ACT election 2016: Yvette Berry backed for Labor deputy as Greens weigh up coalition or crossbench
Advertisement

ACT election 2016: Yvette Berry backed for Labor deputy as Greens weigh up coalition or crossbench

Chief Minister Andrew Barr endorsed Yvette Berry as his deputy leader on Sunday, as the Greens firmed to take two seats in the new 25-member ACT Parliament.

Greens member Shane Rattenbury, who was a minister in the previous Barr government, confirmed the party planned to back Labor. But negotiations over which elements of Greens' policies would be adopted by the government have not begun yet.

Canberra Labor Party volunteers, candidates and Chief Minister Andrew Barr celebrate their election win at Corroborree Park in Ainslie.

Canberra Labor Party volunteers, candidates and Chief Minister Andrew Barr celebrate their election win at Corroborree Park in Ainslie.Credit:Jay Cronan

Advertisement

He said he would talk to Greens members and Labor to work out the best way to deliver the Greens' agenda, saying affordable housing, the dominance of poker machines, public transport and a corruption commission were key issues.

Greens candidate Caroline le Couteur, who was in the Assembly from 2008 to 2012, is leading the count in Murrumbidgee, according to Labor, the Greens and ABC election analyst Antony Green.

From left Chief Minister Andrew Barr, newcomer Bec Cody, and the likely deputy chief minister Yvette Berry celebrate their election win at Corroborree Park in Ainslie.

From left Chief Minister Andrew Barr, newcomer Bec Cody, and the likely deputy chief minister Yvette Berry celebrate their election win at Corroborree Park in Ainslie.Credit:Jay Cronan

That would give the Greens two seats, to Labor's expected 12 and the Liberals' likely 11.

The question now is whether the Greens take a spot at the cabinet table or revert to a more traditional crossbench position and hold the balance of power.

Mr Barr said other than "a swap of text messages about 2am" and an agreement to talk further, he and the Greens leader Mr Rattenbury were yet to talk.

The outcome would depend in part on whether Ms Le Couteur was confirmed. He was unlikely to have two Greens in the ministry; and having one in cabinet and one outside complicated cabinet confidentiality. Arrangements in Tasmania where Greens had been both inside and outside cabinet had not worked, he said. But he was open to either option.

The Greens' Caroline Le Couteur, likely to be elected, with Shane Rattenbury at a Greens celebration in Reid on Sunday.

The Greens' Caroline Le Couteur, likely to be elected, with Shane Rattenbury at a Greens celebration in Reid on Sunday.Credit:Jay Cronan

"If it's just Shane, it's a different equation to them having two members," Mr Barr said. "In the context of the last four years where Shane was the only Green, it made sense ... for him to be part of cabinet ... Were there to be two Greens then obviously there is another person who needs to be considered."

Mr Rattenbury said he would talk to Greens members and Labor to work out the best way to deliver the Greens' agenda.

"The Labor Party has taken a set of policies as well, we can't deliver all of theirs and all of ours, so we need to work our way through and come up with an agreed program for the next four years," he said, pointing to affordable housing, the dominance of poker machines, and public transport among key issues.

A corruption commission was an "essential policy", he said, although there would be debate about the detail, including whether the commission would have power to investigate issues that arose in the previous Parliament.

Mr Rattenbury said the Greens would work with the Liberals, if necessary, to get a commission in place.

"We been very clear it must have investigative powers. It must have strong powers. It can't be a sort of watered-down ICAC," he said.

Saturday's historic Labor win was in line with Labor polling showing Labor on 39 per cent and the Liberals on 36 per cent, but took many by surprise. The Liberals were shocked by a 3.3 per cent swing against the party.

Labor has won a fifth term and will serve at least 19 years in government. Asked about the danger of complacency overtaking the party, Mr Barr said, "The fact that you're more often than not governing in minority puts a whole series of both political and other constraints on arrogance, hubris and the like. We will focus on delivering the election that we took to the agenda."

He expected seven women among his caucus of 12 and was "delighted to no longer be the youngest member", he said. Newcomer Chris Steel is 30. Once final results were in, caucus would meet to elect a leader and deputy leader, Mr Barr said, adding, "I think Yvette Berry will be a very strong contender for the deputy leadership."

Ms Berry, daughter of former Labor leader Wayne Berry, is all but guaranteed the position, given the left-right leadership sharing agreement, with Mr Barr from the right and Ms Berry from the left.

Mr Barr said the result put the light rail debate to bed and the city could "all move forward" on the issue. Likewise, Labor's tax reform switch from stamp duty to rates had been endorsed.

"We can now say conclusively, having won two elections now on this issue ... that Canberrans have now voted for tax reform," Mr Barr said.

The Electoral Commission will begin scanning ballot papers and distributing preferences from paper ballots on Monday. The distribution of preferences from electronic votes has been completed, and gives a strong indication of the result, given more than a quarter of voters made electronic votes.

Antony Green also indicated a likely outcome of 12 Labor, 11 Liberal, two Green. In Brindabella, the Australian Sex Party had a strong showing, but the Liberals were likely to retain three seats. Joy Burch was favoured to keep Labor's second seat but there was some doubt.

Loading

In Yerrabi, Jayson Hinder appears to be defeated.

In Ginninderra, Tara Cheyne is elected with Ms Berry, leaving Gordon Ramsay and sitting member Chris Bourke to tussle for the final Labor seat. Mr Green picks Mr Ramsay as the more likely.