Attorney-General Gordon Ramsay has lost his seat in Ginninderra to the Liberals’ Peter Cain while the Greens’ Johnathon Davis has won a sixth seat for the party.
The ACT Electoral Commission declared the official 25 members to be elected to the Assembly on Friday night (23 October). The final count left Labor with 10 seats, the Greens with six and the Liberals with nine.
Mr Ramsay lost his seat by just over 160 votes while Mr Davis beat Labor’s Taimus Werner-Gibbings by just over 80 votes for the fifth seat in Brindabella.
The loss of Mr Ramsay, who in addition to being Attorney-General also held the arts, seniors and veterans, and business portfolios, has left a significant hole in Chief Minister Andrew Barr’s Cabinet.
Mr Ramsay was well regarded across the arts portfolio, where he has been preparing to implement a promised review of arts organisation funding, to flow into a creative industries policy, covering arts, events and tourism.
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Minister’s Creative Council chair Genevieve Jacobs said that Mr Ramsay’s loss would be felt across Canberra’s arts sector.
“Regardless of political affiliations, it’s all too rare to have a minister who cares deeply about the arts and is a senior member of the government”, she said.
“Gordon loves the arts with a passion and worked hard to ensure access, support and encouragement for our whole arts community. Most recently, he ensured that the ACT’s response to COVID-19’s impact on the arts was fast, effective and nation leading.
“He saw the arts as a way to develop community resilience in challenging times and as an important tool for rebuilding our post pandemic economy”.
Mr Ramsay said being the arts minister in Canberra was “the best gift you can possibly have”.
As Attorney-General, Mr Ramsay was responsible for introducing mandatory reporting laws for sexual abuse, removing exemptions for the seal of confession.
As the Minister for Building Quality Improvement, he also drove the government’s building reform package, including plans to re-introduce government certifiers in the ACT to restore public confidence in Canberra’s construction sector, the introduction of minimum design documentation rules, an expansion of builders’ exams and new powers for the ACT’s construction watchdog.
He was responsible for more than 50 pieces of legislation during the last Assembly.
In addition to Mr Ramsay, Labor lost Bec Cody and Deepak-Raj Gupta.
The Canberra Liberals lost James Milligan, Candice Burch and Andrew Wall.
Long-serving Liberal Vicki Dunne and the Greens’ Caroline Le Couteur both retired.
Mr Barr did not want to speculate about who would replace Mr Ramsay before the final count, but Greens’ leader Shane Rattenbury has been touted as a potential successor.
The Greens have pushed to have a second cabinet minister in the next ACT Government to reflect the party’s strong showing at the 2020 election.
The Greens now hold six seats in the Assembly, up from two before the election.
Jo Clay won her seat in Ginninderra, Rebecca Vassarotti in Kurrajong, Emma Davidson in Murrumbidgee and Andrew Braddock in Yerrabi.
An official declaration from the ACT Electoral Commission will take place on Wednesday, 28 October.