21 May 2022

Probing the polls: voting choices and the value of independents

| Genevieve Jacobs
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Ballot box

How do you make your vote count? Photo: File.

As the election approaches this weekend, there’s plenty of speculation about a change of government and what might sway voters towards Labor after close to a decade of Liberal government.

The ACT’s Senate race is tight although there’s unlikely to be much change locally in the House of Representatives where the ALP holds all three federal seats on comfortable margins.

In this week’s poll, we asked What’s the one issue that matters to you in the 2022 election? A total of 1194 readers voted.

Your choices are below and three of the options were well ahead of the other alternatives. Climate change on 28 per cent just edged out cost of living on 27 per cent, while integrity was relatively close behind on 22 per cent of votes.

Although housing pressure and Canberra’s sky high real estate costs are often cited as a problem for the population, this option attracted just 6 per cent of the total.

  • Cost of living (27 per cent, 325 Votes)
  • Territory rights (6 per cent, 69 Votes)
  • Climate change (28 per cent, 331 Votes)
  • ACT infrastructure (6 per cent, 73 Votes)
  • Housing (5 per cent, 63 Votes)
  • Integrity (22 per cent, 258 Votes)
  • None of the above (6 per cent, 75 Votes)

This week, as the most interesting election in some time approaches, we’re wondering whether you are casting a vote for an independent?

READ ALSO Labor promises arts cash splash after tough two years

The ACT is the only jurisdiction in the country without independent representation in Federal parliament. Nominations from not one but two prominent independent candidates have shaken up all sides and the major parties in this year’s ACT senate race in particular.

Both David Pocock and Kim Rubenstein have national profiles in their respective areas of expertise and solid community backing. Their dual appearance on the electoral horizon was intended to challenge Liberal incumbent Zed Seselja but has also rocked the ALP’s campaign for Katy Gallagher and threatened previously strong polling for the Greens.

The independents argue that they are fresh voices dedicated specifically to serving the ACT rather than the interests of major parties. They say they’ll be advocates for Territory rights and greater representation.

But if either one were elected to the Senate, what would they actually be able to achieve? There are expectations of a strong showing from the so-called teal candidates, but the major parties have been busy pointing out that either Gallagher or Seselja would hold ministerial appointments in a Federal government.

READ ALSO ‘The most interesting election in years’, but will the end result be exactly the same?

While a hung parliament provides significant leverage on controversial issues, the major parties say there’s no guarantee an independent will deliver the significant benefits many believe the ACT has consistently missed out on.

Our question this week is:

Would you vote for an independent candidate?

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