30 January 2024

UPDATED: Barr points to 'stability' as a reason to vote for ACT Labor's election candidates

| Claire Fenwicke
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Andrew Barr and Yvette Berry

ACT Labor leader Andrew Barr pointed to the ongoing leadership by himself and deputy ACT Labor leader Yvette Berry as an example of the stability his party could continue to provide Canberrans. Photo: Claire Fenwicke.

UPDATE 3:30 pm – As even more independents put their hands up to contest the upcoming ACT election, the current government has stressed “stability” and proven leadership helps set them apart from the pack.

ACT Labor revealed its 25 candidates running in the October contest (see list below) with leader Andrew Barr insisting his team was united.

“That stands in stark contrast to the alternate government that’s churned through leaders, deputy leaders, at a rate of knots,” he said.

“There’s a lot of instability on that side of politics.”

He pointed to his government’s leadership throughout the past few years as a reason why Labor was the party to stick with when casting your vote.

“I put forward my leadership during the COVID period, during the bushfires, and during the many and diverse challenges that have been thrown at this community over the last five years in particular, as testimony to how I respond, under pressure, and the sort of governments I lead,” Mr Barr said.

“It’s not just about how we’ve responded in the past but also about our plans for the future.”

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The lead-up to the candidate list hasn’t been without controversy for ACT Labor.

It’s been revealed federal MPs and the chief minister all interfered in the pre-selection process for Brindabella after affirmative action rules meant previous candidate Taimus Werner-Gibbings couldn’t be considered for the seat.

He was restored to the ticket with some alterations meaning the party was still able to meet its quota requirements.

Mr Barr said he felt the matter had been resolved.

“The Labor Party takes very seriously our commitments to affirmative action to ensuring that we have gender balance within our team of 25,” he said.

“The result in Brindabella required some minor change in order to ensure that there was that gender balance across the entire team across the entire Territory, but I think that was resolved in an amicable way that was supported right across the party unanimously.”

The Brindabella seat is expected to be a hot contest, with current Labor MLA Joy Burch and Canberra Liberals MLA Nicole Lawder both retiring.

The Greens could also face challenges in this seat after Laura Nuttall was installed following a countback late last year after Jonathan Davis resigned in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations.

READ ALSO Call for ACT Government to double funding for homelessness services

All parties have the next eight-and-a-half months to appeal to the public, and more than 100 candidates are expected to run.

Mr Barr said his team’s task from now was to have “hundreds of thousands of conversations” about Labor’s plan for Canberra’s future, with a particular focus on the second half of the 2020s.

While a majority government would be nice, the current Chief Minister is mainly aiming to secure more seats and is preparing to negotiate should independents find their way into the Legislative Assembly.

“I’m a realist. I understand the nature of the system is very heavily stacked against majority governments,” he said.

“I can say confidently that every candidate we put forward, if elected, would make a difference and would make a great contribution to the Assembly, to the community and to ACT Labor.”

ACT Labor 2024 election candidates

ACT Labor has put forward 25 candidates for the October election. Photo: ACT Labor.

8:30 am – “Progressive, practical and proven” – that’s the tagline accompanying the announcement of the ACT Labor candidates who will contest this year’s election.

The team consists of 25 people – including current members of the Legislative Assembly – and was released along with a list of promises the party says will build Canberra’s future and ensure it remains “one of the world’s most liveable cities”.

It contains some familiar faces from the community as well.

These include Capital Region Community Services executive Heidi Prowse, Sexual Health and Family Planning ACT executive director Tim Bavinton, and Northside Community Services executive director Anna Whitty.

ACT Labor Party secretary Ash van Dijk said the pre-selected candidates came from various backgrounds and life experiences, making up a strong team.

“ACT Labor’s candidates are reflective of the communities they seek to represent, from small business owners to community sector leaders, an early childhood educator and a volunteer firefighter,” he said.

“Our candidates are proudly team Labor, as the only party that can deliver both progressive and practical government for Canberra.”

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ACT Labor said it planned to continue “record investment” in public health, including more nurses and doctors in Canberra.

It plans to build more public schools, improve TAFE facilities, expand the university sector and employ more teachers.

The party also promised it had a “credible plan” to build the housing Canberra’s expanding population will need while protecting public spaces, along with “once-in-a-generation” infrastructure.

“We will talk to Canberrans about the progressive, nation-leading policies that will improve people’s lives and make Canberra an even better place to live,” a party statement read.

“Canberrans can also expect that with an ACT Labor Government, there will be sensible economic management that will create new jobs and keep our economy the strongest and fairest in the country.”

Cost-of-living pressures are expected to be a hot topic in the election lead-up, and the current Labor MLAs have promised they’ll continue to develop and roll out more practical solutions for struggling Canberrans.

All current MLAs are contesting the next election, except for current Speaker and Brindabella representative Joy Burch.

ACT Labor leader Andrew Barr said he was proud to be part of a growing, inclusive and supportive Canberra, and he was excited about the future.

“Labor’s plan seizes the opportunities over the next five years, ensuring that the nation’s capital realises its potential,” he said.

“ACT Labor has a progressive, practical and proven plan for Canberra’s future. I look forward to working alongside this energetic team over the coming months to put forward our plan to Canberrans.”

READ ALSO ACT rents fell slightly last year, but they’re still the second highest in the country

The candidates for each Canberra electorate in the October election are:


  • Andrew Barr MLA, chief minister and ACT Labor leader
  • Rachel Stephen-Smith MLA
  • Aggi Court
  • Martin Greenwood
  • Marina Talevski


  • Yvette Berry MLA, deputy chief minister and deputy ACT Labor leader
  • Tara Cheyne MLA
  • Tim Bavinton
  • Heidi Prowse
  • Sean Sadimoen


  • Mick Gentleman MLA
  • Louise Crossman
  • Brendan Forde
  • Caitlin Tough
  • Taimus Werner-Gibbings


  • Suzanne Orr MLA
  • Michael Pettersson MLA
  • Mallika Raj
  • Ravinder Sahni
  • Pradeep Sornaraj


  • Chris Steel MLA
  • Marisa Paterson MLA
  • Noor El-Asadi
  • Nelson Tang
  • Anna Whitty.

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William Newby11:17 pm 29 Mar 24

We have had more than two decades of Labor’s “stability”.
They can’t blame any of the territory’s mess on the opposition, this is 100% their doing.
Two decades of failure, it’s time to vote for ANYONE ELSE.

Barr has cost all ratepayers a fortune over his time in power and with no improvement in the city, just decay and reduced services. We pay the highest rates in Australia and don’t even get decent public transport or health services. Everything was better over 20 years ago, before this selfish mob entrenched themselves. Chuck them out!!!!!!

As an ex-Labor supporter I will never vote for a Govt headed by Barr, Rattenbury and Steel who have foisted a 300% increase in rates and taxes upon us to help pay for Rattenbury’s toy tram.

optimusmaximus4:28 pm 24 Mar 24

I am – or rather was – a professional health care worker but my employment at the Canberra Hospital was terminated in 2021 for speaking out about (1) the Hospital’s longstanding toxic culture of bullying and intimidation, (2) unsafe work practises, (3) its history of being unable to provide a proper and respectful environment for its registrars, including a consistent lack of professional guidance, training and adequate resources, (4) deliberately cutting corners on vital quality assurance procedures that have the potential to impact on patient health care outcomes, (5) allowing clinical directors and managers to usurp and waste public funds by ignoring policies that govern probity and transparency during procurement processes, inadequate escalation procedures that have led to patient deaths. My dismissal was an unlawful and unjust act to silence my voice of conscience. Canberra Health services is currently being rebranded as way to brush all of the negative publicity is has received during the Barr Labor government’s reign, such as the repeated failure of every culture review and marginal scoring on most accreditation standards as a teaching hospital. But we will not be fooled again.

“My dismissal was an unlawful and unjust act to silence my voice of conscience.”
So you filed an unfair dismissal claim with the Fair Work Commission then? What was the outcome?

optimusmaximus11:14 am 25 Mar 24

You only have a very short window to lodge a claim, which I missed as I was ill. Trying to sue someone for discrimination or bullying is notoriously difficult and whistleblower protections are feeble in the ACT, but I am hoping to bring legal action against CHS on other grounds relating to my position as a registrar.

stability and amicable …..?!?

There was nothing amicable about Labor’s candidate selection process:

It was undemocratic.
In the name of AA men traded women like chattel.

Anglo-Celtic Caucasians threw two loved and wanted diverse candidates under the bus!

Wonder if Barr has read the Labor platform …
I don’t know a single diverse party member in Brindabella who isn’t furious and is willing to campaign for our beloved Party. A party that so demonstrably does not even respect us.

And when grassroots party members have reached an FU- stage:
Good luck

Andrew Barr might be able to claim stability in his own electorate but the Tuggeranong voters of Brindabella might have a completely different view.

Government Greens MLA gone for misconduct, Barr having to overrule on Werner Gibbins, anything but stability in buses, education, jobs and local government services.

The headline “Barr points to ‘stability’ as a reason to vote for ACT Labor’s election candidates” has the same desperation as a similar headline from the, then underfire now vanquished, former Senator for the ACT “Zed warns voters of ‘extreme green’ risk after Pocock polling shock”.
The ACT has had political stability, of sorts, for the past 20 years, Mr Barr. What a growing number of ACT constituents want is accountability. A Legislative Assembly where independents hold the balance of power could very well deliver the accountability constituents seek.

Dorothy Bullivant7:38 am 30 Jan 24

When I moved to Canberra from Victoria in the 80s it was a beautiful, well maintained place. I drive around now and see weeds, long grass, damaged footpaths and roads. Woden is a nightmare to navigate with continuous roads closures for the construction of more apartments buildings. It was once a beautiful place to live…now not so much.

Capital Retro8:39 am 30 Jan 24

My sentiments too, Dorothy. One person’s unchallenged vision has created this.

You mean Allan Holding MP?

Clever Interrobang2:17 pm 30 Jan 24

That was presumably before self government in 1989

Things started to go downhill after self government

Funny, isn’t it? The party of instability par excellence – which is what change, ‘progress’, perpetual revolution, etc. really amount to – finds itself appealing to stability.

If you believe wasting over $70 million on a failed HR system, a credit rating degrade from AAA to AA , cancelling Calvary hospitals lease, a worsening health system and a tram that’s costing billions plus assuming any blocks over 800 meters can house two dwellings proven leadership and stability then you’re deluded. The sooner the ACT is rid of this Labour/Greens fiasco the better.

William Newby11:25 pm 29 Mar 24

Let’s not forget the CIT and the millions they just handed to their Labor buddy. The investigation into this has been completed BUT will not be made public until November this year, after the election.
Labor are corrupt and treat our vote and money with utter contempt. I will never vote for Labor on this one point alone.

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