm 09 Nov 12

The only way the community will support this is if the chances of more Greens being elected is minimised as much as possible. At the moment this is smelling like The Greens’ revenge on the voters of Canberra and a backdoor way of getting more Greens into the Assembly.

Remember that if there was one more seat in both Brindabella and Ginninderra the Greens candidates would have retained their seats, and if there was an extra seat in Molonglo the other defeated Greens candidate would have also retained her seat.

The only way The Greens could be locked out is if we have seven electorates of three candidates each or six seats in Tuggeranong with three candidates each and five other electorates in the rest of Canberra with one candidate each. I would be totally in favour of this.

aussielyn 1:55 pm 09 Nov 12

You should be aware that ABS & Elections ACT populations are not aligned.

According to Elections ACT the 2012 Enrolment was:
Brindabella 72,368
Ginninderra 76,140
Molonglo 108,194
Total 256,702

If this total enrolment was put into 5 electorates it would give 51,340 to each. The original concept was to have a ratio of 1 voter to 10,000 constituents.
The process would be the Feds changing their law first, the expert committee asking for submissions and presenting recommendations to the ACT Legislative Assembly. The ACTLA may refer it to a committee, Admin & Procedures, which would hold hearings. The ACTLA would then vote on the recommendations of the committee.

Previous submissions can be viewed here: http://www.parliament.act.gov.au/committees/index1.asp?committee=118&inquiry=1043&category=14

You will have your chance to voice your opinion on any change in the territory electoral system.

astrojax 12:35 pm 09 Nov 12

Deckard said :

astrojax said :

Alderney said :

the americans choose between just two candidates – maybe we should all just vote for an single overlord and be done with it? a poor analogy here, good sir/madam…

Actually they choose between heaps of candidates, they just usually don’t get a look in the media or anywhere…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_third_party_and_independent_presidential_candidates,_2012

thanks deckard, yoiu’re very right of course… after i hit ‘submit’ i did remember that there were independents (who can forget ralph nader?); but essentially only two have any chance and between them get about 137% of the vote, or close…

pepmeup 10:31 am 09 Nov 12

Kim F said :

If this goes ahead, let’s make it cost neutral. With more members, the current ones wont have to “do” as much as they currently do. Accordingly, a pay cut for the existing members to pay for the new ones.

Yep about a 30% paycut should do the trick, the MLAs will be doing less and will therefore be paid less.

I worry about a jump to 25 as it will bring a lot of new blood in, do we have the talent pool of people willing to run local politics? I think not

Duffbowl 9:10 am 09 Nov 12

caf said :

For those trying to figure out where the new electorates would fit geographically, these are the population figures from the last census:

Gungahlin: 49,734
Belconnen: 94,696
North Canberra: 49,917
Fyshwick-Pialligo-Hume: 1,530
South Canberra: 25,068
Weston Creek: 23,218
Woden: 33,887
Tuggeranong: 89,131

Five equal electorates need to have about 73,500 population each; three equal electorates about 122,500. You can see that it’s not a completely trivial matter to make it work out – with five equal electorates you can’t have all of Belconnen or all of Tuggeranong in the one electorate.

And if you take into consideration that not all of the people within a district would be eligible to vote, you get another spanner in the works.
Proportional representation, working with Hare-Clark, may be easier to administer in the long run.
Each district becomes an electorate. Approximately 25% of the population is aged 19 or younger. For simplicity, we’ll exclude them as being ineligible to vote, and make it even across the electorates. This leaves us with 275386 voters, spread out as follows:
Gungahlin: 37301
Belconnen: 71022
North Canberra: 37438
Fyshwick-Pialligo-Hume: 1148
South Canberra: 18801
Weston Creek: 17414
Woden: 25415
Tuggeranong: 66848

For a 25 member Legislative Assembly, each member gets 11015.43 votes. With some (very rough) electoral rounding, we end up with…
Gungahlin: 3
Belconnen: 6
North Canberra: 3
Fyshwick-Pialligo-Hume: 0 (Rolled into South Canberra)
South Canberra: 2
Weston Creek: 2
Woden: 2
Tuggeranong: 6
Which gives us only 24 members. Where do we get the 25th one from? The northside would be the most likely, probably assigned to Belconnen.

The raw results:
Gungahlin: 3.386204624
Belconnen: 6.447501369
North Canberra: 3.398664419
Fyshwick-Pialligo-Hume: 0.104172057
South Canberra: 1.706787661
Weston Creek: 1.580827984
Woden: 2.307240843
Tuggeranong: 6.068601044

Winners and losers…

caf 7:26 pm 08 Nov 12

For those trying to figure out where the new electorates would fit geographically, these are the population figures from the last census:

Gungahlin: 49,734
Belconnen: 94,696
North Canberra: 49,917
Fyshwick-Pialligo-Hume: 1,530
South Canberra: 25,068
Weston Creek: 23,218
Woden: 33,887
Tuggeranong: 89,131

Five equal electorates need to have about 73,500 population each; three equal electorates about 122,500. You can see that it’s not a completely trivial matter to make it work out – with five equal electorates you can’t have all of Belconnen or all of Tuggeranong in the one electorate.

Deckard 6:46 pm 08 Nov 12

astrojax said :

Alderney said :

the americans choose between just two candidates – maybe we should all just vote for an single overlord and be done with it? a poor analogy here, good sir/madam…

Actually they choose between heaps of candidates, they just usually don’t get a look in the media or anywhere…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_third_party_and_independent_presidential_candidates,_2012

Related Articles

CBR Tweets

Sign up to our newsletter

Top
Copyright © 2018 Riot ACT Holdings Pty Ltd. All rights reserved.
the-riotact.com | aboutregional.com.au | b2bmagazine.com.au | thisiscanberra.com

Search across the site