Tell us why: Brodtmann to AEC on Bean decision
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Tell us why: Brodtmann to AEC on Bean decision

The most-likely first member for Bean has called on the Australian Electoral Commission to explain to the public why it stuck with the name after a flood of objections and controversy.

Gai Brodtmann is currently the member for Canberra, which takes in all of the new seat of Bean.

Labor MP for Canberra Gai Brodtmann on election night 2016, flanked by then Labor senator Katy Gallagher and Labor MP for Fenner Andrew Leigh.

Labor MP for Canberra Gai Brodtmann on election night 2016, flanked by then Labor senator Katy Gallagher and Labor MP for Fenner Andrew Leigh.Credit:Elesa Kurtz

"I’m calling on the AEC to provide a public statement setting out its reasons to retain the name of Bean as soon as possible," Ms Brodtmann told Fairfax Media.

The augmented committee voted 4-2 in favour of keeping the name Bean for the electorate, despite more than 70 objections to the name of the war correspondent being used, many of which cited comments made about General John Monash during World War I which have been labelled anti-semitic.

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"Just given the amount of objections, I think its fair," Ms Brodtmann said.

"The fact that there has been the submission process and the hearing process it would be good to have the reasoning behind the decision."

Ms Brodtmann said she was made aware of the concerns about the name by members of the Jewish community and the broader community when they contacted her about the issue. Asked her own views on the name on ABC Canberra radio on Wednesday, Ms Brodtmann referred to the ACT Labor submission that called for more electorate names to recognise Aboriginal Australians and women.

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Ms Brodtmann has announced that she intends to run for preselection in the seat of Bean in order to keep continuity around representation and the issues she has campaigned on for locals.

"I've seen the central seat as being the new seat, not the southern-most seat," she said.

The redistribution to allow for the introduction of a third seat means that Ms Brodtmann will no longer live in the electorate she will seek to represent, but she won't be moving to live within Bean.

"I will be staying where I am, where we live at the moment. I have represented the areas that are now covered by Bean from Yarralumla and I have lived in the electorate the entire time I’ve been the member," she said.

Andrew Leigh, the Labor MP for Fenner has announced that he will seek preselection in the seat of Fenner, which will take in Belconnen and Gungahlin. Like Ms Brodtmann, the redistribution means that Mr Leigh will no longer live in the electorate he will run to represent.

“I spend much of my time in the new Fenner electorate, but the redistribution puts our house just south of the boundary line," he said.

“At this stage, Gweneth and I don’t have any plans to send removalist trucks chasing the AEC boundaries – we’re busy enough raising three boys and serving the wonderful people of Fenner!”

Sally Whyte is a reporter for The Canberra Times covering the public service.

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