The ACT government will consider more controls over election corflutes - the signs that took over verges, major roadways and shopping centres in what might have been record numbers in the recent ACT election, Chief Minister Andrew Barr confirmed on Wednesday.
Electoral Commissioner Phillip Green said corflutes were a major source of complaints to the commission during the campaign. He was speaking during the formal declaration of the polls on Wednesday, where he also welcomed what is thought to be a record proportion of women elected to any parliament in Australia's history.
Thirteen of the 25 parliamentarians are women, a majority for the first time. And, as Mr Barr, who is Australia's first openly gay government leader, commented at the event, it leaves heterosexual males in a "distinct minority". The Greens' Shane Rattenbury, who is joined this term by Caroline Le Couteur, said he was the only male Green ever to be elected to the ACT Assembly.
The Labor team has seven women and five men. The Liberal team has five women and six men. Men lead both major parties; women are deputies in both cases.
Mr Barr said Canberra had reached such a state of "peak corflute" that the prime minister of Singapore had commented on the number of signs while in Canberra during the election campaign and offered a practical tip. He suggested the ACT could follow Singapore's lead in limiting the number of signs per candidate and handing out authorisation stickers which candidates must place on the signs.
Mr Barr's office said he was considering the move.
Liberal leader Alistair Coe said while Canberra had already reached "peak regulation", there was scope for changes to the law on corflutes. The 100 metre rule that bans political parties from electioneering within 100 metres of a polling place should be revisited, he said. The distance was close enough that parties and candidates wanted to be there, but not close enough to have a significant impact, he said.
In another election record, the October 15 poll saw the lowest ever number of informal votes, with 6308 informals, or 2.5 per cent of the total. The previous record was 2.7 per cent in 2004. Mr Green said most of the 2012 informals appeared to be deliberate.
The turnout was 88.4 per cent, compared with 89.3 in 2012. The 37,700 people who did not vote will now be asked to provide a valid reason or pay a $20 fine.
The clock is ticking for the Greens and Labor to finalise a power-sharing agreement. Labor and the Greens both say they expect a result this week, but neither have provided detail. Mr Barr expects Mr Rattenbury to join his cabinet, and has arranged his ministry to accommodate the Green, but Mr Rattenbury is still not confirming the move.
He said he had emailed Greens supporters about their priorities.
He has already nominated the key issues as public transport, affordable housing, poker machine reform and a corruption commission, with Labor and the Greens looking to the Tasmanian integrity commission as their model.
Gambling is likely to be the sticking point, with Mr Barr already rejecting the Greens' call for $1 maximum spins on poker machines. He has also rejected as too expensive a scheme that would force gamblers to nominate upfront how much they would spend on the pokies. While the Greens want a mandatory precommitment scheme, some states have introduced voluntary precommitment, which doesn't come with expensive changes to technology, and that might be where Labor and the Greens settle.
Mr Rattenbury said his position had not changed on poker machines in the casino, which he would support only with $1 spins and mandatory precommitment.
He is also calling for significant reductions in machine numbers, and said on Wednesday it was time to "get serious".