REFORMING GOVERNMENT IN AUSTRALIA
( essay ) ( essay )
A dramatic characteristic of Paul Sheehan ‘s best merchandising book, Amongst the Barbarians, is that it is about wholly negative. It contains onslaughts on many groups, races and classs of people, but there are no positive proposals at all to turn to sensed jobs, except the entirely abstract and rhetorical proposition that Australia should go an “ ecological world power ” , whatever that means.
Much the same applies to the Pauline Hanson political motion. All its proposals are wholly negative & # 8212 ; such things as increasing punishments for certain offenses, maintaining out migrators and cutting outgos on everybody from unwed female parents to Aborigines.
Yet Australians are shouting out for practical replies to a battalion of jobs. One country in which there is an obvious crisis is the machinery of Australian authorities. Over the past twosome of old ages we have seen an inconclusive Constitutional Convention discoursing whether we should stay lawfully and constitutionally a British settlement or go a republic, this was followed by the recent referendum in which the flawed theoretical account produced by the Constitutional Convention was defeated narrowly on the footing of really effectual demagogic rhetoric by the monarchist side about the demand for direct election of a president.
We have seen the Australian Capital Territory given an awkward sort of limited self authorities, and many 1000s of voters in the district vote for a No-Self-Government Party.
We have seen the parliament in Tasmania dramatically change the electoral system. We have seen the Kennett Government in Victoria close down local authorities, amalgamate many municipalities and so reconstruct local authorities in much bigger countries, but with the undemocratic first-past-the-post electoral system.
We have now merely seen the Howard authorities, in a piece of hopeful electoral self-interest, float an ill-thought-out proposition for immediate statehood for the Northern Territory without deciding the job of federal and province division over Aboriginal land rights, or of the really little population base of the new province ( much less than half of the population of Tasmania, and half the population of the ACT ) , or the job of the figure of Senate seats for the new province.
In a instead surprising, but cheering turn-up, the Northern Territory electorate threw out this undemocratic proposal in a referendum co-occuring with the federal elections, and coincidently threw out the Broad member for the Northern Territory and replaced him with a Labor member.
Positive proposals needed Positive proposals needed
These things highlight the demand for a serious probe of the jobs of Australian authorities and realistic proposals for how they might be resolved. If it ‘s deserving composing about the jobs of Australian society, political relations and authorities, as Paul Sheehan, Bob Gould and others do, it ‘s for such manque public intellectuals should set forward concrete proposals to decide some of these jobs.
In this spirit, hence, after the better portion of a life-time in political activity, I advance for public treatment a set of proposals to decide some of the jobs of Australian authorities, in the current millenarist ambiance.
A good topographic point to get down this treatment is with a small polemical book of 109 pages published late by Rodney Hall, a outstanding Australian poet who was, for three old ages, president of the Australia Council.
Hall ‘s book is called Abolish the States and is a smartly presented statement for the abolishment of both province authoritiess and local municipal councils, replacing both with merely one system of regional authorities. Hall claims this rearrangement would salvage many 1000000s of dollars.
Merely late, outstanding leftist Labor federal forepart bencher Lindsay Tanner has besides promoted the abolishment of the provinces in his new book, Open Australia. It ‘s deserving indicating out about Tanner that he is chalk outing out a proposed new Labor policy in which he jettisons most of the traditional socialist propositions in favor of a figure of rhetorical, general propositions that are difficult to trap down to concrete authorities actions.
In my position, Tanner throws in the abolishment of the provinces lightly, as a sort of left face to soften the impact of his general displacement to the right. He is anything but stupid, and he must therefore realise that the abolishment of the provinces is a proposition that ‘s improbable to be taken up by any Labor leading as immediate practical political relations. Therefore, I believe, this proposal is truly left talk, thrown in instead cynically without any serious purpose that it will of all time go world.
When I commenced my activity in the labour motion in the 1950s, support for get rid ofing the provinces was common in the labour motion and, without believing about it much, I shared it myself. I ‘ve come around to the position that it ‘s a misguided solution to obvious jobs, and I now have a different attack.
I would now oppose get rid ofing the States and local authorities and replacing three grades of authorities by two, for the undermentioned grounds.
Expostulations to centralisation Expostulations to centralization
The Commonwealth authorities is highly distant. It ‘s really difficult to acquire at. It has many utile maps, but it ‘s really the arm of authorities most insulated from popular force per unit area. State and local authoritiess are much less far off. If you look at Australian history since Federation, a large portion of the existent political life of the community continues to be expressed in the province parliaments and in local authorities. It ‘s easier to acquire at politicians the closer you are to them, and the more straight the political construction relies on your ballot. The thought of merely holding regional authoritiess of a million or so population, combined with one large national bureaucratism in Canberra, terrifies me. How would you of all time get close plenty to your representatives to act upon them at all in a political system like that?
The provinces arose in Australia from the original settlements for existent geographical grounds. Distances between major parts in Australia are tremendous. Anyone who has read the seminal plants by Lewis Mumford and Jane Jacobs about the development of metropoliss and the interaction between metropoliss and their backwoodss in the development of civilization, will appreciate the jobs of authorities construction in a thinly settled state such as Australia. The Australian the settlements, and so the provinces, evolved around major port metropoliss and their backwoodss, and the range for existent parts separated from major port metropoliss in Australia is highly limited. All Australian history underscores this. All the bing provinces evolved from cardinal metropoliss and their backwoodss and a existent scrutiny of Australian geographics reasonably rapidly throws up existent restricting factors on regional development, other than regional development focused on major ports.
If regional development is considered concretely, within the above model, a critical and careful assessment of the hit-or-miss way of the development of provinces and parts, over the past 100 old ages, throws up the possibility of major betterments to the regional construction of the bing provinces, and the creative activity of several existent new provinces, which is about the sum of existent regionalisation that is possible in Australia without immensely increasing the cost of authorities, or, on the other manus, making such a centralized bureaucratism that ordinary people will ne’er hold any opportunity of act uponing its determinations, allow entirely taking the people in power.
Specific proposals for regionalising the provinces
This proposal starts with a careful reorganization of bing province boundaries, combined with the creative activity of four new provinces, including two new provinces integrating New Zealand, to take into history existent geographical, climatic and population worlds, a figure of which have, in fact, merely become obvious since Federation.
The first of the 10 provinces would be a new province called Capricornia, the name taken from Xavier Herbert ‘s fantastic book about life in northern Australia. The province boundary would get down at the underside of the Eighty Mile Beach in Western Austalia, travel across the top, so to talk, between Barrow Creek and Tennant Creek, so from a topographic point near Hatchers Creek, go down the Hay River to a point near the bing corner between South Australia and Queensland, so up to a line merely North of Longreach, Aramac and Blair Athol, to the seashore South of Mackay, and so out to sea, taking in the underside of the terminal of the Barrier Reef and Cato Island.
The population of this country would be about 800,000, which is a good figure for a province to be feasible. State capital maps could be divided between Darwin and Townsville, with possibly the legislative assembly in Darwin. This new province would fulfill the long-standing desire of the population of the Kimberleys, the northern portion of the Territory and north Queensland, for their ain province.
This sort of proposal was foremost made by Jock Nelson Jnr, at that clip, the Labor member of Federal Parliament for the Northern Territory, at a conference of the the Australian Institute of Political Science on Northern Australia in the 1950s.
At this conference, Nelson pointed out that the fond regard of Central Australia to the Northern Territory was a historical accident, and was non originally meant to be lasting, and that the existent ties of the Centre were with South Australia, a circumstance that still prevails now.
Nelson really proposed two provinces in the northern part I ‘ve outlined, but I would suggest one for grounds of cost and population viability, with the possibility of farther subdivision in the hereafter, when the population grows. This province would hold ab initio a batch of pastoralism, a batch of excavation, a just sum of agribusiness, some industry in Townsville, and a batch of touristry. Natives would be about a one-fourth of the population, and would hence hold sufficient political weight to support their involvements, likely in confederation with the labour motion in the urban countries of North Queensland.
Western Australia would besides give up to South Australia a ball of desert district running more or less straight up from a point a spot to the West of Eyre on the Great Australian Bight, to the Capricornia boundary line. But it would retain the remainder of Western Australia, including the Pilbara, the Hamersley Ranges and the Kalgoorlie-Boulder country. Westralia would be still a really big province and an economically diverse and balanced one, with Perth as the natural regional capital and focal point.
South Australia would be renamed Centralia, and take in the desert country detached from Western Australia, the Centre from the Northern Territory, and a bantam spot of south-west Queensland. The ground for the transportation of the spot of Western Australia is that the whole of the Blackstone and Musgrave Ranges should be under one authorities for reasonable land direction grounds. There are few obvious mineral resources at that place and a little population. But it ‘s brainsick holding a natural ecological part divided between two provinces.
The farther boundary line of South Australia should travel on a line from near the present SA-NSW-Queensland corner, down merely to the West of Tibooburra, across the Darling merely to the West of the Menindie Lakes and travel down to the Murray to the E of Wentworth and Mildura ; and so should travel on a line from at that place across to the sea at a point between Kingston and the terminal of the Coorong. The consequence of this would be to reassign Broken Hill, the Menindie Lakes and the Wentworth and Mildura irrigation countries into South Australia, from NSW and Victoria, and to reassign the Mount Gambier country to Victoria.
All of these are wholly rational and democratic geographical and population transportations. Broken Hill, Wentworth and Mildura are all tied to South Australia by many more practical ties than to the provinces into which they are presently exiled and, conversely, the Mount Gambier country is truly an extension, geographically, of the Western District of Victoria, with precisely the same societal and agricultural set up as the Western District.
A figure of sociological surveies of the Mount Gambier country have shown that in things like where people in Mount Gambier make phone calls to, and where they travel outside their place territory, they have much stronger ties with Victoria than they do with Adelaide. The new, expanded South Australia & # 8212 ; Centralia & # 8212 ; would be a natural geographical country with a great trade of industry, and with the administrative undertakings and jobs of agribusiness and land direction holding a consolidative focal point around the jobs of arid-land pastoralism, low-rainfall agribusiness and irrigation agribusiness, with Adelaide as the natural Centre.
would stay untasted, for the obvious ground that it is an island.
In add-on to the incorporation of the Mount Gambier country from South Australia, and the transportation of Mildura to South Australia, the Victoria-NSW boundary line would be redrawn from a line merely south of Hay across to a point merely south of Holbrook, and from at that place to the bing boundary line, and from at that place to the sea, therefore reassigning the southern Riverina to Victoria, a wholly rational geographical and political agreement, which the local population in that country has agitated for, away and on, in the periods when they were n’t forcing for a new province. A new province of the Riverina would non be feasible for population and geographical city/hinterland grounds, and I believe that the population of the southern Riverina would be happy with the option of a transportation to Victoria, which has been floated many times in the country.
The name of Victoria might be more suitably changed to Mannix, to give the tremendous Irish part to Victorian and Australian life proper acknowledgment in the name of the most celebrated and august Irish Australian, Archbishop Daniel Mannix. The province of Mannix would hold about 4.75 million population and would be a compact and feasible economic part centred on Melbourne.
The 2nd new province should cover the lone other country in Australia that lends itself easy to a feasible province with a sufficiently big backwoods and population based on a major port, that is the New England-North Coast country of NSW, with Newcastle as the capital. There is a longstanding demand for a new province in that part and it is wholly sensible.
The boundary should be from merely South of Lake Macquarie, up the Dividing Range between the Hunter Valley and the South, a spot to the North of Mudgee, Dubbo, Narromine and Gilgandra, and a small to the West of Coonamble and Walgett, over the Darling River, and so back to the sea North of the Darling, a small to the North of Moree and Warialda, a small to the South of Tenterfield and to the sea North of Maclean and South of Ballina and Lismore.
The new province would hold about a million dwellers and would be a feasible economic country with a varied agricultural base, a batch of industry, a batch of excavation and a batch of touristry, with a natural capital and focal point in Newcastle.
Taking on the function of the province capital would supply a major economic encouragement to Newcastle in the face of recent industrial diminution, and could even change by reversal the industrial diminution. This is the merely other part in Australia that lends itself easy to a new province if the standard for a province are a combination of a feasible backwoods with a major metropolis as the focal point. Macquarie seems a reasonable name since it is that of the most progressive early governor of NSW, who happened to be in charge when the part was foremost developed.
The boundary lines of a slightly smaller NSW flow from all the other agreements, with the add-on that a farther boundary line should be drawn a spot to the North of the Darling River, reassigning the country around Tibooburra and the Paroo into Queensland. The smaller NSW would still include Bourke, Dubbo, Orange, Bathurst, the Central Coast country, which looks to Sydney, Goulburn, Wagga, the Murrumbidge Irrigation Area, Wollongong and the Illawarra country, and the Snowy Mountains.
The ACT should besides to be transferred back to NSW. It is truly merely a big administrative metropolis, and there ‘s no rule of authorities that says the national capital ca n’t be portion of a province. All of the countries in the smaller NSW are interlocked and to some extent focal point around Sydney, even the bigger metropoliss such as Canberra and Wollongong, and farther subdivision of a natural economic country would be wholly unwanted.
The population of the smaller NSW would still be the largest in the state & # 8212 ; about five and a one-fourth million & # 8212 ; and the smaller country would be a natural economic unit with a varied agricultural government, a batch of industry and a natural focal point around the B
usiness of authorities. Sydney is already far and off the commercial capital of Australia, with the national central office of most houses, and tie ining Sydney and Canberra in the one province is truly a practical acknowledgment of this world.
The possible expostulation from Victoria to this geographically realistic amalgamation of the ACT and NSW should hold been eliminated by the reasonable tradeoff of reassigning Mount Gambier and the Southern Riverina to Victoria. An appropriate name for the new province of NSW would be Pemulwuy, marking the brave Aboriginal general who resisted British conquering.
Finally, the boundaries of Queensland should be north of the Darling River and North of Maclean and South of Lismore. The Lismore-Murwillumbah country should be transferred to Queensland in acknowledgment of an already bing geographical world, as should be the Paroo-Tibooburra country in the West. The new, more compact Queensland would still be a really big, diverse and economically feasible province, with about three million population after casting North Queensland and deriving the Lismore-Murwillumbah part. The name Queensland would be preserved.
Embrace New Zealand Embrace New Zealand
At the clip of federation, Western Australia about did n’t fall in, and New Zealand about did. In fact, the Australian Constitution, adopted at Federation, still allows for New Zealand to fall in at any clip. Two little autonomous provinces in the South Pacific, Australia and New Zealand, with really similar ethnic and cultural features, and wholly interlacing, similar economic systems, is a spot of an absurdness. While it ‘s obvious that, with the passing of clip, it has become harder to visualize a amalgamation between Australia and New Zealand, a minute of major constitutional alteration in Australia would non be a bad clip to prove whether a amalgamation between the two states could be a existent possibility.
There are some obvious major advantages in such a amalgamation. Some of these are: a larger more rationally incorporate domestic market, standardised in-migration processs, broader cultural interchange and a incorporate currency. Under the agreements outlined above, it would be administratively executable for New Zealand to go two provinces of the Commonwealth, say, Northland and Southland. Northland would hold a population of three million and Southland about 800,000, both reasonable sizes for provinces under the new agreements. The new Australasian Commonwealth of 10 provinces would hold a population of about 23 million by the twelvemonth 2000, have a big and diverse domestic market, and be a important power in universe personal businesss.
Renaming the provinces Renaming the provinces
I have made some proposals for renaming some of the provinces, in the spirit of the apothegm frequently used by Karl Marx, “ history is whole fabric ” . Taken as a whole, the names of the provinces should stand for both geographical elements and historical elements covering the whole history of the state.
The name Queensland is preserved and Macquarie introduced to recognize the imperial British component that is a existent portion of Australasian history. On the other manus Pemulway and Mannix are introduced to recognize major and decisive elements in our history antecedently unrepresented in province names. Tasmania is appropriate as Abel Tasman was Dutch, and can be taken to stand for the non-British migratory part to Australasia. I believe that my spectrum of province names is a nice mix, stand foring the existent Australasia as it now is.
Democratic considerations Democratic considerations
The democratic benefits of these realistic geographical rearrangements are considerable. All the countries transferred from one province or another, or to new provinces, are distant from the Centre of authorities in their provinces under the present agreements, and ever would be so, and in every instance their existent geographical ties are much greater with the province that they are coming into under the new agreements.
This circumstance will give the Parliamentarians they elect much greater influence and clout in looking after the involvements of the components in the country they represent. This is obvious for the two new provinces, but its besides obvious for the countries transferred. The Broken Hill country, for case, would hold far more clout in a parliament in Adelaide than it presently has in a parliament in Sydney. The Albury country would hold far more clout in a parliament in Melbourne than one in Sydney. The Lismore country would hold greater clout in Brisbane than Sydney, etc, etc. The people in all these countries would acquire more effectual political representation than under the present agreements.
Land direction, planning, fiscal and geographical considerations Land direction, planning, fiscal and geographical considerations
A figure of these flow from the democratic considerations mentioned above, but a figure base on their ain pess. For case, Centralia, being composed of countries with similar climatic and agricultural governments, preponderantly a spot waterless, will be able to concentrate on research and land direction directed at one sort of job. Whereas Capricornia, being the tropical North, would be able to concentrate its resources on another set of jobs.
One of import consideration is to try, every bit far as possible consistent with other necessities, to convey of import catchment countries of major river systems into one province. This is peculiarly the instance in the cardinal Murray part, where holding opposite sides of the Murray in different provinces has become a existent job in organizing effectual steps to undertake the salt job.
In add-on to this, the focal point in this set of proposals around bing geographical worlds provides for realistic development positions without the fiscal runaway that would come from unrealistic farther subdivision into major parts. The sort of strategy I advance here is, in fact, the lone realistic model for farther regionalisation in Australia.
On first consideration, a proposal to unify Canberra with NSW may look like a spot of a long shooting. However, it has a batch to urge itself, both to Canberra occupants and other Australians. If Canberra was a big metropolis municipal country in a smaller NSW, there would be at least five or six Canberra MLAs in a province parliament, which would give them considerable clout on affairs suchas allotment of financess.
Soon the Commonwealth doles out financess to Canberra in a really arbitrary manner, sometimes excessively much, and sometimes excessively small, and Canberra suffers from that sort of arbitrary distant federal planning. Soon, with Commonwealth support cuts, Canberra is in a dramatic slack, with high unemployment, sulky concern activity, empty stores and houses and really down lodging monetary values.
In Canberra the Commonwealth authorities is still subdividing land and planning suburbs for the distant hereafter, which contributes to a chronic glut of lodging, thereby dejecting lodging monetary values for present dwellers. Being merely a normal portion of the province of NSW, and thereby freed from the worst facets of huffy Commonwealth forward “ planning ” , Canberra occupants would profit.
Peoples such as province public retainers and instructors would profit from the possibility of normal transportation rights to other parts of NSW etc, etc. Canberra would go a normal topographic point of federal public service activity, like Sydney or Melbourne, without the incongruous and unsatisfactory particular position that irritates people in other countries, and works against the involvements of the people who live and work in Canberra.
Bing a feasible and existent portion of a lively, diverse and advanced province as the new smaller NSW would be, is likely to be much more attractive to Canberra people than being portion of an unreal independent statelet a spot like the Hutt River Province in Western Australia.
Democratic electoral betterments in the provinces, the commonwealth and local authorities. Bring on the democracy, fast!
The pathetic republican deadlock should be resolved fast with this simple but executable reform. First of wholly, the Governor General and all province governors should be instantly abolished. They should be replaced by a Commonwealth president and two vice-presidents, all elected by the people in one panel for eight old ages.
This presidential council should hold the powers of caput of province in the Commonwealth and the provinces. The council ‘s limited powers should be wholly ceremonial, except for badly limited modesty powers to decide governmental crises in the Commonwealth or the provinces, which should be exercised by bulk ballot of the presidential council.
The utile ceremonial maps could be divided between the three, which would dramatically cut down the cost of the mostly ceremonial but still utile presidential function without get rid ofing it wholly. A president and two vice-presidents, between them, could quite efficaciously do all the necessary public visual aspects countrywide in that function. A presidential council of three would besides let for some diverseness in sex and ethnicity.
Unify the two houses of each parliament Merge the two houses of each parliament
Unifying the two houses would well cut down the cost of authorities, and take obstructions and gridlock in authorities.
Government in Australia has become more helter-skelter and less decisive because of the incongruousnesss of the two-chamber system. While this has had some more or less inadvertent benefits, such as the blocking of the sale of Telstra, it is going progressively anachronic.
The upper houses, in the provinces and the commonwealth, were originally bastions of reaction. But, due to democratic reforms, mostly the debut of elective members and in some provinces relative representation, some of them have, paradoxically, go spheres in which antecedently excluded minorities acquire some representation.
This has a certain desirableness as a utile control and alteration on an basically bipartisan system, but the being of two separate houses makes the procedure of authorities fickle and debatable and frequently consequences in gridlock.
A desirable and reasonable declaration of all these jobs would be to unify the two houses of parliament in the provinces and the Commonwealth. In the provinces the electoral rule should be two-thirds of the members elected by the discriminatory system in single electorates and one tierce by the relative representation system that prevails in the NSW upper house.
When this alteration is made, the figure of politicians in each province could be trimmed back a spot for cost grounds. A combination of single electorates, with a 3rd elected under PR would be given to continue the major Labor/Conservative division, while giving smaller groups sensible representation.
All the dialogues for alliances etc would hold to take topographic point in the one house of parliament, supplying greater governmental stableness. The same method of election should predominate for a one-chamber Commonwealth parliament, besides cut downing the Numberss a spot, with the difference that a PR constituent should be elected province by province, as the Senate is now elected.
The riddance of the bureaucratism for two Chamberss in each parliament, and a modest decrease in representatives, would enable lower costs of authorities. It is rather of import to show the above place as a amalgamation of the two houses of parliament, instead than the abolishment of the upper house. The amalgamation of the two houses is much more likely to be accepted by the electorate than the abolishment of upper houses.
Local authorities is possibly the most of import domain of authorities because it is closest to the people. However, it ‘s perceived to be in a deep-seated province of crisis. Local authorities is possibly the most of import domain of authorities because it is closest to the people. However, it ‘s perceived to be in a deep-seated province of crisis.
The Kennett authorities in Victoria tried to decide this crisis in an basically undemocratic manner by mergers of municipalities into really big organic structures, but presenting a first-past-the-post vote system, which allows no cheques and balances.
Anotherapproachisrequired, andI’llmake thatconcrete byadvancinga proposalforthe reorganisationoflocalgovernmentinthe CountyofCumberlandarea, the Sydneybasin. The broadprinciplesinthisproposalcouldbe usedinallthe majorAustralianstate capitals.
The firstissue isthe roughsize ofmunicipalities. Sydneynowhasa weirdpatchworkofmunicipalitiesintermsofpopulation. A figure, suchasthe CityofSydney, ConcordandHuntersHill, have tinyresidentvotingpopulations, around 10,000 people, while othermunicipalitiessuchasFairfield, Holroyd, Liverpoolandthe SutherlandShire have between 100,000 and 200,000 electors, with, nevertheless, roughlythe same numberofaldermenasthe municipalitieswith 10,000.
Thishascome aboutbecause municipalreorganisationhasnotkeptpace withthe growthofthe populationofthe cityregion, andhasbeenoverlyinfluencedbyepisodicinterventionsbystate governmentsforshort-termpoliticaladvantage, the worstexample ofwhichisthe periodicredrawingofthe boundariesofthe CityofSydneyona completelyadhocbasisto keepone oranotherpoliticalpartyinoroutofpower.
The presentCityofSydney, SouthSydneyandBotany, pluspartofLeichhardt, Marrickville andWoolahra municipalities, shouldbe amalgamatedto produce a majorCityofSydney, whichwouldadministerthe CBD, inner-cityresidentialareas, the SouthSydneyindustrialarea, MascotAirportandthe portofBotanyBay, aswellasCentennialParkandthe newfilmcomplexaroundthe formershowgrounds.
Itwouldhave a populationofabout 200,000 withfive wards, eachrepresentedbyfourcouncillorselectedunderproportionalrepresentation.
The country I ‘ve outlinedhasnaturalgeographicboundariesforthe centralcore ofthe part.
The restofthe SydneyBasinshouldbe reorganisedinmunicipalitieswithbetween 80,000 and 120,000 people, whichisthe populationfigure consideredbymosturbaneconomiststo allowforsufficienteconomiesofscale to do localgovernmentreasonablyeconomic.
The commissionersundertakingthe redistributionofmunicipalboundariesshouldattemptto designmunicipalareasthathave unifyinggeographicalandregionalfeatures. Thismajorreorganisationobviouslyinvolvesthe mergerofsmallercouncilsandthe divisionofthe overgrownlargercouncilsonthe rural/urbanfringe.
Councilsof 100,000 populationshouldgenerallybe dividedinto fourwardsoffour. The wardprinciple isworthpreservinginlocalgovernmentbecause itgivespeople insmallerareasa sensible opportunity ofknowingwho theirrepresentativesare andexertingpressure onthem, because inthe sphere oflocalgovernmentthe livesoflocalpeople are affectedverydirectlybydecisionsmade bytheirrepresentatives.
WardsoffourwithPRisa prettyimportantprinciple because itensuresthatsignificantgroupsinanyarea getrepresentation, asthe quota isonly 20 per centum. Inpractice, itwillusuallymeanthatLaborandLiberalgetmajorrepresentation, butthataswellyougetsignificantrepresentationfromenvironmentallymindedindependents, Democrats, Greensorothers, whose presence cankeepthe majorgroupshonest, so to talk.
Inlocalgovernment, a certaintensionbetweenLabor, Liberalandenvironmentallymindedindependents, isa veryhealthythingandleadsto properscrutinyofmeasuresaffectingpeople’sday-to-daylives. The broadprinciple ofwardsoffourwithproportionalrepresentationwouldenshrine a basicallydemocraticenvironmentatthe nucleus oflocalgovernment, andthiswouldbe veryhealthy.
Reorganisationsoflocalgovernmentinthe othermajorstate capitalsshouldtake topographic point onsimilarbroadprinciplesto the onesI have outlinedforthe Sydneyregion, butwouldobviouslybe significantlydifferentbecause ofthe specialfeaturesprevailingineachcity.
Localgovernmentinprovincialcitiesandthe state Localgovernmentinprovincialcitiesandthe state
Obviouslylocalgovernmentreorganisationpresentsdifferentproblemsoutside the majorcapitals. Some thingsare common. The PRprinciple, withwards, andessentiallywardsoffour, applieseverywhere.
Some majorprovincialcitiessuchasthe Illawarra wouldbe more appropriatelyone big citygovernment, withmaybe evenfive orsixwardsbecause ofthe largerpopulation.
Ingeneral, inmore thinlypopulatedcountryareas, amalgamationoftowncouncilsandshiresisa desirable reform, butevenwithsuchamalgamationsinsome areasthe populationfora feasible regionalmunicipalarea stillhasto be farfewerthanthe populationfora feasible country inthe majorcities, andthese thingshave to be workedoutveryconcretely, withthe fullparticipationofthe electorate. Nevertheless, the desirable rule isviable areaseconomicallyforthe betterprovisionofservices, combinedwithwardsandPRto guarantee democraticrepresentation.
The reorganisationoflocalgovernmentto more effectivelyrepresentthe interestsofpeople ontheirownhome groundshouldbe commencedandcompletedina reasonable clip frame, butbecause it’sso importantto peopleslivesitshouldbe done carefully, withfullpublicconsultationso properpublicdiscussionofalternativescantake topographic point.
I amadvancingmysetofproposalshere asaninitialcontributiontothe necessarydiscussion, basedona longstudyofthe historyofmunicipalaffairsinAustralia, andsome participationinthematrankandfile degree.