ACT News


Labor told Greens to step up in last weeks

Labor Party officials warned the ACT Greens they were in danger in the last days before their near electoral wipe-out last month and urged them to try harder.

The Canberra Times understands that a senior Labor campaign figure contacted their counterpart at Greens headquarters seven or eight days before election day and told the cross-bench party that it needed to intensify its last week campaigning activity.

There had been little contact between the two camps during the campaign before the phone call on October 12 or October 13, despite there being cordial relations between the two party leaders and the Greens having propped up the minority Labor government for the previous four years.

But ALP politicians and campaigners were alarmed when they were told, eight days out from the poll, that their Greens Parliamentary Agreement partners planned low-key approach to the end of their campaign after announcing all of their polices.

The Greens were reduced from three MLA to just one in their election-day mauling, barely clinging onto the balance-of-power status and were widely criticised for their low-profile in the campaign's last week.

The party lost seats in Brindabella and Molonglo to the Canberra Liberals and one to Labor in Molonglo.


Both of the major parties also increased their primary votes across the city after they intensified their efforts in the last week of the campaign with internal polling showing unusually high numbers of undecided voters.

Experienced campaigners in both the Liberal and Labor camps knew the large undecided vote made the last week vital to the final result.

An ALP source said the party was surprised when it heard about the Greens' last-week plan and worried that Greens seats, particularly in Brindabella and Molonglo, would be lost to the Liberals' aggressive campaign if more of an effort was not made in the final days.

''We were really surprised when we were told that they had nothing planned for the last week, except some stuff that we knew wouldn't attract any media for them,'' the Labor figure told The Canberra Times.

''Nobody predicted that they would just vacate the battlefield like that, it was the real surprise of the election.''

The Greens, who were criticised by commentators for their performance in the campaign's final seven days, now have two internal reviews in progress into their election effort although it is unclear if the reports would be made public.

But the party's former parliamentary leader, Meredith Hunter, who lost her Ginninderra seat on October 20 to Labor's Yvette Berry, told The Canberra Times a week after the election that she believed the final seven days had been decisive in her party's defeat.

Party officials did not respond to requests for comment on Wednesday.


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