Federal election 2019: ACT candidates make last-ditch plea for climate change-savvy Canberrans' votes

The ACT's federal candidates have made last-ditch appeals for Canberrans' votes, as hundreds of thousands flock to the polls with climate change on their minds.

Incumbent Liberal senator Zed Seselja spent Saturday morning setting up stalls at booths in Canberra's south, before taking a few minutes at his old primary school in Kambah to cast his own vote.

Labor Senate candidate for the ACT Katy Gallagher and Labor candidate for the seat of Canberra Alicia Payne at the Lyneham Primary School polling booth on Saturday morning. Picture: Sitthixay Ditthavong

Labor Senate candidate for the ACT Katy Gallagher and Labor candidate for the seat of Canberra Alicia Payne at the Lyneham Primary School polling booth on Saturday morning. Picture: Sitthixay Ditthavong

Standing in line, he said the rest of the day would be spent supporting volunteers and handing out how-to-vote cards across the north and south. A democracy sausage for lunch was an obvious choice.

"A good feeling [today] but obviously nervous, always nervous at elections. If you're not nervous you're probably not doing your job. In a democracy you can be voted out, and I work very hard to make sure I'm not voted out and we get as many people to vote Liberal," he said.

"We're hopeful for a good result here in the Senate, obviously we're underdogs nationally but I think that Scott Morrison has done an outstanding job. I think we'll be close but who knows. I'm hopeful of victory."

Up north at Lyneham Primary School, Labor Senate candidate and Mr Seselja's long-time foe Katy Gallagher greeted her former constituents as she stood in line; family in tow.

Labor candidate for the seat of Canberra, Alicia Payne, stood just behind her: "We've got a really clear choice today [for] the future, action on climate change under Labor, investing in our schools and hospitals, investing in our social safety net, and a party that is really standing up for people," she said.

Liberal Senator Zed Seselja casting his vote at St Thomas the Apostle Primary School in Kambah. Picture: Kimberley Le Lievre

Liberal Senator Zed Seselja casting his vote at St Thomas the Apostle Primary School in Kambah. Picture: Kimberley Le Lievre

Ms Gallagher said the past 12 months had been "really weird" and full of "real lows and highs", but she was glad to have campaigned as a "normal, average candidate".

The former senator was replaced by the now Labor candidate for the new seat of Bean, David Smith, when she was found ineligible to sit in Parliament because of dual citizenship in 2018.

"I wouldn't say I'm confident because I never am. I think every seat should be treated like a marginal seat, people have to work for it," she said.

"[But] hopefully, if I get the support, I really look forward to getting back in and standing up for Canberra. It's the city I love and it's what I've done in the past."

Ms Gallagher said climate change had gone from a fourth to first-rate political issue in recent years, and Labor was prioritising it along with stability, honesty and integrity in politics.

Dickson resident Molong Pondrilei, who says the Greens' policies are attractive as they have a strong focus on climate change. Picture: Cassandra Morgan

Dickson resident Molong Pondrilei, who says the Greens' policies are attractive as they have a strong focus on climate change. Picture: Cassandra Morgan

This sentiment was reflected by voters at Daramalan College in Dickson, with many saying climate policy would be the deciding factor in how they number their ballot papers.

"I have just had a gutful of the conservatives," full-time political science student Molong Pondrilei said.

"I go with policies and I've been looking at the Greens'; I've spoken with the candidates and I think it is time that Australia start looking at the effects of climate change."

Flynn resident Hugh Boulter wanted a new government to focus on education's role in combating climate change, saying it was important that students be equipped with the tools to lead a renewable-energy future.

"It's crucial that parents are involved in the decision-making process with government and its really essential that we lift everybody in that space," he said.

Greens candidate for Canberra Tim Hollo casts his vote at Lyneham High School, accompanied by Greens Senate candidate Dr Penny Kyburz. Picture: Sitthixay Ditthavong

Greens candidate for Canberra Tim Hollo casts his vote at Lyneham High School, accompanied by Greens Senate candidate Dr Penny Kyburz. Picture: Sitthixay Ditthavong

ACT Greens Senate candidate Dr Penny Kyburz said a Senate seat would allow the party to pull a new Labor government in the right direction on climate change.

The Greens candidate for Canberra Tim Hollo said the possibility of having two lower house seats held by Labor, and a third held by the Greens, was causing a stir among voters.

"Here in Canberra, people really understand and cherish our democratic and political systems very, very much indeed," he said.

"There's a very strong feeling that they're not working appropriately at the moment."

By close of business on Thursday, just under 30 per cent of those in the ACT - or 84,951 people - had cast a pre-poll ballot.

With Kimberley Le Lievre

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