Five electorates will reduce diversity of representation in the ACT

A Bill to increase the size of the ACT Legislative Assembly to a 5 x 5 model will reinforce the two party system and unfairly impact minor parties, said ACT Greens Member for Molonglo, Shane Rattenbury.

“The ACT has grown significantly since the Assembly was first created over 23 years ago, and while perhaps it is time for growth, I am concerned that the 5 x 5 model is not the most appropriate nor most democratic approach,” said Mr Rattenbury.

“The 5 x 5 model, which will see five members across five electorates, will limit diversity in representation and make it harder for smaller parties and independents to win seats in the Assembly.

“The more members in each electorate, the lower the quota required to get elected and the better the proportionality of the result, allowing for greater diversity of representation.

“While support for the Greens is strong within the Canberra community, there are other smaller parties and individuals who could lose out under this model.

“A fairer and more democratic model would see the existing three electorates remain, but increase membership of each to 7 or 9 members. 

“Having five electorates would also inevitably mean that more districts would be split between electorates in the same way we see Gungahlin and Woden split.

“It simply does not make sense to further divide communities and population centres.  The existing model of three electorates most accurately and naturally reflects existing district boundaries throughout Canberra.

As the 5 x5 model has the support of both the Labor and Liberal Parties, the only way we could see an alternate model is if the community puts a clear view that they do not support this legislation and want a more democratic, representative system.