As Mayor of Unley I am very lucky to have an MP such as David Pisoni as a State representative who covers the majority of the Unley Council area. He doorknocks the area extensively and always forwards local issues through to Council just as Council will liaise with him on State issues, particularly on transport and planning.
I can’t help but wonder though whether there might be some efficiencies for the community through looking at how the two tiers operate.
The importance of the work done by both Local and State Governments can not be ignored, neglected, diminished or thrown out. Both achieve real results in and for the community. Both make different decisions and have a role to play. Holistically, governments must always be looking for ways to minimise expenses whilst delivering the services the community needs. With increasing debt levels we must always seek out ways of delivering services to the community at the least expense and of ensuring our democratic system maximises the important aspect of representation by the people for the community. Whilst my idea may not be the solution, further discussion which helps to refine what we have can and should be a positive thing.
Currently at a Local level, the Mayor presides over the deliberations of Council and only ever votes in order to break a tied Councillor deadlock. The decisions of the Council are therefore not the Mayors but the will of the meeting (Councillors). These decisions relate to what roads to resurface, parks to put swings in, garbage contract to sign. They are important local decisions and it is good that everyday civic minded members of the community who put up their hands to be Councillors can make these decisions. These decisions however; are only those which can be enacted within the Council’s boundaries. Issues which affect this same community but are state wide issues are the realm of the Member of Parliament and State Government.
With this idea of amalgamating the position of Mayor and MP, consider if it would be possible to have a Council deliberate on matters of health, education and policing whilst discussing issues of roads rates and rubbish. The decisions about the rates and rubbish are binding on that Council area and the people living in it. The decisions Council makes about education and health and those State issues would be position statements in relation to proposed legislation that the MP/Mayor would then be empower to trundle into Parliament with and negotiate for the good of their Council amongst and with piers.
MPs deliberate on legislation already but ask yourself, how do they know what their community wants in relation to education, policing, health or business tax? Is it through a party room? Is it through focus groups? Is it through their own philosophical political views?
If the MP was directed by a duly elected body of Councillors and had access to Council community engagement tools, perhaps they would be better equipped and we would all be better served?
It’s just an idea. We are the most livable place on earth but that shouldn’t stop us from examining new ways of Governing. Perhaps a more streamlined relationship between the two tiers of Government might give South Australia the competitive edge in governance which could make us the envy of the other Australian states and make us the most attractive place in which to do business and reside.
It’s over to you; it’s a democracy after all, it’s your choice.
Categories: Lachlan Clyne - Personal Life