Gai Brodtmann votes at Melrose High School. Photo: Jay Cronan
LABOR'S strong result in Canberra reflects fear about what an Abbott government could mean for the ACT and recognition of the Rudd and Gillard administration's achievements, says re-elected MP Gai Brodtmann.
Ms Brodtmann was elected to a second term as MP for the southern seat of Canberra with what appeared to be a slightly reduced majority.
With 56 per cent of the vote counted, Labor was well ahead in the seat. Ms Brodtmann had 42 per cent of the vote, Liberal Tom Sefton 36 per cent, Greens candidate Julie Melrose 13 per cent, the Bullet Train Party 4 per cent and the Palmer United Party 3 per cent.
Ms Brodtmann said the result reflected a combination of factors. ''I do believe the Canberra community does acknowledge the investments we've made here, unprecedented investments, particularly in schools and social housing, but they're also absolutely petrified of what could be under a Tony Abbott government,'' she said.
''That particularly came up over the last four weeks - I've been door knocking and … going to bus interchanges, and that was the predominant theme - the fear of what could be.''
''I think the 12,000 to 20,000 [public service job cuts] through supposed natural attrition could just be the beginning - that's my great concern and it's the concern of many Canberrans - and it's not just public servants, it's also tradies, the business people I've spoken to, they're really concerned about the future under a Tony Abbott government.''
Ms Brodtmann proudly highlighted some of the local investments she said had helped her hold the traditionally safe Labor seat.
''Talking to Canberrans over the last three years they're absolutely delighted in the investments we've made in Canberra, investments we've made in education, a new multi-purpose hall or new outdoor learning centre for every primary school, investments in computers in every high school, new trade training centres right throughout the city … we've made a significant investment in Canberra.''
Ms Brodtmann was challenged for the seat by former soldier Tom Sefton, who also ran for the ACT Legislative Assembly last year.
Mr Sefton said he was pleased with the way he had conducted his campaign.
''I'm happy. I think we ran a very tight race and we gave Canberrans a genuine choice out there,'' he said.
Mr Sefton said the No.1 issue raised with him by voters in the campaign was service delivery.
''Yes, the economy was important, yes, jobs were important,'' he said.
''But at the end of the day, people want to know what the federal government will do for the people of Canberra.''
Although it is generally considered to be a safe Labor seat, Canberra has been held by the Liberals twice since its creation in 1974.