UPDATED Election 2020: Labor back for sixth term but Green surge surprises

Ian Bushnell 39
Andrew Barr and Anthony Toms

An emotional Andrew Barr hugs his husband Anthony Toms after he declared victory on behalf of ACT Labor. Photo: Lottie Twyford.

19 October: 11.00 am What just happened in the ACT election? It’s the morning after and Genevieve Jacobs is with Professor John Warhurst to dissect the ACT election results.

What just happened in the ACT election? It’s the morning after and Genevieve Jacobs is with Professor John Warhurst to dissect the ACT election results?.

Posted by The RiotACT on Saturday, 17 October 2020

18 October: 10.20 pm ACT Labor has been returned for a record sixth term and the Greens are celebrating a boost to their numbers in the Assembly after voters firmly rebuffed the Canberra Liberals’ case for a change of government.

The writing was on the wall early as Elections ACT crunched the massive 70 per cent pre-poll vote to reveal a swing of 3.6 per cent against the Liberals, who even lost their third member in the now-former stronghold of Ginninderra.

The Liberals polled 33.1 per cent, Labor’s vote barely shifted at 38.4 per cent but the Greens were buoyed by a swing to them of the same magnitude as the Liberal losses.

It will mean the Greens, who polled 14 per cent, will field at least three and possibly six members in the next Assembly and will have claims for another minister to join leader Shane Rattenbury.

ACT Election 2020

ALP leader Andrew Barr accepted victory at the Belconnen Labor Club. He said it was "a campaign based on our progressive and inclusive values".Follow our live rolling coverage: http://ow.ly/DUjZ50BV8c8

Posted by The RiotACT on Saturday, 17 October 2020

Chief Minister Andrew Barr made his victory speech from the Belconnen Labor Club at about 9.40 pm, saying he would sit down with Mr Rattenbury in coming days to put a government together but he stressed it would be a Labor-led government.

Mr Barr called the victory a humbling experience, particularly in such an extraordinary year, and thanked the party and his family.

”We’ve got through it because we’ve applied progressive values to our government decisions and because we’ve applied compassion and we haven’t left people behind,” he said.

Mr Barr said he felt for the Canberra Liberals and their losses.

”We know what that feels like and that’s challenging. I want to acknowledge that a democracy only works if you have a strong opposition,” he said.

Andrew Barr

Andrew Barr makes his acceptance speech at the 2020 election. Photo: Region Media.

Mr Barr said the party’s decision to stick to a positive campaign message had been vindicated.

”Now, four years ago, in this very spot, I stood here and said that Canberrans had voted for light rail. Well, friends, they’ve done it again! And I think Labor’s resurgence on the south side tonight is testimony to just that.”

Mr Barr highlighted climate change and how Labor had handled the pandemic as resonating with voters.

”One very clear message from this campaign is that Canberrans have voted for real action on climate change,” he said.

”They voted for this city to continue to lead our nation in implementing good public policy that creates jobs, reduces greenhouse gas emissions and reduces cost of living. They voted for us to lead on progressive reforms and to pull the rest of Australia with us.

”They voted for a government who will always stand up for Canberra and one that will listen to expert advice when it comes to handling this pandemic.”

Opposition Leader Alistair Coe made his concession speech about 9:00 pm, wishing Mr Barr and his team and his husband, Anthony, all the best for the future.

He praised a professional and positive campaign and thanked all his team who worked so hard to win government.

He held out hope that the Liberal numbers can improve as preferences continue to be distributed.

Mr Coe, who campaigned relentlessly on the cost of living, again warned that Canberra was becoming a two-paced society.

“And it is incumbent upon the next government of the ACT to do much more to support those in this city who can’t afford rent, can’t afford to buy a home, are living in poverty or are doing it tough,’’ he said.

But Mr Coe made no mention of whether he would stay on as leader.

Mr Rattenbury firmly put inequality and climate change on the agenda for the coming Assembly.

”Through this campaign we have said now is not a time to snap back to the old normal. It has been a hard year for so many Canberrans. We don’t want to go back to the way it was. We want to deal with the climate crisis that sits there in the background. We must deal with the growing inequality in our society and we must deal with issues of housing affordability in this city,” he said.

In Brindabella, where 80 per cent of the vote has been counted, Labor is polling at 41 per cent with a swing of 7.4 per cent, and the Greens 10 per cent with swing of 5.8 per cent. The Liberals, with a primary vote of 38 per cent, are down 3.9 per cent.

Liberal Andrew Wall has fallen, and his spot will likely go to Labor’s Taimus Werner-Gibbings, with Green Johnathon Davis still a chance.

Liberal frontbencher Mark Parton is back, but he was one of the first very early in the night to concede that the opposition was facing an uphill battle to take government.

In Murrumbidgee, with 80 per cent of the vote counted, the swing against the Liberals is almost more than 8 per cent. The swing to Labor is 2.3 per cent and the Greens 1.2 per cent.

But sitting Labor member Bec Cody appears to have lost her seat to Labor colleague Marissa Paterson.

The Greens’ Emma Davidson will succeed Caroline Le Couteur, taking the fifth spot.

Independent and former president of the Woden Valley Community Council Fiona Carrick polled well but fell short.

In Kurrajong, with 77 per cent of the vote counted, the Greens, as expected, have polled strongly at nearly 24 per cent with a 5 per cent swing.

Chief Minister Andrew Barr has easily been returned, as has Greens leader Shane Rattenbury, with colleague Rebecca Vassarotti likely to join him in the Assembly by nudging out Liberal frontbencher Candice Burch.

In Ginninderra, the Belco Party has taken votes off the Canberra Liberals, which are polling at only 26 per cent with more than 70 per cent of the vote counted.

Labor’s vote is down marginally but it is polling at 40.6 per cent.

The Greens are polling at almost 13 per cent, and Jo Clay is still an outside chance of winning through.

Opposition Leader Alistair Coe’s seat Yerrabi is the only seat where there is any Liberal joy, with a swing of 4.7 per cent and a primary vote of 40.5 per cent. But James Milligan will make way for colleague Leanne Castley.

Labor suffered a shock swing of more than 9 per cent, in a seat where there have been major investments such as light rail and new schools. It has so far managed just 34.7 per cent of the vote, and lost Deepak-Raj Gupta.

But the Greens are polling at 10 per cent, enjoying 3.3 per cent swing, and it appears Andrew Braddock will also be elected.

Retiring Liberal frontbencher Vicki Dunne said the party was in for a time of assessment and reassessment.

”There will have to be some soul-searching about whether the campaign was good enough. It is clear it wasn’t good enough. I’m surprised at some of the very good campaigners that are seen to not be doing well,” she said.

Former leader Jeremy Hanson easily retained his seat. He blamed the loss on COVID-19 and voters wanting to stick with incumbent governments.

”I don’t think that there is a satisfaction out there with the government, but there is a lot of nervousness about COVID,” he said.

Mr Rattenbury said the electorate started to see there was not much behind the Liberal slogans.

Live from liberal party headquarters with Mark Parton and Giulia Jones?.Follow our live rolling coveage: http://ow.ly/DUjZ50BV8c8

Posted by The RiotACT on Saturday, 17 October 2020

At Greens HQ the mood is buoyant. Leader Shane Rattenbury has been comfortably re-elected and it’s looking quite likely there will be a second Green in Murrumbidgee. Follow our live rolling coveage: http://ow.ly/DUjZ50BV8c8

Posted by The RiotACT on Saturday, 17 October 2020

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39 Responses to UPDATED Election 2020: Labor back for sixth term but Green surge surprises
Roger Mungummary Roger Mungummary 2:19 am 18 Oct 20

Did they really think a ridiculous laundry list of uncoated promises would fool the Canberra area voters?

Stephen Page-Murray Stephen Page-Murray 8:47 pm 17 Oct 20

Until the Liberals stop treating the ACT electorate like children, they will continue to sit on the opposition benches.

Katy Did Katy Did 8:42 pm 17 Oct 20

So now we have the ‘puppeteer’ in charge again and ACT another $100M in debt for green initiatives-thanks a lot Canberra voters. You get what you deserve. Me, I think I will leave town.

Alex Troy Elsworth Adkins Alex Troy Elsworth Adkins 8:36 pm 17 Oct 20

Can Coe step down now, finally? Elizabeth Lee would have a much better chance of getting the Canberra Libs in government

    Lea Powell Lea Powell 8:39 pm 17 Oct 20

    Alex Troy Elsworth Adkins except she doesn’t look like getting in

    Alex Troy Elsworth Adkins Alex Troy Elsworth Adkins 8:40 pm 17 Oct 20

    Lea Powell already re-elected according to the ABC

Mike Bolton Mike Bolton 8:34 pm 17 Oct 20

ACT voters tend to be liberal minded and there is a large public sector presence, though the downside of having Labor consistently winning the ACT elections is that the constituencies can be taken for granted and there is no incentive to improve or implement betterment when voted in easily every time.

Shayne Borger Shayne Borger 8:20 pm 17 Oct 20

Boiling frog syndrome...Canberra will see sky rocketing costs and more Geocon monolithic garbage. Well done Canberra

    Katy Did Katy Did 2:27 pm 18 Oct 20

    Anne T Turner Yes, the Greens do not like to touch undeveloped land. Prefer infill. Sau is cheaper and that most people prefer to live on flats anyway!!

Daniel J. Fitzpatrick Daniel J. Fitzpatrick 8:19 pm 17 Oct 20

Canberrans are smart enough to realise if you elect a liberal government all you get is a set of puppets for the rich and Murdoch.

Tom Adam Tom Adam 8:06 pm 17 Oct 20

I’m grateful the ALP will have a minority government and will have to listen to the minor parties (and real people outside of the Labor Party bubble) for the next few years.

    Simon Gadgets Simon Gadgets 8:16 pm 17 Oct 20

    problem is that minor party is the greens and its gone so well for the last 15 years hasnt it??

    oh well thats democracy for ya

    Tom Adam Tom Adam 8:18 pm 17 Oct 20

    Simon, yeh they only had 1 seat at the table. Now they cannot move without the Green’s support and I think there will be a change in the dynamics of the local presence.

    Stephen Matthews Stephen Matthews 8:59 pm 17 Oct 20

    Simon Gadgets increased their vote too

    Tom Adam Tom Adam 9:05 pm 17 Oct 20

    Stephen, yep looks like they took it all from the Liberal Party rather than splitting the ALP vote. Which actually says more about the Greens than both the ALP or LPA

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