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The future of the Assembly is 5×5

By johnboy - 16 April 2013 17

graph

Chief Minister Gallagher has sensibly announced the utterly expected finding that the best way forward for the Legislative Assembly is a Greens and Independents screwing five electorates returning five members.

It will raise the bar for minor parties but it will stop the farce of the Molonglo electorate encompassing Woden, Inner North, Inner South, and Gungahlin.

An independent review into the size of the ACT legislative Assembly, released today by ACT Chief Minister, Katy Gallagher, has recommended an increase to 25 members, spread across five electorates of five members, in 2016.

The report, prepared by an independent Expert Reference Group (ERG), also recommended a further increase in the size of the Assembly to 35 members in either 2020 or 2024.

Bring it on!

Elections ACT have published the full report.


UPDATE 16/04/13 16:02: The Liberals Jeremy Hanson is not impressed and would like perfection in Governance to be achieved before sorting out the iniquities of the Assembly:

“Katy Gallagher’s eagerness to expand the size of the Assembly is based on long standing Labor policy and although the Canberra Liberals will consider the reference group’s paper in some detail, I am in no rush to make a final decision on the size of the Assembly.

“This is a matter of priorities. For example, Katy Gallagher recently rejected the Canberra Liberal’s call to improve access to justice by appointing a fifth Supreme Court judge, and she rejected the Canberra Liberal’s call to establish a school for young children with autism. Katy Gallagher cited the cost of both proposals at the time, but I consider both matters to be of higher importance than more MLAs.

“We will continue to focus on issues that are of real importance to the community, and Katy Gallagher’s push for more politicians is not a high priority,” Mr Hanson concluded.

What’s Your opinion?


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17 Responses to
The future of the Assembly is 5×5
DrKoresh 11:06 pm 18 Apr 13

What a lot of garbage Hanson is talking, if he really doesn’t see the point in having MLA’s he should get a real damn job. Sorry, I know it’s just party rhetoric, but I am so very tired of politicians always taking potshots at eachother, talking sideways and never speaking their bloody minds.

harley 10:37 pm 18 Apr 13

What johnboy said:

johnboy said :

Honestly though do we really think that people with less than 20% of the vote should be forming balances of power?

what johnboy meant

johnboy said :

Honestly though do we really think that people with less than 20% of the vote should be holding the assembly to ransom

PM 1:49 pm 17 Apr 13

watto23 said :

MrPC said :

Here’s a thought. How about we determine the number of electorates by matching them to their corresponding regions (It’d be pretty easy to split it up by North&South Canberra, Woden&Weston&Molonglo, Tuggers, Belco and Gunners), so 5 electorates, and determine the total number of MLAs (eg: 35), then work out based on population levels just prior to each election what proportion of the specified number of MLAs (35) are returned from each region.

I despise the idea of arbitrary political boundaries. Keep the political boundaries aligned with the geographic and social boundaries, and then apportion the MLAs by actual population.

A promise of 5×5 is just begging for either ridiculous boundaries, or malapportionment, or both.

It just won’t work, because the electorates need to be an odd number. Otherwise every electorate will likely be split evenly between the 2 major parties except for seats with odds numbers, unless one party is immensly popular and that would probably need 60% of first preferences.

The last election wasn’t the best instance of the system working, but there have been many independants elected into the ACT LA. However they had standing in the community, and also preference deals flowing to them.

As it is with at least 5 electorates, they will more closly resemble regions. Seriously though the idea of electorates following regions falls over, when not a single resident of Gungahlin was elected, and candidates ran in electorates to maximise their chances of winning, ala Zed. So you could argueunless the MLA lived in that region, they wouldn’t understand the issues local to that region. Besides most issues are Canberra wide, or have some affect on the wider canberra community, including where to build a new swimming pool.

Could be wrong, but I thought Coe lived in Nicholls…?

But take your point about the desirability of having elected officials meaningfully connected to their community.

watto23 12:46 pm 17 Apr 13

MrPC said :

Here’s a thought. How about we determine the number of electorates by matching them to their corresponding regions (It’d be pretty easy to split it up by North&South Canberra, Woden&Weston&Molonglo, Tuggers, Belco and Gunners), so 5 electorates, and determine the total number of MLAs (eg: 35), then work out based on population levels just prior to each election what proportion of the specified number of MLAs (35) are returned from each region.

I despise the idea of arbitrary political boundaries. Keep the political boundaries aligned with the geographic and social boundaries, and then apportion the MLAs by actual population.

A promise of 5×5 is just begging for either ridiculous boundaries, or malapportionment, or both.

It just won’t work, because the electorates need to be an odd number. Otherwise every electorate will likely be split evenly between the 2 major parties except for seats with odds numbers, unless one party is immensly popular and that would probably need 60% of first preferences.

The last election wasn’t the best instance of the system working, but there have been many independants elected into the ACT LA. However they had standing in the community, and also preference deals flowing to them.

As it is with at least 5 electorates, they will more closly resemble regions. Seriously though the idea of electorates following regions falls over, when not a single resident of Gungahlin was elected, and candidates ran in electorates to maximise their chances of winning, ala Zed. So you could argueunless the MLA lived in that region, they wouldn’t understand the issues local to that region. Besides most issues are Canberra wide, or have some affect on the wider canberra community, including where to build a new swimming pool.

Chop71 11:24 am 17 Apr 13

Is there any mention of the cost of these extra MLA’s and staff?

MrPC 11:41 pm 16 Apr 13

Here’s a thought. How about we determine the number of electorates by matching them to their corresponding regions (It’d be pretty easy to split it up by North&South Canberra, Woden&Weston&Molonglo, Tuggers, Belco and Gunners), so 5 electorates, and determine the total number of MLAs (eg: 35), then work out based on population levels just prior to each election what proportion of the specified number of MLAs (35) are returned from each region.

I despise the idea of arbitrary political boundaries. Keep the political boundaries aligned with the geographic and social boundaries, and then apportion the MLAs by actual population.

A promise of 5×5 is just begging for either ridiculous boundaries, or malapportionment, or both.

HiddenDragon 10:39 pm 16 Apr 13

If even three or four of the extra numbers are reasonably plausible Minister/Shadow Minister material, it will be worth it for the extra scrutiny and accountability we should get from that. By the time of the 2016 Territory election, we will presumably have had a term, or so, of PM Abbott, so I imagine the 2016 result will be either another term for Katie & co., with a majority in their own right, or supported by Shane, if it’s close again.

Tetranitrate 5:44 pm 16 Apr 13

Without going to the trouble of checking booth by booth results, I’d expect that the Greens would probably still get a candidate through in whatever electorate covers the inner north. A candidate competing for the final seat doesn’t have to make quota on first preference votes after all, they just have to beat everybody else who’s left.
The Greens did manage to grab seats in 5 member electorates in 2008 as well after-all (and lost them last year due to their own abysmal performance and not anything to do with the electoral system).

In some ways the system might actually help independents who have strong localized support given they’ll need fewer actual votes, and it’d certainly be easier for them to campaign strongly in a smaller electorate. It’ll be interesting to see how results shape up.

MarkG 4:35 pm 16 Apr 13

johnboy said :

Now with Jeremy Hanson’s response.

Honestly though do we really think that people with less than 20% of the vote should be forming balances of power?

Conversely should people with less than 40% of the vote have unrestricted power? Is unchecked executive government by a party machine the best mechanism for local representation?

I still say it boils down to your “faith quotient” vis a vis the major parties.

nsn 4:34 pm 16 Apr 13

johnboy said :

Now with Jeremy Hanson’s response.

Honestly though do we really think that people with less than 20% of the vote should be forming balances of power?

Not sure. What strikes me is that, according to Jeremy Hanson, there is only one Canberra Liberal who is busy making all these calls for this and that.

aussielyn 4:31 pm 16 Apr 13

Any change must be approved by 2/3rds of the ACTLA, so Canberra Liberal support is needed.
The other option is to put it to a referendum at the next election.
The annual costs would be $6.34 Million plus initial set up costs of up to $6.8 million.
Then there is the sorting out of boundaries that must be the job of the ACT Electoral commission.

patrick_keogh 4:17 pm 16 Apr 13

johnboy said :

Now with Jeremy Hanson’s response.

Honestly though do we really think that people with less than 20% of the vote should be forming balances of power?

You might as well ask whether a party that gets 50% of the vote should have to consider the wishes of those who didn’t vote for them. In the new model a uniform majority of 0.1% gives the majority party not 50% of the representation but 60%.

No matter what proportional or FPTP scheme you look at you can find scenarios that look unrepresentative. However one thing we can say is that overall, Canberrans have voted for minority government in the past. Whether they will continue to do that is up to the pollsters and pundits to predict.

johnboy 4:05 pm 16 Apr 13

Now with Jeremy Hanson’s response.

Honestly though do we really think that people with less than 20% of the vote should be forming balances of power?

pepmeup 3:04 pm 16 Apr 13

Do we have the talent for another 8 MLAs? I would hope that a bit of new blood gets involved with a better chance of now getting elected. 5 of 5 does make it hard for any independents to get up. which is a real shame. But I guess five electorates means a more local representation

MarkG 2:51 pm 16 Apr 13

This report gives the major parties cover to subject the ACT to a very rigid, US-style two party system. A threshold of 17% (required for a 5-member electorate) is far more rarely achieved by third parties than the 12% threshold applying under a 7-member arrangement.

The report technically recommends 5 electorates of 7 members as an end point, and tries to pass off the 5×5 bit as the “most appropriate” transitional step. No reason is offered for why 5×5 is more “appropriate” than 3×7, though. The report wants 5×5 to happen immediately but goes soft on the time-frame for 5×7, with only a vague listing of 2020 and 2024 as possible / aspirational dates.

The best option for the majors would be to enact the first step and then find some pretext later to avoid enacting the second. But even following the plan as laid-out will probably wipe the Greens out for 4-8 years and deny them staff and resources over that time-frame. It will also create an impossible barrier for other third parties which the majors can leave there for as long as they wish.

Whether this is good probably depends on your attitude towards the major parties.

(As a Pirate Party member, I think it’s not good).

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