Representative Democracy in Australian Local Government

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Colin Hearfield
Brian Dollery


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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How to Cite
Hearfield, C., & Dollery, B. (2009). Representative Democracy in Australian Local Government. Commonwealth Journal of Local Governance, (2), 61-75.
Research and Evaluation (peer-reviewed)
Author Biographies

Colin Hearfield, University of New England

Geography and Planning, School of Behavioural, Cognitive and Social Sciences

Brian Dollery, University of New England

Professor of Economics & Director of the UNE Centre for Local Government, School of Business, Economics and Public Policy