BY standing for the ACT Assembly, all candidates have made a major contribution to the political and social life of our city-state.
No doubt each one has worked hard over the last months and, for many, much longer. Because they were prepared to put their hand up, no matter for which party or running as an independent, our government and our Assembly have been tested by the people and we have a fair democratic outcome.
The 17 candidates elected deserve to be congratulated. They were part of sophisticated campaigning and won the appreciation of enough voters to the extent that they will now represent us in the Assembly.
The three new members will join those re-elected and will now have the opportunity to work for a better community. Mick Gentleman returns to the Assembly having served a term previously and having suffered the heartache of not being successful at the last election.
For those who lost their seats, as Mick did previously, it is really challenging. These people worked extremely hard through countless hours during the working week, in the evenings and on weekends spent working for better community outcomes. Families did not get the attention that would otherwise have been the case. As elected members, they put their necks out to stand up for what they believed to be right. Thank you.
Even though they might be feeling that the electorate is ungrateful for their efforts, it is important to understand that the vast majority of people really do appreciate what they have done.
Lone Greens member Shane Rattenbury holds the balance of power in an election that delivered not only the same number of seats to each of the major parties but also, at 38.9 per cent, the same proportion of first-preference votes.
We are fortunate in the ACT to have the Hare-Clark electoral system that allows voters real power in not only choosing the party they prefer, but also to favour particular candidates within the parties. At times, party candidates, in particular, find this frustrating. But it does allow greater power in the hands of the voters providing a more sophisticated and fairer electoral system.
In this election there were just less than 230,000 people who cast a vote. Only two of the candidates received less than 100 votes and they were largely standing to support a colleague. Not many people can think of even 50 friends or acquaintances that they could convince to vote for them either on personality or ideas. It is a credit to all who ran in this election and a tribute is appropriate for the contribution made to Canberra.
Michael Moore is a former independent member of the ACT Legislative Assembly and minister for health.