Oh, for the joys of a marginal seat

MARK PARTON muses about whether the swing to Liberal in the ACT election will have an effect in next year’s Federal poll

Gai Brodtmann

CANBERRA has the most amazing opportunity in our Centenary year to put itself in the political spotlight by creating a genuine marginal Federal seat.

It’s a little ironic that, as home to Federal Parliament, our city is the one most ignored by those inside the giant building. Why? Because it doesn’t matter what you do, Canberrans will always deliver Labor members to the House of Reps.

While I don’t believe that will change when we get to the polls next year, I’m looking at Gai Brodtmann’s margin of 9.2 per cent in the Federal seat of Canberra and I’m thinking of a much smaller number in 2013.

There doesn’t have to be a change in representation for there to be a change in attitude and a smaller margin in Canberra would see the pollies courting us.

While the recent ACT election was fought on local issues, you can’t ignore the massive swing to the right in the southern seat of Brindabella. It makes up only the southern half of the Federal seat of Canberra, but we’re talking about a 46/35 per cent raw primary split in such a large area.

That’s 46 Liberal, 35 Labor – a conservative dream. Woden, Weston Creek and the inner south will be kinder to Labor than Tuggeranong, but it’ll still make for a tighter contest at the next Federal poll.

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott is not popular in Canberra and his Treasury spokesman, less so. Joe Hockey’s public service comments will echo loudly in our suburbs in the weeks leading up to the Federal poll and they will probably ensure a Labor win in Canberra. But elections are a funny game. As a hypothetical, can you imagine if Brodtmann was battling against a candidate such as Brendan Smyth or perhaps even a Kate Carnell. What a contest! If the Libs can find the right candidate, it’ll be game on.

Mark Parton is the breakfast presenter for 2CC.

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