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'It's over to us now to make parliament work'

Katy Gallagher has expressed a desire to work more closely with the Liberal Party in the new Assembly after she was formally re-elected as Chief Minister.

Acting Chief Justice Richard Refshauge this morning swore in the 17 members of the eighth ACT Legislative Assembly.

The eight Liberal MLAs and Green Shane Rattenbury combined to elect Liberal Vicki Dunne as Speaker.

Mr Rattenbury, then switched sides to vote with the eight-member Labor caucus to elect Ms Gallagher as Chief Minister.

Ms Gallagher told the chamber that with the numbers almost tied, she hoped that there would be occasions when all 17 members of the Assembly would work collaboratively.

“The Canberra community have elected a parliament where the number are 8-8-1.  It’s over to us now to make that parliament work,’’ she said.


“It’s important as we begin the eighth Assembly to acknowledge that we all start at the same point. We are all here because each of us individually loves this city, because we are all contributors, because we all want to make the city a better place to live.’’

Ms Gallagher said the political system did not always have to be adversarial.

“While there are many aspects of our system of governance that are adversarial, there are also many occasions where we come together in the spirit of compromise and collaboration, times where are our ideas can combine rather than compete and I believe there should be more of those times,’’ she said.

Ms Gallagher thanked Mr Rattenbury, who will serve as a minister in the new cabinet, for supporting her.

She promised to heed the messages the voters had sent to the government through the election.

Opposition Leader Zed Seselja said it was disappointing that the Liberals had been denied government despite winning more votes at the election than any other party.

“We achieved swings in every electorate, we had more new people in more new places voting Liberal,’’ he said.

“The Liberal Party in this election won the popular vote.

“I must express disappointment that this is the first time in territory history that the party with the most votes doesn’t have the chance to form government.

“We accept the process that was undertaken … but that does not mean that we agree with the result.

“The future of the territory has been taken from the party with the highest number of votes and taken by the party with the fewest.’’

Mr Seselja promised to hold the government to account and to oppose extreme policies and higher costs.

“Winning the popular vote but being denied government means we have more responsibility than ever, to stand up for Canberrans who have been denied this outcome,’’ he said.

“More than ever we need to keep an eye on costs, something the electorate clearly voted against.

“More than ever we will stand up against policy that will push us to extremes, something the electorate emphatically voted against.’’

Mr Seselja thanked his family for their support and congratulated the newly-elected MLAs.

Meantime, Mr Rattenbury said his deliberations about which achieving the best for all Canberrans, irrespective of who they had voted for.

He said he believed it was time the ACT had a Greens MLA in cabinet.

“I do believe that it is time after 17-years of the Greens being represented on the cross bench of this assembly that it is time for us to play a role in government,’’ Mr Rattenbury said.

“I’ll look forward to playing my part in a cabinet team to deliver a fairer and more sustainable future for our city.”