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Directly Elected Mayors in Urban GovernanceImpact and Practice$
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David Sweeting

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781447327011

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447327011.001.0001

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Popular leaders or rats in the ranks? Political leadership in Australian cities

Popular leaders or rats in the ranks? Political leadership in Australian cities

(p.121) Eight Popular leaders or rats in the ranks? Political leadership in Australian cities
Directly Elected Mayors in Urban Governance

Paul Burton

Policy Press

Australia is a highly urbanised country but its cities are governed by local councils organised and led in a variety of ways. This variety stems in part from the fact that local government is shaped principally by laws enacted by each of the eight State and Territory governments that comprise the Commonwealth of Australia. In most cases the single tier of local government is led by a mayor working with a relatively small group of councillors, but only in Queensland are all of these mayors required to be directly elected by popular vote. This chapter uses this pattern of variability to explore the extent to which the mayors of Queensland have been able to realise in practice the notional benefits associated with direct election and whether this experience provides a plausible foundation for the transformation of local political leadership across the country as a whole. The chapter considers also the relationship between different models of local political leadership and the realisation of wider goals of urban governance.

Keywords:   directly elected mayors, urban governance, leadership, local government, Australia

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