Gai Brodtmann. Photo: Melissa Adams
While Canberra is generally considered safe Labor territory, there is expected to be a contest for the territory's second Senate seat and the battle across the border in Eden-Monaro is always carefully watched.
There are two House of Representatives seats in the ACT: Fraser, which is largely north of the lake, and Canberra, to the south.
Both are held by Labor – by Andrew Leigh and Gai Brodtmann respectively – and have been in that party’s hands for some time.
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott and ACT Senate candidate Zed Seselja during the Eden-Monaro campaign office opening in Queanbeyan in June. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
The Liberals last won Canberra in a byelection in 1995 after Ros Kelly resigned in the wake of the "sports rorts whiteboard affair", but only held it until the 1996 election, when the ALP took it back. The Liberals have never won Fraser.
The ACT also has two senators. These spots have always been split between Labor and the Liberals.
Kate Lundy is the Labor representative and Gary Humphries is the Liberal. However, while Senator Lundy is recontesting her seat, former ACT opposition leader Zed Seselja knocked off Senator Humphries in a pre-selection contest earlier this year.
The Greens are again focusing on that second Senate seat, which is particularly important from a national perspective because the person who wins takes the spot immediately. Senators from the states must wait until July 1 next year to affect the balance of power.
Former GetUp! operative Simon Sheikh is standing for the Greens in this election.
For Mr Sheikh to have a chance, he needs to get the Liberal vote below 33.3 per cent, thereby putting preferences into play. The Liberals have only been forced to preferences once, in 1998 when Democrat Rick Farley polled 16.7 per cent. However, the Liberals Margaret Reid was still elected on Christian Democrat preferences.
The electorate of Eden-Monaro is always closely watched at federal elections. It is regarded as a bellwether seat, and has gone to the party that went on to win government in every election since 1972. The seat spreads from Queanbeyan to the South Coast, and takes in Batemans Bay, Cooma, Jindabyne and Eden.
Former solider Mike Kelly – who has been tipped to be defence minister if Labor wins the election – holds the seat, and has won the past two elections. He had an almost 2 percentage point swing to him in 2010, and won the two-party preferred vote 52-48.
This time, Dr Kelly will be facing off against former Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive Peter Hendy. Cath Moore, who got almost 10 per cent in 2010, will run for the Greens again, and Cooma-Monaro mayor Dean Lynch will run for Clive Palmer’s party.
Back in the ACT, Ms Brodtmann won the seat of Canberra with 59.15 per cent of the two party preferred vote in 2010, despite a 2.67 per cent swing against her party. She had 44 per cent of the primary vote, and relied on Greens’ preferences to get elected.
Tom Sefton will stand for the Liberals in Canberra. Mr Sefton works at the Defence Intelligence Organisation, after serving in the Australian Defence Force.
Julie Melrose will run for the Greens
Dr Leigh won Fraser with 64.2 per cent of the vote, which was 0.87 percentage points off the 2007 result. He had 46 per cent of the primary vote, and also relied on Greens’ preferences to be elected.
He will be up against Liberal Elizabeth Lee, who narrowly missed out on a seat in the Legislative Assembly at last year’s ACT election. She is a law lecturer at the Australian National University and University of Canberra, and also teaches fitness classes at gyms.
Adam Verwey will run for the Greens.
As well as the three major parties, several others are expected to contest seats in the ACT. Some have already declared, but others will formally put their hands up in the weeks to come.
Billionaire miner Clive Palmer is standing two candidates in the ACT.
Wayne Slattery, chief executive of the Good Samaritans, will stand in the ACT Senate race at the federal election, and commercial property agent Tony Hanley will contest the seat of Canberra, on the territory's south side.
Katter’s Australia Party is also standing candidates. Steven Bailey will represent the party in the Senate contest, and the maverick Queensland MP behind the party, Bob Katter, has said another person would run in Canberra.
Dr Philip Nitschke is standing for a seat in the Senate with his Voluntary Euthanasia Party in the ACT.