Representative Democracy in Australian Local Government

Colin Hearfield, Brian Dollery


Abstract

In an assessment of representative democracy in Australian local government, this paper considers long-run changes in forms of political representation, methods of vote counting, franchise arrangements, numbers of local government bodies and elected representatives, as well as the thorny question of constitutional recognition. This discussion is set against the background of ongoing tensions between the drive for economic efficiency and the maintenance of political legitimacy, along with more deep-seated divisions emerging from the legal relationship between local and state governments and the resultant problems inherent in local government autonomy versus state intervention.

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