Federal Politics

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Women lead from the front

A few observations.

The day was saved for the Labor government by the better-than-average performance of two women – Katy Gallagher and the Greens’ Meredith Hunter.

Gallagher got a third ALP candidate over the line in Molonglo (improving Labor’s vote there to more than make up for swings in the other two electorates), and Hunter retained her seat in the face of bigger swings against the Greens elsewhere.

As a result, Labor will continue to govern.

The swing to the Liberals was big on its face – nearly 8 per cent of the vote. But most of it came from conservative independents  who stood in 2008 but not this time. It did not come directly from Labor or the Greens. And their result improved through the demise of the Motoring Party – whose 6 per cent in 2008 disappeared with virtually no allocated preferences.

Nonetheless, the Liberals have taken two seats from the Greens. After an apogee in 2008, the Greens have returned to a more settled pattern.


The big surprise — and there always is one in ACT politics — was the 4 per cent plus vote for the Bullet Train for Canberra.

Every ACT election to date has turned up some surprising twist – a white rabbit. This one delivered Bullet Train for Canberra. One might well say: white elephant becomes white rabbit.

What is it about Canberra and transport – motoring party, bullet-train party, summernats, superV8nats and the best view of the place being from the back of a train?

Labor might have prevented the loss of the Green seat to the Liberals in Ginninderra if it had put one of its three big-name candidates there instead of all of them being in Molonglo (Gallagher, Barr, Corbell).

The Liberals moved one of its big names from Molonglo — Liberal leader Zed Seselja went to Brindabella. The move clearly paid off.

The Liberals have clearly won three seats in Molonglo. The interesting thing will be which of their six candidates after sitting Molonglo MLA Jeremy Hanson wins the other two seats.

Overall, the Liberals have 47 per cent of the seats with 40 per cent of the vote; the Greens with 10 per cent of the vote get 12 per cent of the seats and Labor with 38 per cent of the vote get 41 per cent of the seats. That’s a pretty good reflection of the electorate’s will.

As I wrote in the yesterday’s Canberra Times: ‘‘it is the most democratic of all the Parliaments in Australia’’.