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ACT elections – Let the games begin

By John Hargreaves 21 September 2015 58

1024px-Election_signs_near_Wanniassa_Hills_Primary_School_October_2012

With the ACT election just over a year away, jostling for preselections has started, some more publicly than others.

Most non-party aspirants haven’t actually started thinking about it yet. I would expect that to start in about June or July, just after the ACT budget is brought down.

These aspirants are usually single issue people with a grudge of some sort. They’re there to make up the numbers so I won’t waste my time on them.

As always, we will see fringe groups put themselves forward as “parties” but again, they are really just single issue groups with a grumble. There will be a light rail mob, a motorists (or similar) group, and a citizen’s alliance party of some sort. Democracy at work, but there’s a little bit of noise and then a fade to obscurity.

The Sex Party will have a crack. It will interesting to see if they can emulate Fiona Patten in Victoria. She was was elected to the upper house, which is elected on a proportional representational model but I can’t see the Sex Party getting 16.5% of the vote in any of the ACT’s electorates.

What happens to their preferences will be significant though. Steven Bailey is a good choice so expect him to do better than some would think.

The interesting thing to watch will be the fortunes of sitting members and the rise of non-sitting candidates. The Hare-Clark system can be brutal with non-performing MLAs and throw up surprises with the election of previously unknown people.

Check out what happened to Paul Osborne in Brindabella in 2001. Smashed because he neglected his electorate and was rarely engaged in policy debates other than religious right issues like abortion and euthanasia. Being a sporting hero was not enough when the crunch came.

Hare-Clark can also weed out long term people who have not delivered in the eyes of the electorate, regardless of how hard they have worked. The accident-prone MLA also needs to be careful. The trick is to know when to go before the Hare-Clark axe falls. There is nothing dignified about losing an election. Ask Brendan about the 1996 federal election.

The electorate is a changing dynamic, driven in part by generational change. Governments and oppositions need to go with the generational change reflected in the community itself or risk being out of touch.

We have seen a number of Labor folk putting their names in the public arena as possibles for election. I can’t wait to see if the Liberals have the depth that we have seen popping up of late in Labor.

And I predict a Lazarus-like rising from the Greens. Although we haven’t seen any public utterances yet, I would be surprised if Meredith Hunter and Carolyn Le Couteur don’t nominate.

Amanda Bresnan may have another shot but we haven’t heard much in public from her in a while. I do know she is active within her community and it wouldn’t surprise if she gave it a tilt either.

Many in the community out there don’t know of the actual battleground that candidates do battle within. The system is about as good as it can get in terms of opportunities for non-sitting candidates to get elected but there is still barriers to overcome.

Here’s how it works. And it is the same for all parties so let’s not think this is a Labor thing.

There is an A-team, a B-team, a C-team and a D-team. People slot into these teams according to their energy, opportunity, mentorship and just plain luck.

The A-team is made up of ministers and the opposition leader and deputy, with the Greens MLAs (if there are more than one) making the team for their party (basically cos you can get them all in a shoebox).

The B-team are non-ministerial government MLAs and opposition members.

The C-team is made up of serious non-sitting candidates.

The D-team are those candidates who are there just to make up the numbers, to take the donkey vote and keep the votes in the column. They are either candidates in training or drones.

You will see that the A-team is in a privileged position. They set the campaign direction, they get the poll results (and usually keep them to themselves) and they command the media any time they like. They have the high profile that a success in Hare-Clark demands.

The flip side is that if it is perceived that a minister has performed badly, he or she is in trouble. David Lamont lost his seat as a result of that perception.

Other MLAs have the resources of the Legislative Assembly at their disposal. If they have worked hard as community representatives, they will have a decent profile. Mary Porter is the best example of these.

However, MLAs who have not built a following will be vulnerable. In Brindabella, the Liberals’ Andrew Wall and Nicole Lawder will have this problem. Longevity is a double edged sword and sometimes the community will seek change. Look out Brendan.

The C-team is made up of two types of candidates. The first group are people who missed out last time and have some profile and now experience in campaigning. In this group are both candidates who have the goods and might make it, and those who couldn’t win a chook raffle with $50 worth of tickets. Karl Maftoum in Brindabella and Mark Kulasingham in Murrumbidgee fit the former group.

The second group are quality candidates who need to get a profile. They are usually people with good community credentials and political experience, like Kim Fischer in Ginninderra or Deepak Raj Gupta in Yerrabi.

The D-team will emerge as the internal factional fighting of both parties finds expression. I hope that the genuine D-teamers learn from the experience and that the drones get outed.

Can’t wait to see who will challenge the sitting Liberals or whether the Greens will put up a fresh team or a back to the future mob.

Let the games begin!

(Photo: Posters advertising candidates at for the 2012 ACT election. Credit to Nick D, used under Creative Commons licensing.)

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58 Responses to
ACT elections – Let the games begin
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rosscoact 9:43 am 09 Nov 15

justin heywood said :

Skyring said :

… just as their spring fair was drawing to an end, people getting into their cars and driving away, stalls being dismantled etc.

“Aha,” I murmured to my wife, “A fête accompli.”

Aha. Another conniseur of dad jokes I see. Not bad!

Will be putting that one in the kit bag to be pulled out with a flourish at the appropriate occasion.

wildturkeycanoe 6:59 am 09 Nov 15

gazket said :

who cares anymore . The pollies pick whoever they like, not who we like. I’ll be screwing up the paper in their face and shoving in the box.

+1, It won’t matter a bit who we choose.Labor, Liberal and the Greens, the policies they all boast don’t have much difference, just the same political garbage with a little bit different spin. There are no issues that really make anyone stand out and make me want to say “Yes, I’ll pick you because…”. If only somebody had a firm standpoint or promise that they could actually fulfill. In my innocent youth I actually had some motivation to vote, hoping the party I put a “1” next to would come out a winner. Through the years I came to realize that even when my horse did cross the line first, it made no difference because they either didn’t have the numbers to follow through on their promises or back-flipped on them entirely. Disillusionment with government incapable of governing and unable to stick to their own policies has convinced me there will be no way to get what I want as a voter through the electoral process we have in this country. That and the fact the country is also divided almost in half with whom it believes should be running it. Enough with the stone throwing and name calling, how about someone with a fresh attitude to governance and campaigning, some positive spin and new ideas that might actually change my mind about politics.
Why are voters so 50/50 between Labor and Liberals? Are they so alike that people simply can’t decide, giving us the balanced view we have?

rommeldog56 11:16 pm 08 Nov 15

rubaiyat said :

Micro-management from the peanut gallery is NOT an improvement.

Rubaiyat : Why are u so competenous and dismissive of anyones views that do not accord with your own.

I for one gloss over your pro tram, car and driver hating “cars are the root of all evil abd the tram will save us all” dribble – its actually causing many people not to post here anymore. While I’m at it, why not try cutting down on the number of posts too.

justin heywood 8:57 pm 08 Nov 15

Skyring said :

… just as their spring fair was drawing to an end, people getting into their cars and driving away, stalls being dismantled etc.

“Aha,” I murmured to my wife, “A fête accompli.”

Aha. Another conniseur of dad jokes I see. Not bad!

Skyring 5:22 pm 08 Nov 15

miz said :

…their perpetual and presumptuous fait d’accompli planning style…

Reminds me of going to the movies in Manuka last night. We drove past the Telopea Park school just as their spring fair was drawing to an end, people getting into their cars and driving away, stalls being dismantled etc.

“Aha,” I murmured to my wife, “A fête accompli.”

miz 9:45 am 08 Nov 15

And when there is ‘consultation,’ it is simply a box ticking exercise, being carefully crafted to avoid any actual consultation that might change the outcome (given that the decision has already been made).

Barrry 11:56 am 07 Nov 15

miz said :

their fait d’accompli planning style

Yes. It is a disgrace. By the way, when is someone going to investigate links between the ACT government and developers?

Skyring 10:47 am 07 Nov 15

miz said :

The tram for me represents just another example, albeit a massive one, of their perpetual and presumptuous fait d’accompli planning style which I have personally endured over the last few years…

I think you’ve hit the nerve square on the head there.

Labor makes decisions and then implements them regardless of how the voters – especially those most affected – feel about them. The work of government seems to consist of nutting out schemes to implement whatever cabinet decides regardless of opposition, rather than working out what the people want.

Where is the transparency, the public consultation, the consideration?

Too much happens in secret, and naturally one wonders why. Is it because the people might not like it, and best to do it without cutting them into the loop? Is it because it’s a bad decision and best to try to minimise criticism? Is it because the developer has paid off party and politician? Is it just incompetence?

Yeah, yeah, these things are always notified somewhere. A PDF on a website that is rarely visited. A notice in the classifieds. But there’s too much that the government holds close to its breast until the deed is done.

miz 8:37 am 07 Nov 15

Nicely summed up, Skyring!
And I think the local Libs will be helped by getting rid of the Abbott Millstone. He was an utter disaster and embarrassment for the Libs and Australia.
I am more ideologically aligned with Labor in a general sense, in that I believe in fairness and people-centred public good in a ‘society,’ as opposed to commodity-centric economics under the guise of ‘freedom (for rich people and big business).’
However, I am personally really, really angry with local Labor about the tram. The tram for me represents just another example, albeit a massive one, of their perpetual and presumptuous fait d’accompli planning style which I have personally endured over the last few years, including attempted school closures based on dodgy statistics, unnecessary car-destroying speed humps I cannot avoid if I wish to drive anywhere at all, the sneaky inappropriate non-consultative placement of a facility in my street using under-the-radar tactics (which has caused no end of ghastly problems), an attempt to flog off a local park to developers, just to name a few.
My vote will definitely be a protest vote.

HiddenDragon 6:05 pm 06 Nov 15

Skyring said :

watto23 said :

I’m trying to find the website, but based on the 2012 election results, the government would be 11-12 Labour, 2-3 Greens and 11 liberals.

Labor will likely do worse than last time. Those who really like the tram will vote Green, those who hate it will have to vote Liberal.

And there’s a lot of dislike, especially on the South side of the Mawson-Dickson line.

Added to that is the fix-last-result factor. A close election, the government clings to power, the people make sure the next time around, often because the government, convinced they are bulletproof, shoot themselves in the foot so bad.

Four years of resentment and (so far) three years of inept government.

“Mawson-Dickson” – love it!

Skyring 1:39 pm 06 Nov 15

watto23 said :

I’m trying to find the website, but based on the 2012 election results, the government would be 11-12 Labour, 2-3 Greens and 11 liberals.

Labor will likely do worse than last time. Those who really like the tram will vote Green, those who hate it will have to vote Liberal.

And there’s a lot of dislike, especially on the South side of the Mawson-Dickson line.

Added to that is the fix-last-result factor. A close election, the government clings to power, the people make sure the next time around, often because the government, convinced they are bulletproof, shoot themselves in the foot so bad.

Four years of resentment and (so far) three years of inept government.

dungfungus 9:03 am 06 Nov 15

rubaiyat said :

Arthur said :

Well I would vote for Tony Abbott as I think it was unfair how he was stabbed in the back, it would be good to reward him again.

Didn’t he stab us ALL in the back after lying his way into office?

Not shedding a tear, and very happy we are coming out of our two year Dark Age.

Strange how he only stabbed those who didn’t vote for him, isn’t it?

rubaiyat 6:46 pm 05 Nov 15

Arthur said :

Well I would vote for Tony Abbott as I think it was unfair how he was stabbed in the back, it would be good to reward him again.

Didn’t he stab us ALL in the back after lying his way into office?

Not shedding a tear, and very happy we are coming out of our two year Dark Age.

gazket 4:22 pm 05 Nov 15

who cares anymore . The pollies pick whoever they like, not who we like. I’ll be screwing up the paper in their face and shoving in the box.

ozmaniac 2:40 pm 05 Nov 15

Compulsory voting – a democratic oxymoron………………

dukethunder 10:46 pm 27 Sep 15

Steven Bailey said :

John Hargreaves said :

No_Nose said :

John Hargreaves said :

Steven Bailey said :

miz said :

Can RiotACT please rule that commenters declare if they are a member of a political party or involved in some way (eg political adviser, fundraising etc).

I think that would be a good idea.

And…..now for the revelation

Wait..wait…let me guess…

Whilst in the ACT Assembly you were the clandestine leader of the Self Government Party?

You are secretly the Grand and Exalted Robemaster of the Jacqui Lambie Network?

For the last two years you were Tony Abbot’s actual Chief of Staff and Peta was just a patsy?

How did I go, was I close?

Not close. I was tempting Steven Bailey to reveal his affiliation

Hi guys, in the Author Archives of this site my bio clearly states that I am the First Officer and Election Team Leader of The Australian Sex Party – Canberra. I’m the lead candidate and currently the acting secretary of the party in the ACT. I regularly speak for the party in the media, and I love engaging in a public contest of ideas. We will be working very hard to win a number of seats in the territory elections of 2016. I’m happy to answer all reasonable questions put to me, and I’m proud to be a member of such a progressive, kind-hearted, and freethinking political movement.

Where do you stand on developing the cbd? I’m looking for a party that wants to facilitate building density in the cbd and a 5km radius, ignoring nimbys and proponents of the burley griffin plan.

Steven Bailey 3:35 pm 27 Sep 15

John Hargreaves said :

No_Nose said :

John Hargreaves said :

Steven Bailey said :

miz said :

Can RiotACT please rule that commenters declare if they are a member of a political party or involved in some way (eg political adviser, fundraising etc).

I think that would be a good idea.

And…..now for the revelation

Wait..wait…let me guess…

Whilst in the ACT Assembly you were the clandestine leader of the Self Government Party?

You are secretly the Grand and Exalted Robemaster of the Jacqui Lambie Network?

For the last two years you were Tony Abbot’s actual Chief of Staff and Peta was just a patsy?

How did I go, was I close?

Not close. I was tempting Steven Bailey to reveal his affiliation

Hi guys, in the Author Archives of this site my bio clearly states that I am the First Officer and Election Team Leader of The Australian Sex Party – Canberra. I’m the lead candidate and currently the acting secretary of the party in the ACT. I regularly speak for the party in the media, and I love engaging in a public contest of ideas. We will be working very hard to win a number of seats in the territory elections of 2016. I’m happy to answer all reasonable questions put to me, and I’m proud to be a member of such a progressive, kind-hearted, and freethinking political movement.

HenryBG 11:49 am 26 Sep 15

John Hargreaves said :

Not close. I was tempting Steven Bailey to reveal his affiliation

Frankly, anybody with any kind of “affiliation” should be barred from standing for a seat in our local elections.

We need people to run our city, not people who want to hire political staffers, emit ideology, and spend our money on fact-finding trips to the south of France.

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