27 February 2024

Canberra Liberals launch their team to fight the 2024 ACT election

| Claire Fenwicke
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Canberra Liberals 2024 election candidates

The Canberra Liberals have chosen their team for the 2024 ACT election. Photo: Supplied.

The Canberra Liberals have unveiled their 25 candidates to contest the upcoming election after two weeks of pre-selection vote nights.

Party leader Elizabeth Lee has touted the “calibre” of the candidates, who she feels represent a wide range of Canberrans and their experiences.

“The Canberra Liberals team is diverse, experienced and represents our community,” she said.

“Our candidates come from various backgrounds, and all bring different life and professional experiences that reflect Canberra.”

These include John Mikita, the grandson of murdered woman Irma Palasics.

He’s long been vocal about police resourcing in the Territory and came second on the ballot for Yerrabi.

Other candidates for the electorate are current MLAs Leanne Castley and James Milligan, Gungahlin Community Council vice president Ralitsa Dimitrova and environmental scientist Dr Krishna Nadimpalli.

Elizabeth Lee MLA is again running in Kurrajong, along with long-time Young Liberals member Ramon Bouckaert, former staffer Patrick Pentony, Sarah Luscombe and former Eden-Monaro candidate Jeremy Nockles.

Mark Parton MLA has put his hat in the ring again for Brindabella, along with James Daniels, Rosa Harber, Sandi Mitra and Deborah Morris.

READ ALSO ACT Government’s 30 per cent tree canopy goal in trouble, audit finds

The electorates of Ginninderra and Murrumbidgee didn’t have sufficient nominations to fill the ticket, meaning two people needed to be endorsed by the party.

Australian of the Year 2021 ACT nominee Chiaka Barry received this for Ginninderra, with current MLAs Peter Cain and Elizabeth Kikkert also running, along with Darren Roberts and former media advisor and radio journalist Joe Prevedello.

The party’s management committee endorsed Karen Walsh to run in Murrumbidgee. She’s joined by former deputy leader Jeremy Hanson MLA, Ed Cocks MLA, Elyse Heslehurst and Amardeep Singh.

Nicole Lawder is the only current Canberra Liberals MLA not contesting her seat.

Ms Lee said that after 23 years, it was time for a refresh in government.

“It is clear the Labor-Greens government has given up on governing in the best interests of Canberrans,” she said.

“I have no doubt all candidates we have announced today will work tirelessly as we work toward bringing about a Canberra Liberals government in October.”

READ ALSO Fewer APS consultants means less revenue for ACT Government

ACT Labor announced its candidates earlier this year, while the ACT Greens revealed its frontrunner candidates at the end of 2023.

Another 10 support candidates are expected to be chosen in the coming months.

Independents are also putting their hands up for election.

The Independents for Canberra Party launched on 11 February, founded by Thomas Emerson, an adviser to Senator David Pocock, and Clare Carnell, a barrister, ANU lecturer and daughter of former Liberal Chief Minister Kate Carnell.

Small business advocate Peter Strong and medical scientist and diplomat Ann Bray declared their candidacies in January.

It’s understood that former Woden Valley Community Council president Fiona Carrick is still looking to assemble a team of candidates.

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You can always rely on Jack D posting his criticisms of the Liberals. Someone should tell him Labor’s been in power for a 100 years.

We can’t continue with the monthly stuff ups from the likes of Steel and Berry.

But I’m not sure the ACT Liberals are providing enough quality potential MLA’s. What’s happened to the days of local businesspeople and professionals joining political parties.

It’s all staffers or party hacks.

How long do ACT voters have to be subjected to this farce that is the Canberra Liberals? Another election year and another predicted loss with expectations the party will be flat out getting just one candidate across the line in each electorate.

30 candidates put their hands up for preselection. 15 men and only 10 women were preselected with sitting members uncontested. Unsurprisingly, those candidates elected derive from the most socially and culturally conservative backgrounds the party has ever put forward in an election that I can remember. Some candidates are returning having stood for the party and lost badly in previous ACT, federal and state elections.

This coming election marks over two decades the Canberra Liberals have been in opposition. Led by unprogressive and male dominated management committees throughout this time, the party has now become a sham. Unable to attract quality candidates and unwelcoming towards women, the Canberra Liberals remain firmly in the past, staunchly aligned to the far-right conservatism of Zed Seselja and his cronies.

The Canberra Liberals will not win this year’s election. Nor will they move forward with a male dominated and disdainful management committee controlling a revolving door of non-entities linked to conservative and far-right politics. Polling and internal grumbling reflects the distress and hopelessness felt by party members.

ACT voters are the losers and should be outraged!

Jack, your vinyl is scratched, it keeps jumping back over the track “Hate the Liberals”.

No nobody I am just one of those outraged ACT voters who, after two decades of watching the Canberra Liberals implode, wants to see an effective opposition that drives good and robust policy debate.

A successful and progressive opposition that is not seen as a joke and is capable of winning an election!

Is that too much to ask?

Jack D,
another meaningless and partisan rant.

But I will pull you up on a couple of points:

“with expectations the party will be flat out getting just one candidate across the line in each electorate.”

Whose expectations? Your own? I’d love to see you attempt to back that point up with some data, polling or actual evidence. This would equate to double digit swings against the Liberal party across the board. Surely even the most rusted on Jack D’s in Canberra don’t think that’s likely.

“A successful and progressive opposition that is not seen as a joke and is capable of winning an election!”

But the Liberal party isn’t a progressive party, so why would you expect them to change to suit your own personal politics?

And if you were being honest, even if they did espouse progressive positions as you claim to want, you still wouldn’t vote for them anyway. Which can be seen by your constant claims they are being controlled behind the scenes by hard core conservatives regardless of what their actual stated positions are.

You are right chewy there is no way I would vote for the Canberra Liberals in the current state of the party. But being the political being that I am I engage amiably with both sides of politics and have done so for many years, even with ex-Liberal MLAs. Some of these people I consider my closest friends. Some are so disillusioned with the party that they have cancelled their membership. Others however continue to hold onto their membership in the unlikely hope that prospects will improve.

There is a common anger and belief amongst my friends, especially with their inside knowledge, that the Canberra Liberals have deteriorated to the point of no return and will be flat out getting just one candidate across the line in each electorate at this year’s election!

Jack D, your “some of my best friends are…” should buy another round then offer another guess at the Liberal votes. They’ll fall of their chairs laughing.

Jack D,
So you engage amiably with people from both sides of politics in person but then disparage one side relentlessly online with personal smears. Makes sense.

And I’m sure your “friends” do have an anger towards the Liberal party in your opinion. It’s not like you’ve ever shown any form of balanced assessment in your comments here on anything else political in nature.

Although it might have just been easier for you to admit you completely made up the part about the Liberals struggling to get one person elected in each electorate rather than continuing the lie that can’t be backed up by a shred of verifiable evidence. Although once again, it does tie in nicely with your other exagerrations and flat out mistruths, so there’s that.

GrumpyGrandpa7:31 pm 27 Feb 24

Hi Jack D.

“….the party will be flat out getting just one candidate across the line in each electorate”. That’s a big call that one Jack.

The current make up of the Assembly is 10 ALP, 9 Lib & 6 Greens. If the Libs lost at least 4 seats, which is effectively what you are suggesting, it could be an ALP majority government or yet still another ALP-Greens Alliance.

In my opinion, an ALP majority Government would be a better result for the ACT than another handcuffed to the Greens, but in order to avoid another Alliance handcuffed

GrumpyGrandpa7:36 pm 27 Feb 24

Jack D.
The chances of the Canberra Libs losing about half of their seats, (to be flat out securing one seat per electorate), is a pretty ridiculous prediction.

Let’s face it, the ALP-Greens Alliance Government is a bit on the nose, after 20 plus years, and for those us south of the City, 2B is about as popular as herpes in a nudist colony.

Tom McLuckie9:22 pm 27 Feb 24

Your feigned outrage is laughable Jack given your track record of anyone questioning the wisdom of Barr’s Labor /Green utopia is to attempt to eviscerate them. So what about Jon Stanhope, last Labor CM with a majority, and still a Labor Party member who is vociferous in his criticism of Barr and his deal with the Greens, his fiscal mismanagement, and the removal of funding from Health and Housing to fund the vanity tram. In your recent comments, you couldn’t even tolerate the prospect of independents running and called them out as hidden Liberals who MUST declare their actual allegiance! Obviously, the concept of independents is lost on you. Its laughable the Greens refer to themselves as the cross bench given the Governance agreement between Labor and the Greens. There is no real cross bench. They have jumped n=into bed with each other – at times they may not like it – but that is the reality. As I said, the outrage you claim to be experiencing at the state of ACT democracy made me laugh out loud. Funniest thing I’ve read all week. You would be the first person to implode if there were an actual genuine threat to removed your beloved “progressives” from Government.

Unfortunately Charmaine and chewy I do not believe that the current political situation in Canberra is conducive to effective democracy. My Liberal friends agree. The Canberra liberals are the most ineffective division of the party in the country. Considered a joke by voters, the party’s state and federal colleagues agree. The Canberra Liberals have been in opposition in the ACT for over two decades. Losing its only federal representative and senator Zed Seselja at the 2020 election, in one of the party’s safest and most guaranteed seats in the country.

At the last Territory election in 2020, the party’s leader Elizabeth Lee barely scraped over the line. Not even reaching a quota, Ms Lee was rewarded with the leadership.

I will be thinking of Charmaine and chewy and their comments when the ACT’s election results start rolling in on 19 October this year. Groundhog day and another predicted loss for the Canberra Liberals.

Unfortunately, it is really Canberra voters who are the losers.

Jack D,
Who said anything about the Liberals winning?

You claimed they would struggle to win one seat in each electorate.

And i hope you do remember the actual words of my comments when the election results come in, because I’ll surely remember yours.

With another predicted win for the woeful incumbents, your last sentence couldn’t be any truer. But you’ll keep voting for them anyway.

Jack D, where did I discuss what is “conducive to effective democracy” let alone predict the entire election outcome?

I satirised your claim which I expect to see proven silly regardless of the formation of the next local government.

Does it occur to you that extreme comments and your inability track a thread of argument simply mirror those whom you would disparage on the right (who might also see themselves in you)?

10 women and 7 CALD candidates – impressively diverse for a Liberal ticket
Let’s hope they have what it takes to bring about change, Canberra needs a new govt!

Gregg Heldon5:06 pm 27 Feb 24

Let’s hope. There seems to be some capable people among the candidates.

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