Moore / Labor in strife as voters look for a change

“Assuming the Greens will support Labor for government, the final determination is likely to be in the hands of independent Marea Fatseas or the Canberra Community Voters Party,” writes politics columnist MICHAE MOORE

election chartLABOR are in strife for the ACT election; the tram, the deals, indebtedness to the unions and the millstone of such a long term in government play against them.

Assuming the Greens will support Labor for government, the final determination is likely to be in the hands of independent Marea Fatseas or the Canberra Community Voters Party.

Michael Moore

Michael Moore.

Predicting the outcome of a Hare-Clark election is fraught with pitfalls. Many Canberra voters mark their preferences across parties. There are now five electorates with an additional eight members. Moreover, last election delivered a Labor government with the support of the Greens despite the Liberals having a whisker more primary votes with 86,032 to Labor’s 85,991.

Three major factors influence the outcome of an election under Hare-Clark. First is the profile of individual members; second, the positioning and policies of the candidates and third, the behaviour or standing of individuals or parties. On all three of these factors Labor is struggling. The Liberals and Greens also have their challenges.

The alternative are the independents and small parties. Building a profile, establishing policies and recognition are a tall order for most. In the electorate of Kurrajong, the former Yarralumla Residents’ Association president and Southside Community Council member, Marea Fatseas, has managed all three. The same is true in Ginninderra of former CEO of ACT Shelter, Leigh Watson. Both of these independents are credible and deserve a chance.

The small parties are variable. Richard Farmer’s Canberra Community Voters has some profile in supporting ACT clubs in their battle against poker machines for the casino and integrity in government. Similarly, the Sustainable Australia Party and Robbie Swan in Murrumbidgee and Steven Bailey in Brindabella for the Australian Sex Party need to build a broader profile.

The Greens have the profile and the standing amongst their own constituency. Although outsiders and some purists might be critical of Shane Rattenbury for accepting a ministry, Green voters will generally see this option as better than voting Labor.

Voters are looking for a change. Supporting sensible independents and minor parties just might provide a cross-bench that restores integrity and keeps government accountable.

Moore’s call of the electorates

  • In KURRAJONG, Chief Minister Andrew Barr will be elected. Shane Rattenbury has the profile and standing to also win a seat. The Liberals have sitting member Steve Doszpot and Elizabeth Lee has a high enough profile to win the second seat for the Liberals. There is an outside chance for Labor in the fifth seat, but it is more likely to go to Canberra Community Voters or independent Marea Fatseas.
  • In BRINDABELLA, the Labor vote and profile of Mick Gentleman is enough to get him elected. Angie Drake or Joy Burch are the best chances for Labor having a second seat. At the last election, the Liberals had 46 per cent of the vote in this seat and Labor 35 per cent. Nicole Lawder, Andrew Wall and Mark Parton are all strong candidates for the Liberals and I suspect they will secure the three seats.
  • MURRUMBIDGEE will favour the Liberals because of the profile of the leader, Jeremy Hanson. With sitting MLA Giulia Jones they may pull enough preferences for a third Liberal. Labor has no sitting members. Rebecca Cody has had her banners everywhere, but it is difficult to determine which Labor candidate will be elected. The last seat will go to Labor or former Greens MLA Caroline Le Couteur.
  • YERRABI is difficult to pick. Liberal Alistair Coe has run a long and sustained campaign opposing the tram despite living in the electorate it favours. He is likely to bring a second person with him. The tram will not be such a problem for Labor in this electorate. Therefore, Meegan Fitzharris will be elected most likely with Jayson Hinder. Labor’s Deepak-Raj Gupta and Greens’ Veronica Wensing will be arm wrestling for the last seat with independent David Pollard from Crace Community Association and Gungahlin Community Council.
  • The GINNINDERRA electorate has Vicki Dunne leading the Liberals with a number of strong-profile second candidates including Denise Fisher and Paul Sweeney. They have a chance for three seats. Labor’s Yvette Berry will have one seat. Chris Bourke, Kim Fischer and Gordon Ramsay will fight for the second with independent Leigh Watson and the Greens’ Indra Esguerra.

Michael Moore was an independent member of the ACT Legislative Assembly (1989 to 2001) and was minister for health.

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