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Your thoughts wanted on the expansion of the Legislative Assembly

By johnboy - 17 January 2013 15

The ABC’s Antony Green is having a look at the process underway to expand the Legislative Assembly:

The ACT’s original electoral system elected 17 members at large. The introduction of the Hare-Clark electoral system in the existing 17 member Assembly created the undesirable situation where the three electorates return different numbers of members. If the Assembly is to increase in size, the two most commonly suggested options are a 21 member Assembly with three seven-member electorates, or a 25 member Assembly with five five-member electorates.

The ACT is under-represented per head of population in the Commonwealth parliament, has no local government, and so the argument has been put that the Legislative Assembly should have more members.

The Expert Reference Group has released a discussion paper where all these issues are outlined. The Group has now called for public submissions.

The discussion paper is here and submissions close on 1 March.

What’s Your opinion?


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15 Responses to
Your thoughts wanted on the expansion of the Legislative Assembly
joingler 1:09 pm 20 Jan 13

I have no opinion on whether we should increase numbers or not but we certainly need to change boundaries. I live in Watson but I share my electorate with Weston Creek. This is good for neither the resident in Duffy or me.

Molonglo always has the balance of power (good for me, not so good for 150,000 Canberrans though). This means that Gungahlin is where elections are won and lost. So no matter who wins, Gungahlin win but Tuggeranong/Woden/Belconnen lose.

Ryoma 11:03 am 20 Jan 13

breda said :

Boo to increasing sitting weeks. When they are sitting, they are dreaming up and passing more laws. Since we arguably already have an excess of laws, I fail to see how increasing sitting times is a good outcome.

OTOH, making them come to the office to do committee-type work, involving research and proper consultation, might possibly produce better policy outcomes.

Spot on, Breda. I’d rather they spent more time talking to constituents and actually doing committee type work than yelling at other in the Chamber and inventing stuff to make it look like things are happening. Could benefit from this at Federal level too.

@Primal – LOL, I really like this idea. It could achieve making Canberrans even more us-and-them than what we are now, and lead to scenes like this; http://leblow.co.uk/twitter-a-tword-or-two/.

No, I actually do like it. It could well mean better focus on local issues, rather than pollies who live near one town centre not really understanding what is going on elsewhere across Canberra.
And diversity in our polity can be a good thing too – when a decision is made, all involved can wear the consequences, rather than just harping at each other.

caf 4:15 pm 18 Jan 13

miz said :

I think your MLA stats are for the whole of Queensland. Qld does not have an upper house, so the councillors I am referring to are Brisbane City Council-ors (local), not State level pollies.

There are 35 Electoral Districts that the QEC groups under “North Brisbane” and “South Brisbane”. You do need to count these in the total, as rossco says, to compare apples with apples.

rosscoact 2:22 pm 18 Jan 13

miz said :

Rossco, you are incorrect. Based on the per head formula of Brisbane City Council, we would only need nine MLAs for the local services. The remaining eight MLAs would be available for State portfolios (health, education etc).

I think your MLA stats are for the whole of Queensland. Qld does not have an upper house, so the councillors I am referring to are Brisbane City Council-ors (local), not State level pollies.

Ive been known to be wrong many times before but here are the state electoral districts for Brisbane

Brisbane – north region
Ashgrove
Aspley
Brisbane Central
Clayfield
Everton
Ferny Grove
Indooroopilly
Kallangur – (part of Moreton Bay)
Moggill
Mount Coot-tha
Morayfield – (part of Moreton Bay)
Murrumba – (part of Moreton Bay)
Nudgee
Pine Rivers – (part of Moreton Bay)
Redcliffe – (part of Moreton Bay)
Sandgate
Stafford
[edit]Brisbane – south region
Albert
Algester
Bulimba
Bundamba – (part of City of Ipswich)
Capalaba – (part of Redland City)
Chatsworth
Cleveland – (part of Redland City)
Greenslopes
Inala
Ipswich – (part of City of Ipswich)
Logan – (part of Logan City)
Lytton
Mansfield
Mount Ommaney
Redlands – (part of Redland City)
South Brisbane
Springwood – (part of Logan City)
Stretton
Sunnybank
Waterford – (part of Logan City)
Woodridge – (part of Logan City)
Yeerongpilly

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electoral_districts_of_Queensland

miz 1:14 pm 18 Jan 13

Rossco, you are incorrect. Based on the per head formula of Brisbane City Council, we would only need nine MLAs for the local services. The remaining eight MLAs would be available for State portfolios (health, education etc).

I think your MLA stats are for the whole of Queensland. Qld does not have an upper house, so the councillors I am referring to are Brisbane City Council-ors (local), not State level pollies.

Primal 10:09 am 18 Jan 13

Or seven three-member electorates? Improved local focus but still leaves the gate open for minor party nutbag protest votes.

breda 9:56 am 18 Jan 13

Boo to increasing sitting weeks. When they are sitting, they are dreaming up and passing more laws. Since we arguably already have an excess of laws, I fail to see how increasing sitting times is a good outcome.

OTOH, making them come to the office to do committee-type work, involving research and proper consultation, might possibly produce better policy outcomes.

PantsMan 9:33 am 18 Jan 13

Why don’t we make these voluntary roles?

If these deviants are so interested in helping the community, they should do it free. And most have a “long history of community engagement,” such as malingering in some taxpayer funded not-for-profit group, or off the union dues of real workers.

Antagonist 9:28 am 18 Jan 13

Chop71 said :

They had me on side to increase the numbers, but then they cut the sitting weeks.
… and now they feed us dribble to try and make themselves look busy.

Less government please, you’re already wasting too much of our money. I can’t afford any more.

+ 1000

IrishPete 9:21 am 18 Jan 13

Chop71 said :

They had me on side to increase the numbers, but then they cut the sitting weeks.
… and now they feed us dribble to try and make themselves look busy.

Less government please, you’re already wasting too much of our money. I can’t afford any more.

Indeed. Limited sitting weeks might be acceptable in Federal and State parliaments, where the parliament is distant from many members’ electorates, but it is difficult to understand in the ACT.

Incidentally, Queanbeyan may have lower rates, but it’s a very different beast, given that it doesn’t run any prisons, police, housing, child protection or hospitals, to list but a few. It also obtains funds from a different range of sources.

I note that Brisbane Councillors are well-remunerated – well over $100k.

Chop71 9:01 am 18 Jan 13

They had me on side to increase the numbers, but then they cut the sitting weeks.
… and now they feed us dribble to try and make themselves look busy.

Less government please, you’re already wasting too much of our money. I can’t afford any more.

Deref 8:53 am 18 Jan 13

rosscoact said :

Sorry, you do not have all the elected officials in there and are ignoring the ones with state responsibilities so to compare apples with apples

Brisbane – 27 Councillors and 39 MLA = 66 elected members
ACT – 17 MLA

Therefore combined state and local government elected members per head of population

Brisbane = 15,785
ACT = 21,632

For the ACT to have the same proportion of elected officials per head of population we would need 23 MLA – that may not increase the efficiency of the government of course

Thanks for that! Accurate info always helps, just as inaccurate info always distorts and obfuscates.

Based on that, there’s a pretty sound argument for increasing the numbers here. I’d be more sympathetic, though, if our existing members would spend more time on the job and less time trying to be the Australian Consumers Associatiion.

rosscoact 8:46 am 18 Jan 13

miz said :

How about the MLAs just get more efficient and do their job properly.
Case in point, Brisbane City Council, which has 27 councillors, has a local governance responsibility (by population) roughly equivalent to the populations of Tasmania, the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory combined.%u2019 %u2013 see
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/City_of_Brisbane

Based on these figures, 17 MLAs is more than enough for our comparatively miniscule population, even after factoring in the State level portfolio areas (health, education, housing). But no, they are obsessed with the idea that we should have more MLAs because they can’t get their act together.

It is time for the ACT Govt to pull their collective heads out of their backsides and get more efficient at the top end of the bureaucracy for a change. The ACT Govt SHOULD be mortified, embarassed and ashamed that the so-called ‘struggle town’, Queanbeyan, has better town services than Canberra and that its constituents pay lower rates. I have said it before and I will say it again: If Canberra were run essentially like a council ‘with State level benefits’ there would be no need to even THINK about more MLAs. Due to continual expensive fiddling by consecutive ACT Govts and resultant crap service delivery to constituents, Canberra is the struggle town now.

Sorry, you do not have all the elected officials in there and are ignoring the ones with state responsibilities so to compare apples with apples

Brisbane – 27 Councillors and 39 MLA = 66 elected members
ACT – 17 MLA

Therefore combined state and local government elected members per head of population

Brisbane = 15,785
ACT = 21,632

For the ACT to have the same proportion of elected officials per head of population we would need 23 MLA – that may not increase the efficiency of the government of course

switch 8:46 am 18 Jan 13

As long as it’s revenue neutral. More politicians, same overall workload, pay each of them less. It’s not like the population is greatly increasing (and may well rapidly decrease come the next federal election).

miz 7:51 am 18 Jan 13

How about the MLAs just get more efficient and do their job properly.
Case in point, Brisbane City Council, which has 27 councillors, has a local governance responsibility (by population) roughly equivalent to the populations of Tasmania, the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory combined.%u2019 %u2013 see
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/City_of_Brisbane

Based on these figures, 17 MLAs is more than enough for our comparatively miniscule population, even after factoring in the State level portfolio areas (health, education, housing). But no, they are obsessed with the idea that we should have more MLAs because they can’t get their act together.

It is time for the ACT Govt to pull their collective heads out of their backsides and get more efficient at the top end of the bureaucracy for a change. The ACT Govt SHOULD be mortified, embarassed and ashamed that the so-called ‘struggle town’, Queanbeyan, has better town services than Canberra and that its constituents pay lower rates. I have said it before and I will say it again: If Canberra were run essentially like a council ‘with State level benefits’ there would be no need to even THINK about more MLAs. Due to continual expensive fiddling by consecutive ACT Govts and resultant crap service delivery to constituents, Canberra is the struggle town now.

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