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ACT Election ’16 – now on!

By John Hargreaves - 18 April 2016 94

legislative-assembly

Racing now in the Election Cup 2016! We now have candidates in all seats from the major parties. More on this later.

It needs to be acknowledged that there are other candidates running in the ACT election this year besides the major three parties.

We’ll have some independents running and we need to be able to distinguish between the genuine independents and the bogus independent who is really a major party player in disguise, with the intention to draw votes towards a particular party by subterfuge. Last time there were bogus smaller parties, like the Motorists Party (who fielded the “unaligned” Chic Henry) and the Citizen’s Action Party (who fielded the “unaligned” Val Jeffrey, who had been a card carrying Liberal for 40 years but didn’t tell anyone until after he lost the election).

Good luck with that.

I haven’t heard of many true Independents putting their hand up this time, but maybe it’s early days. It is not early days from this old campaigner’s view. Time is a commodity in short supply for newbies in the political contest and particularly so for independents who want to have a real go at it.

But the party to look out for is the Sex Party.

This one is the surprise packet of the election. Led by Steven Bailey, the party is a serious contender in this election. To take this lot lightly is to ignore the success of Fiona Patten in Victoria. Remember that Fiona Patten won an upper house seat, in a proportional representational system, on a platform that was broad based, sensible and not at all on the subject about which we don’t talk at the dinner table in front of the kids. I predict a good showing for this latest of minor parties.

So let’s have a look at the candidates from each of the three parties and see what’s on offer.

In the sitting member stakes, Labor has eight, the Liberals have eight and the Greens one. But not all are seeking re-election. Continuing MLAs include Labor’s Barr, Burch, Gentleman, Berry, Bourke and Fitzharris. Six in all. For the Liberals, all sitting members are seeking re-election – eight in all. For the Greens, since they only have Rattenbury as an MLA, again, 100% of their sitting members seek re-election (ha, ha!)

In the gender race none of the parties have given the female candidates a majority but the Greens come first with 7 out of 15 positions (46.7%), Labor next with 11 of 25 positions (44%) and the Liberals have 10 of 25 positions (40%).

On the multicultural stage, Labor has Ceramidas, Maftoum, Fischer, Kulasingham and Gupta, against the Liberals Doszpot, Lee and Vadakkedathu. The Greens have Merezian, Vassarotti and Faerber. Pretty much even I would say.

On the indigenous front, there has been a conversation on the candidacy of Paul House, a former ALP member who has switched to the Liberals, with him saying that there was no room for indigenous candidates. He seems to forget that Fred Leftwich was an indigenous candidate in, from memory, the 2004 election and that Chris Bourke is indigenous and is a minister for the second time. So much for that theory. The Greens have no indigenous candidate.

Candidates who have stood before include; for Labor, Maftoum, Drake and Kulasingham, for the Liberals, Milligan and the Greens, Le Couteur (a former MLA), Esguerra and Davis.

The candidates, from the three major parties, who will be presenting themselves to you are: (Sitting members are asterisked.)

Brindabella:

Labor: Burch*, Gentelman*, Maftoum, Drake, Werner-Giddings

Liberals: Smyth*, Wall*, Lawder*, Cocks, Fazey

Greens: Mazengarb, Murphy, Davis

Ginninderra:

Labor: Berry*, Bourke*, Fischer, Cheyne, Ramsay

Liberals: Dunne*, Fisher, Kikkert, Sweeney, Rozario

Greens: Esguerra, Merzian, Chappel

Murrumbidgee:

Labor: Kulasingham, Cody, Long, Newman, Steel

Liberals: Hanson*, Jones*, Ellingham, House, Hosking

Greens: Le Couteur, Faerber, Davidson

Kurrajong:

Labor: Barr*, Ceramidas, Dwyer, Niven, Stephen-Smith

Liberals: Doszpot*, Burch, Curtain, Lee, McKay

Greens: Rattenbury, Vassarotti, Thomsen

Yerrabi:

Labor: Fitzharris*, Hinder*, Gupta, Orr, Pettersson

Liberals: Coe*, Lynch, Milligan, States, Vadakkedathu

Greens: Wensing, Braddock, Holm

It has been said and promoted by those of short memory, that the Labor Party has been in office for too long; that it is seeking its fifth term in government. It has been in office for 15 years already and is tired and out of puff. Let’s look at the reality.

This party has been in renewal for many years now. There are no MLAs presenting themselves this election who were elected in the 2004 election. There are three MLAs who have only served two terms (Bourke, Burch and Gentleman); there are two MLAs who have only served part of one term (Fitzharris and Hinder on countbacks) and there are two MLAs who have retired at this election. The party has well and truly refreshed itself. On the negative side, there will be no sitting MLAs presenting themselves for re-election who have served in Opposition. Simon Corbell’s exit sees the last of that cohort. Finally, the Chief Minister has not been in the job for a full term.

The Opposition has done some refreshment over the years. It has one MLA who has been there since 1998 (Smyth) and you’d reckon he’d be a bit tired after all this time. Dunne was elected in 2004; Doszpot, Coe and Hanson were elected in 2008, Wall and Jones came into the Assembly in 2008 and Lawder joined them on Seselja’s move to the Senate.

I would suggest that neither party can be regarded as old and tired. Both have had renewal of members with fresh minds being brought in. Whether either have the right mix is the big question.

The work experience of the two major contenders is quite varied as well. As might be expected, the Liberals have a smattering of professional and business expertise with some defence experience. Labor has public service, academic, private sector finance and law, and community experience in addition to experience in politics itself.

The emergence of Lee for the Liberals is another to watch. She is an impressive candidate and according to the rules of Hare-Clark, thine enemy is within not without. The game of Hare-Clark is about members of a party taking out a sitting member not so much as replacing an opposing candidate. The Labor experience of 1998 is a good case in point. If I were gazing into my tea cup, I would predict Lee to take the second (perhaps first) Liberal seat in Kurrajong.

The difference this time is that there are an additional eight positions up for grabs so look out for fresh talent in addition to the odd execution.

Now that the major players have been outed, I predict that Labor will get twelve seats, the Liberals will get eleven seats and the Greens will get two seats.

In 2003 I suggested that in the normal course of events, under Hare-Clark, a party will take government with one seat less than a majority and rely on a cross bencher for government. I see no need to change that view.

What’s Your opinion?


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94 Responses to
ACT Election ’16 – now on!
HenryBG 7:52 pm 18 Apr 16

Southmouth said :

The Sex Party isn’t the joke party many have dismissed it as. They have similarities with The Greens, …

I agree with half of what you said there.

Mordd 7:49 pm 18 Apr 16

ACT Labor may be “old and tired” but ACT Liberal does not offer that great of an alternative. It is up to the opposition to present a strong case for change of government, and so far the majority of that has been the campaign against the tram without offering many real alternative policies around the other issues.

Case in point, I live in public housing, and my block is due to be demolished in 2018 and the residents dispersed to new locations. I contacted ACT Liberals to ask if they would continue this policy if elected, and they can’t even give me a simple answer on that, telling me to wait until their policies are released in detail. When asked when that could be expected, they could not give me an answer on that either. Hardly a credible alternative there.

Tim Bohm 6:49 pm 18 Apr 16

Hey John,

Did you predict more people voting Liberal than Labor in 2012???

Did you predict 4 Greens getting elected in 2008, did anyone???

Did you predict the Greens only getting 10.7% of the vote and losing 3 seats in 2012????

—–

But hey why not write an article plugging your on personal interests in the upcoming election, you would be crazy not to.

Why don’t you write about a couple of these things:
——————–
– the need to clean up act politics starting with an ACT ICAC, just like in SA, WA, NSW, QLD and VIC
– explain how the career politician culture in the ACT Labor and Liberal parties is good for Canberra, is it?
– explain how our major parties got away with increasing the electoral funding from $2.50 per vote to $8, when federal AEC funding is only $2.21

Cheers
Tim Böhm
Like Canberra Party Founder
Bullet Train for Australia President

HiddenDragon 6:38 pm 18 Apr 16

At least we now know (as of about ten minutes ago) that the federal election will be over and done with by the time of the ACT election – which should, in a number of respects, make it easier for ACT voters to make a clear choice.

justin heywood 6:33 pm 18 Apr 16

No_Nose said :

I understand that Steven [Bailey] is going to stand. He would shake them all up. .

‘Shake them up’ like Clive Palmer, Motorists Party, Family First, Liberal Democrats?

We don’t need more fringe parties with no other ambition or hope than gaining the balance of power and leveraging that power into more than it should be.

What we need is better quality candidates in the major parties.

John Hargreaves 2:20 pm 18 Apr 16

Southmouth said :

The Sex Party isn’t the joke party many have dismissed it as. They have similarities with The Greens, and remember in the Assembly before this, The Greens held four seats. Also there is a tradition of sexual liberalism in the ACT including the fact that it was only the second jurisdiction in Australia to decriminalise homosexuality and nude bathing in 1976. Also the expanded Assembly gives a greater chance of independents and minor party candidates being elected. If former RiotACT contributor Steven Bailey can be persuaded to stand for the Sex Party I’m almost certain he would be elected.

I understand that Steven is going to stand. He would shake them all up. As for Andrew Dewson, one sparrow does not a summer make…

John Moulis 12:57 pm 18 Apr 16

The Sex Party isn’t the joke party many have dismissed it as. They have similarities with The Greens, and remember in the Assembly before this, The Greens held four seats. Also there is a tradition of sexual liberalism in the ACT including the fact that it was only the second jurisdiction in Australia to decriminalise homosexuality and nude bathing in 1976. Also the expanded Assembly gives a greater chance of independents and minor party candidates being elected. If former RiotACT contributor Steven Bailey can be persuaded to stand for the Sex Party I’m almost certain he would be elected.

Mysteryman 12:48 pm 18 Apr 16

HenryBG said :

I saw in the paper this morning that Mr Charisma, Steve Doszpot is going again. Good luck to him. He’s a nice bloke actually and is not one of the nasty far-Right bunch that adorn the Opposition benches.

To the RA editor/s, can we perhaps get a political commentator who can see out of both eyes, rather than just their left? It’s becoming ridiculous.

HenryBG said :

I hope that the newcomers knock off the sitting members and we have a better “refreshment” than we have seen thus far.

Absolutely. It’s time for Barr & Co to take a hike.

Mysteryman 12:46 pm 18 Apr 16

dungfungus said :

rubaiyat said :

Well John,

Ill put my hand up for independent nomination.
Ill register with Elections ACT as appropriate.

Regards,

Jason Preston
Palmerston ACT

Excellent. Everyone has the right to do just that. My point was that no independents have emerged in the media as of yet. It means that as each month goes by with no announcement, it becomes harder to get airspace and circulation. Honest independents, and I mean truly honest, are a welcome breath of fresh air.

Perhaps you should have looked a bit harder:

http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/independent-andrew-dewson-contesting-yerrabi-at-act-election-20160408-go1kxj.html

rubaiyat 12:39 pm 18 Apr 16

I’m curious why Hume and Symonston didn’t go to the below quota southern Brindabella instead of the over quota central Kurrajong.

I get that they are trying to make 5 x 5 electorates but that does override the more logical regional concerns. Excising north east Belconnen to add it to Yerrabi (Gungahlin) seems to me to go against the logical interests of those suburbs in being in Gininderra (Belconnen).

Give Yerrabi 4 members and Gininderra 6. Eventually as Gungahlin grows the number of members in Yerrabi will rise.

Otherwise considering we are a unicameral Territory, covering two levels of government, the number of politicians is about right and hopefully will give whoever succeeds in the next election, a greater selection for cabinet.

rubaiyat 12:15 pm 18 Apr 16
John Hargreaves 11:47 am 18 Apr 16

I saw in the paper this morning that Mr Charisma, Steve Doszpot is going again. Good luck to him. He’s a nice bloke actually and is not one of the nasty far-Right bunch that adorn the Opposition benches.

I hope that the newcomers knock off the sitting members and we have a better “refreshment” than we have seen thus far. But then, I’m a big time Labor supporter, a secular Catholic and a Collingwood supporter so I don’t expect much more than a flogging from those of opposing views.

John Hargreaves 11:43 am 18 Apr 16

rubaiyat said :

Well John,

Ill put my hand up for independent nomination.
Ill register with Elections ACT as appropriate.

Regards,

Jason Preston
Palmerston ACT

Excellent. Everyone has the right to do just that. My point was that no independents have emerged in the media as of yet. It means that as each month goes by with no announcement, it becomes harder to get airspace and circulation. Honest independents, and I mean truly honest, are a welcome breath of fresh air.

Zan 11:39 am 18 Apr 16

Well I can say that many Labor voters are fed up with Mr Barr – goodbye.

bigcohuna1 10:56 am 18 Apr 16

Well John,

Ill put my hand up for independent nomination.
Ill register with Elections ACT as appropriate.

Regards,

Jason Preston
Palmerston ACT

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