Public consultation to commence in January 2013

Published 21 Dec 2012

Media Release from the Expert Reference Group reviewing the size of the ACT Legislative Assembly


The Expert Reference Group reviewing the size of the ACT Assembly will undertake an extensive public consultation process early in the new year, the group’s chairperson, ACT Electoral Commissioner Phillip Green said today.


The Expert Reference Group held its first meeting this week, following the appointment of the Reference Group by ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher on 13 December 2012.


The Chief Minister has asked the Expert Reference Group to:

  • examine past reviews into the size of the Assembly;
  • consider factors relevant to increasing the size of the Assembly;
  • consider any limitations placed on changes to the size of the Assembly by the Proportional Representation (Hare-Clark) Entrenchment Act; and
  • recommend options for increasing the size of the Assembly, including the number of electorates and the number of members for each electorate.

 “Public input into this review will be very important,” Mr Green said. “The Expert Reference Group will be publishing a discussion paper in the third week in January. The discussion paper will be designed to inform people wishing to make a submission to the inquiry into the size of the Assembly and to raise issues that the group particularly intends to seek feedback on.”


The Expert Reference Group will seek public submissions by 1 March 2013. The group also intends to meet with Members of the Legislative Assembly.


“These public submissions and discussions will be used to inform the recommendations of the reference group. The Expert Reference Group is to report back to the Chief Minister by 31 March 2013,” Mr Green said.


“This review will be relevant to all ACT citizens who have an interest in how the ACT is governed,” Mr Green said. “With just 17 Members of the Legislative Assembly, the ACT has fewer elected Members serving the interests of the ACT community than any other State or Territory in Australia. 


“Bearing in mind that the ACT Legislative Assembly is uniquely responsible for both State and local government functions, this review will examine options for ensuring that the Assembly has a sufficient number of Members to enable it to efficiently and effectively undertake its extensive range of functions,” Mr Green said.


“As I indicated at the declaration of the poll for the 2012 ACT election in October, I believe it is time for the ACT to tackle this difficult issue in time to implement any change to the size of the Assembly at the 2016 election. I note that the Prime Minister has asked the Minister for Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government to prepare legislation for the Federal Parliament to allow the ACT Legislative Assembly to determine its own size,” Mr Green said.


The Expert Reference Group consists of Mr Green, Ms Anne Cahill Lambert, Mr John Hindmarsh, Professor Meredith Edwards and Ms Louise Taylor.