Cassowary Coast Regional Council

Divided or Undivided Divided or Undivided

Divided/Divisional Representation

What does Divided or Divisional Representation mean?
Candidates nominate as a Councillor for a particular division within the local government area and are elected by the voters of that division only.

Advantages of Divided/Divisional representation?
1. Most candidates generally have a close relationship with the divisional area because they are a resident, conduct a business or are involved in groups or activities in the area, and are frequently personally known to the electors. However, it is not necessary for a Divisional Councillor to live in their division.
2. Electors of a division may feel more able to identify with a Councillor elected from their division as their particular local representative.
3. Divisions are seen to guarantee direct representation of all areas and communities within the Council area.
4. The community feels that  it has  a direct representative who will take care of local interests and/or issues, which may be overlooked in the larger ‘council-wide’ picture.
5. Divisions provide clear and identifiable lines of communication with Council through Divisional Councillors.
6. There  may be a financial advantage for candidates in that some of the costs of running a campaign in a divisional election are likely to be less than for an area-wide election, which may encourage more candidates to stand for divisional elections than an area-wide election


Disadvantages of Divided/Divisional representation?
1. There is a need to ensure the achievement of divisional quotas (certain number of electors), resulting in more divisions in heavily populated centres and less divisions in large unpopulated areas, possibly giving the perception of imbalanced representation.
2. Divisions offer a reduced choice of candidates for the electors as  electors  may only vote in a division for which they are enrolled. This  prevents the opportunity for electors to choose their representatives from the total list of candidates.
3. Community expectation or  mistaken perception that Divisions will mean ’individuality’, that is not only having their own Councillor but individual budget allocations and funding will be provided for their division, that the rates raised in the Division will be  spent only in the division, that divisional rating structures will be implemented and policies will be divisional.
4. Dissent and disconnect in the community favouring divisional progress over what is in the interest of the community as a whole.
5. The greater the number of divisions the more difficult it becomes to identify suitable boundaries, maintain communities of interest and comply with quota limits.
6. In some instances due to quota provisions, Divisions can become large, therefore the workload of single member divisions can be extremely demanding, possibly leading to absenteeism, which would leave the division without direct representation.