ACT Labor's historic win of a fifth term has been downplayed by election doyen Malcolm Mackerras, who said the territory was Australia's only politically "lopsided" jurisdiction.
But the embedded "public sector values" were bad news for the Liberals, with the Australian Catholic University visiting fellow tipping Elizabeth Lee – yet to spend her first day in the assembly – as the next Liberal chief minister.
Barring a split with the Greens, the victory means ACT Labor will become the longest-serving Labor government in any state and territory since Tasmanian Labor 50 years ago.
"I don't know if it is such an achievement," Mr Mackerras said, listing a number of longer one-party or coalition reigns dating back to the 1930s.
"What we ended up with is the public sector values of most Canberrans reflected itself yet again, and the Labor Party had not bungled anything particularly."
The comments came as former Canberra Liberals president Gary Kent, part of the breakaway Menzies Group who has backed Jeremy Hanson to remain leader, criticised his party for some poor candidates and said bringing preselection forward five or six months – closer to the Labor timetable – would make a notable difference.
"A lot of the candidates were last-minute picks," he said.
Mr Mackerras said it required something unusual – and a Labor bungle – to disturb the party's starting advantage, and only the light rail referendum was out of the ordinary this year.
"All big three parties have had a swing against them, but the impression I have is that Yerrabi is the place that the Liberals lost badly," he said.
"At the last election the rates scare campaign brought the Liberals vote to an unusual high [in that region] and now it's gone back to normal."
The 77-year-old said potential Liberal leadership candidate Alistair Coe, a conservative, was a "very pleasant young man" but did not fit the "value system" of most Canberrans. He said he felt Ms Lee, the newly elected Korean-born law lecturer, would be the next person to lead the party out of opposition.
He acknowledged the more conservative Zed Seselja had delivered a stronger primary vote for the Liberals, but queried whether the unpopularity of the then federal Gillard government had played a part.
Mr Mackerras predicted a Greens balance of power as the most likely result one year ago, but admitted he might have been more bullish of the Liberals' chances in the final week.
Mr Hanson said on the day after the election that he did not think there was much more the Liberals could have done.
"We had a great term in opposition over the four years, we had great candidates out there, we took great policies to the election, and the campaign was fantastic," he said.
He has previously said the later preselection was better for candidates, particularly those working in the public service or Defence who would have to declare their position.
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