Why isn’t Canberra a Marginal Seat?

By 24 August, 2010 59

Just to open debate up and in an effort to continue flogging a dead horse.  I want to know why Canberra isn’t a marginal seat?  

Being a safe Labor seat means that we cannot take advantage of being invited to the Budget Banquet, instead we are relegated to taking the scraps.  Canberra is seen as a safe seat and as such I believe there is not much effort made by the Federal government or the opposition to win over Canberra’s voters at each Federal Election, nor are there any big wins during budget time.

As a quick example during the current election Labor is looking to cut spending in Canberra’s public service in a variety of areas and to the tune of $532.5 million dollars, whilst offering $26.92 million in the form of a GP super clinic and affordable housing.

The Libs are offering $1.05 million in funding for graffiti clean up, the Aboriginal Landkeepers Program and to the RSPCA, whilst reducing the APS by 12,000 and reducing funding for ICT project by $447.5 million.

To keep the pollies on their toes wouldn’t it make sense to swing our vote.

[ED - on the other hand if you add up every ACT based public servant and government employed contractor that's a lot of government money pumped into this town]

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59 Responses to Why isn’t Canberra a Marginal Seat?
#1
Inappropriate12:27 pm, 24 Aug 10

The demographic of Canberra and Frasier is working families, with 19% of voters being public servants; working families tend to be non-conservative voters.

#2
Deano1:07 pm, 24 Aug 10

To keep the pollies on their toes wouldn’t it make sense to swing our vote.

I think the major parties have been working towards this aim for a while now.

#3
hax1:13 pm, 24 Aug 10

To keep the pollies on their toes wouldn’t it make sense to swing our vote.

I think we need some more options – who do you intend to swing to?

Canberra seems to be endlessly anti-liberal and voting for the greens is giving your preference to labor – not much of a ‘punishment’ if a swing to the greens gets labor back in at the end of the day, and time and time again whether they are actually serving us well or not. That’s not how it should work, and IMO it isn’t working for us.

We need a really good independent – imagine if we did this time around, we would be getting some special attention!

#4
caf1:18 pm, 24 Aug 10

hax, voting for the Greens isn’t giving your preference to Labor unless you also choose to give your preference to Labor.

Your preference distribution is entirely up to you. Voting “1. Green 2. Liberal” is perfectly cromulent.

#5
Bosworth1:26 pm, 24 Aug 10

hax said :

To keep the pollies on their toes wouldn’t it make sense to swing our vote.

I think we need some more options – who do you intend to swing to?

Canberra seems to be endlessly anti-liberal and voting for the greens is giving your preference to labor – not much of a ‘punishment’ if a swing to the greens gets labor back in at the end of the day, and time and time again whether they are actually serving us well or not. That’s not how it should work, and IMO it isn’t working for us.

That is not how it works. Every individual person chooses where their preferences go.

#6
bean1:29 pm, 24 Aug 10

Lets form a “Vote Marginal” lobby group :)

Doesn’t matter who you like or loathe, you vote for the number two person in your electorate regardless, with the intention of swinging the vote enough that we start to get some of that election time funding money coming in …

#7
justin heywood1:31 pm, 24 Aug 10

hax said :

We need a really good independent – imagine if we did this time around, we would be getting some special attention!

I agree. There does appear to be too many ‘rusted on’ Labor voters in this town. No matter how badly we are ignored Federally, no matter how hopeless local Labor is, a significant number of Canberrans seem unable to bring themselves to vote for the other side. (The Greens are pretty much just the traditional ‘left’ of the Labor Party, so they don’t count).

But people might be able to bring themselves to vote for a credible and charismatic independent, if one stepped forward.

#8
Crikey1:42 pm, 24 Aug 10

Canberrans live like they reside in Toorak and vote like they live in Blaxland!

#9
Grail1:52 pm, 24 Aug 10

Can someone help me out here? I’m trying to figure out:

(a) which Greens used to be in Labor (to support #7 justin heywood’s claim that Greens are just the traditional left of the Labor party) and

(b) how a vote for the Greens turns into a vote for Labor. The Greens preferences in Canberra were to two Democrats, then Labor then an independent, then Liberal – so it’s just as true to say that a vote for Greens is a vote for Democrats or Liberal, and that’s all assuming you don’t vote by numbering every box below the line.

I’m all in favour of removing the requirement to number every box below the line, by the way. I’d prefer that my vote for Greens, Democrats, then Independents didn’t stand a chance in Hell of turning into a vote for Liberal or Labor.

#10
PM2:01 pm, 24 Aug 10

Is this where we suggest the option of “None of the Above”?

#11
troll-sniffer2:09 pm, 24 Aug 10

A lower percentage of bogans and catholics means that the relative IQ is higher. More intelligent people tend to have left of centre views and vote accordingly. Unfortunately for the Alan Jones crowd and other similar low brow sections of society, Canberra will probably retain a higher average level of thinking intelligence for the forseeable future, meaning that reactionary fools like Abbott will continue to be seen for what they really are and not attract our votes.

Sorry if this offends the dumb liberal voters… nah I’m not.

#12
justin heywood2:25 pm, 24 Aug 10

troll-sniffer said :

A lower percentage of bogans and catholics means that the relative IQ [of Canberra voters] is higher.

..and the evidence for that piece of arrogant bigotry would be…..entirely in your own mind.

There IS evidence that older voters tend to become more conservative. Perhaps people lose intelligence as they get older -or maybe they just become wiser.

#13
Solidarity2:28 pm, 24 Aug 10

A bit of the pot calling the kettle black there, troll-sniffer.

#14
Diggety2:53 pm, 24 Aug 10

troll-sniffer said :

A lower percentage of bogans and catholics means that the relative IQ is higher. More intelligent people tend to have left of centre views and vote accordingly. quote]

Usually a sign of intelligence in an individual is one who can avoid assumptions and provide evidence for their position, or rant as the case may be.

The reasoning for Labor dominance in the seat of Canberra is a little more complex and far from what you have stated.

#15
Mark of Sydney3:00 pm, 24 Aug 10

troll-sniffer said that ‘a lower percentage of bogans and catholics means that the relative IQ is higher.’

Except that according to the most recent figures I can quickly find on the ABS website, the ACT has the highest percentage of catholics of any state or territory — see http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/2f762f95845417aeca25706c00834efa/d82c7917c3363ac8ca2570ec00787e6d!OpenDocument

#16
Coach3:14 pm, 24 Aug 10

Diggety said :

troll-sniffer said :

A lower percentage of bogans and catholics means that the relative IQ is higher. More intelligent people tend to have left of centre views and vote accordingly. quote]

Usually a sign of intelligence in an individual is one who can avoid assumptions and provide evidence for their position, or rant as the case may be.

The reasoning for Labor dominance in the seat of Canberra is a little more complex and far from what you have stated.

And a little more complex than the average troll-sniffer can comprehend. Is there actually any point in a debate, when comments like those grace these pages.

One definition of intelligence is recognising that nothing in this world is really right or wrong. It is all based on our particular judgement, based on our unique beliefs we have taken on. An intelligent person is someone who can step out of judgement mode, and become curious to understand different points of view.

All progress in the history of mankind came about when someone suspended their belief of what they “knew to be right”, and became curious about something new that was unknown, or simply judged to be wrong or not possible at that point.

If you watched Four Corners last night, you might get an insight into why some people made the choice not to vote labour again. But before you jump back into judgement mode and down my throat, watch the program when it is re run in the coming days.

Just a suggestion.

#17
Aurelius3:36 pm, 24 Aug 10

In 1996, when the Liberals last came into govt federally, their public service cuts cut Canberra real estate prices by around 20-25%. And unemployment figures in the ACT took a hit at the same time.
Why does Canberra tend to vote Labor ahead of Liberal? Because most voters understand that outcome.

#18
Deref3:40 pm, 24 Aug 10

Safe Labor? Then why do we keep electing that oxygen thief, Humphries, just as we did his predecessor, Margaret Reid?

Don’t misunderstand – I’d like nothing better than to see Canberra abandon both major parties, but for what’s supposed to be the most politically-aware electorate in Australia, we’re as regular as an All Bran junkie and we get precisely what we deserve as a result.

#19
Deref3:41 pm, 24 Aug 10

troll-sniffer said :

A lower percentage of bogans and catholics means that the relative IQ is higher. More intelligent people tend to have left of centre views and vote accordingly. quote]
Then why do we keep voting for right wing parties (Liberal and Labor)?

#20
JC3:44 pm, 24 Aug 10

Bosworth said :

hax said :

To keep the pollies on their toes wouldn’t it make sense to swing our vote.

I think we need some more options – who do you intend to swing to?

Canberra seems to be endlessly anti-liberal and voting for the greens is giving your preference to labor – not much of a ‘punishment’ if a swing to the greens gets labor back in at the end of the day, and time and time again whether they are actually serving us well or not. That’s not how it should work, and IMO it isn’t working for us.

That is not how it works. Every individual person chooses where their preferences go.

Yes and no. In the house of reps yes, you choose, in the senate if you vote below the line then again yes you choose, but if you vote above the line then the party you vote for can then decide where to send preferences to if they are over quota for a seat.

#21
justin heywood3:57 pm, 24 Aug 10

Deref said :

….why do we keep voting for right wing parties (Liberal and Labor)?

There’s an alternative? Would that be the …..Socialist Alternative? Passy, is that you?

#22
johnboy3:59 pm, 24 Aug 10

Shame the Socialist Alternative couldn’t be bothered running one.

#23
colourful sydney rac4:04 pm, 24 Aug 10

Deref said :

Safe Labor? Then why do we keep electing that oxygen thief, Humphries, just as we did his predecessor, Margaret Reid?

Don’t misunderstand – I’d like nothing better than to see Canberra abandon both major parties, but for what’s supposed to be the most politically-aware electorate in Australia, we’re as regular as an All Bran junkie and we get precisely what we deserve as a result.

It is the way that the preferential system works when there are only two seats. The two major parties will share the spoils every time, they only need 1/3 of the votes to get elected.

#24
colourful sydney rac4:06 pm, 24 Aug 10

johnboy said :

Shame the Socialist Alternative couldn’t be bothered running one.

True that, surely someone will put their name under their banner next time? anyone? *coyote howls*

#25
housebound4:23 pm, 24 Aug 10

In 1996, when the Liberals last came into govt federally, their public service cuts cut Canberra real estate prices by around 20-25%. And unemployment figures in the ACT took a hit at the same time. Why does Canberra tend to vote Labor ahead of Liberal? Because most voters understand that outcome.

Actually, quite a few young people enjoyed the propsect of being able to afford a house in 1996-2000. There’s a few wanna-be home buyers who wouldn’t mind seeing house prices plunge back to something reasonable. From memory (although I haven’t reviewed the data for a while) the unemployment rate overall didn’t take too much of a hit beyond what you would expect with a decline in Commonwealth tax receipts (we were a bit behind the rest of the country in those pre-GST days).

Whoever gets in takes the knife to the public service, it’s only a question of how they do it. On top of that, there is no disincentive to either major party – labor can do what it wants with no repurcussions, and we won’t put a Lib in the lower house, so there’s no point in the Libs doing anything.

If you want money spent in the ACT, you need to get rid of an ALP lower house MP and preferably replace them with an independent. A Green won’t do, because they are always happy to work with an ALP government before they even know the terms and conditions (eg the new Green from Melbourne) – this is the ‘a vote for green is a vote for labor’ thing. It’s about more than preferences.

#26
Deref4:27 pm, 24 Aug 10

justin heywood said :

There’s an alternative? Would that be the …..Socialist Alternative? Passy, is that you?

No, though I take it as a compliment.

There were Green, independent and Secular Party candidates. I’d have voted for the Sex Party if they’d run.

I’d love to see a viable left-wing party in Australia, but I’m not going to hold my breath.

#27
The Traineediplomat4:39 pm, 24 Aug 10

Safe Labor? Then why do we keep electing that oxygen thief, Humphries, just as we did his predecessor, Margaret Reid?

- Do you not understand proportional representation? Looking at the 2010 vote, there are 33% Liberal voters in the ACT, enough to get the one senate seat they require.

I say for the 2011 election, if the minority government doesn’t last, we put up a RiotACT sponsored party. Hmmm Canberra Independence Party (not Independents, INDEPENDENCE!!).. Kingdom of Canberra Party? Toorak-Blaxland Party?

#28
I-filed5:01 pm, 24 Aug 10

If Kevin Rudd’s socialist nephew had run here in Canberra, rather than against Gillard, I suspect he would have done relatively well …

#29
Deref5:13 pm, 24 Aug 10

The Traineediplomat said :

- Do you not understand proportional representation? Looking at the 2010 vote, there are 33% Liberal voters in the ACT, enough to get the one senate seat they require.

- Do you not study English as part of your diplomacy course? The question was “why”, not “how”. I well-understand the mechanics; it’s why anybody votes for him that’s got me stumped.

#30
johnboy5:14 pm, 24 Aug 10

It might have something to do with him being the ACT’s most hard working representative in parliament by a country mile.

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