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Some predictions for October 18.

By johnboy - 28 July 2008 29

The last local Government elections were fought in the shadow of a federal election. The upcoming ones will be fought in the shadow of the NSW local government elections. In trying to crystal ball-gaze we need to come to grips with what a dramatic change this represents.

The 2004 election went unusually well for Labor. They seized the first ever majority government in the ACT, all the more dramatic because our un-checked uni-cameral system was designed on the assumption that majority government would be impossible.

To a large extent that vote was determined by the Federal election where John Howard thumped Mark Latham.

Local politics got only minimal play, and local Labor was boosted by Canberra’s anti-Howard backlash.

This time around local issues will dominate the debate all the way from here to the third weekend in October.

Election08 result will be

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And over the border in NSW they’re having their own local government elections in September. The dominant theme of that election is who can most perfectly reflect the desires of the property developers which are bank-rolling the campaigns.

Developers appear to have lost faith in the political parties and are planning to run their own candidates under a variety of different slogans.

That push is going to splash over the border with our own election just a month later.

We should not, however, abandon hope. Simply splashing cash around has cost many a vanity candidate in Canberra large chunks of their personal fortunes.

But it’s a context you’re well advised to apply to any and all of the new parties vying for your attention.


In that context the only party for those concerned by the influence of developers will be the Greens. So they could do much better this time around, probably at Labor’s expense.

I’d chalk them up to pick up another two seats in each electorate, to a total of three.

This assumes they don’t have any bone-headed policy explosions. Their decision to refuse RiotACT media access to their campaign launch two weeks ago showed poor judgment remains a problem for them in our opinion.


This also bodes ill for the Liberals. Their seven seats (at the last election, less Richard Mulcahy who stormed out of the party) would appear to represent some low-hanging fruit for the new parties.


RiotACT has its differences with Richard Mulcahy but we have never questioned his hard work and smart politics. If the big dollars roll in for him don’t make the mistake of thinking he’ll be another Helen Cross. Having said that it’s hard to see him winning more than one seat.

Community Alliance and Pangallo

Big fish in their small ponds they’re going to have to campaign out of their skins to convince the wider public to vote for them.

Liberal Democratic Party

Advertisers here on RiotACT, they’re always going to struggle selling a small-government/personal-freedom message in a town like Canberra where people tend to see the merits of big government solutions, if only because those are the things they’re used to.

A commitment to Liberty and Democracy is also likely to see a party supporting unpopular causes.

One suspects if they can get their message heard they’ll mostly go home happy.

Free Range Canberra and the Motorist Party are similarly motivated. But giving them your first vote will send a powerful message if you’re so inclined.

ungrouped ex-Democrats

They might, just might, ride a wave of nostalgia and regret into something solid, but it’ll have to be one hell of a campaign.


Without a lot of confidence, because this will be a tough campaign, I’d guess the next assembly could well look like this:

Labor: 6
Liberal: 5
Green: 3
Mulcahy: 1

That leaves two seats I’ve got no idea as to how they’ll break.

What’s Your opinion?

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29 Responses to
Some predictions for October 18.
bigred 8:06 pm 28 Jul 08

Long shot: Hettinger to dethrone Simon

Granny 7:27 pm 28 Jul 08

No you wouldn’t.

teepee 7:22 pm 28 Jul 08

I can’t guarantee Stanhope was crying, but on a large plasma it was pretty clear that there was a large globdule of liquid matter half-way down cheek in alignment with the eye

teepee 7:20 pm 28 Jul 08

Speaking of TV footage, Stanhope on Win News tonight had a large tear hanging off the side of his face. He didn’t sound upset though. He was saying in a hectoring tone of voice that “the fact we’re consulting about how we will consult in future, just goes to PROVE what a consultative government we are”.

iCanberran 7:08 pm 28 Jul 08

“Vote for me, I’m Giulia with a G”

A quote from the new Liberal TV ad for Giulia Jones.

She says so little in the ad though (something about real experiences) that I am left wondering, is her statement above a memory device to make voters remember her or a reason to vote for her? Vote for me, my name is spelt with a G… not the worst reason I suppose.

And with her excellent insight about the problems with the GDE: “The Gungahlin Drive Extension is embarrassingly narrow, it’s like we don’t matter.” I’d vote for her.

jimbocool 5:15 pm 28 Jul 08

fhakk – Jim Murphy and Richard Mulcahy wouldn’t Carney on each other if they were on fire – they hate each other big time. So there won’t be any of Jim’s money going to him.
iCanberran, I can’t see Mulcahy getting more than a couple of thousand votes, even if he got 5,000 he still wouldn’t get a seat, let alone two, as he won’t be getting preferences from anywhere. He’s a capital-C conservative, he may get some capital-C libs to go with him (and their votes will go back to the libs once he’s eliminated), but that’s about it. Without the liberal brand he’s as electorally appealing as cholera.

fhakk 4:44 pm 28 Jul 08

Labor – 7 seats
Liberals – 6 seats
Mulcahy – 1 seat
Greens 2 seats
One up in the air (the fifth seat in Brindabella)

Labor – the existing MLA’s will remain, but will fail to make ground. Stanhope’s popularity will bode well for Mary Porter but won’t be enough for a third Labor seat in Ginninderra. Barr could be in trouble in Molonglo, with David Mathews and Mike Hettinger both nipping at his heels. Brindabella will be tough, especially with the gas fired power plant.

Liberals will maintain the status quo, but nothing much better than that. I reckon the infighting will cancel out most of gains made by the ALP’s unpopularity.

Mulcahy will battle it out with Pangello for the final seat in Molonglo, but will probably get over the line, thanks to Jim Murphy and his wine cellar full of money.

Greens will almost definitely get a seat in Molonglo and probably seize the 5th seat in Ginninderra. CAP will have to cooperate with the Greens in order to have any impact on the polls in both Ginninderra and Brindabella. The same goes for the other minor parties in the ring.

I agree with Jimbocool about Brindabella – it’s going to be interesting for a number of reasons.
1. No major independents are campaigning there (Paul Osborne the last one down south)
2. Gas fired power plant fiasco
3. Leader of the opposition’s in Molonglo (usually gets a boost in votes)

I reckon that fifth seat is way too close to call, but Labor might scrape in if the Greens fall short and give them their preferences.

BTW Johnboy – are we going to have a prize for who accurately calls this election?

iCanberran 4:44 pm 28 Jul 08

3 Greens? Oh I’ve seen the Greens candidates and no, no chance. One, maybe two.
Don’t get me wrong, I like the Greens, at a Federal level. I hope they really do become a 3rd force in coming years, like the Democrats should have. Locally though, they’re gutless and ineffectual. They can’t even be bother to put more than a couple of lines about each candidate on their site, not even a picture. Lazy.

Labor: 6
Liberal: 5
Green: 2
Mulcahy: 2

I think if Mulcahy can stir up some Canberra patriotism and stir up a nice mix of ex Lib and Demo supporters, run a campaign pushing “Balance” he could get two. Greens I think will struggle for 2.

jakez 4:20 pm 28 Jul 08

VicePope said :

The LDP and the CAP look like dreamers and/or whining mendicants.

You may say I’m a dreamer.
Well I’m not the only one.
I hope some day you will join us
And the world will live us one.

…no I’m not a member of the LDP.

VicePope 12:37 pm 28 Jul 08

I would be happy to see an asssembly of people who (a) were pragmatic rather than idealogical, (b) promised sane and achievable things and (c) looked to have some chance of achieving them. On that count, most of the current mob (Labor and Lib) should be gone. (Think of it this way – if they all dropped current party allegiances and joined a group of folk with a similar grasp of what they were doing, the time-serving dills party would romp it in, leaving the probably competent tying with maybe ok with training and support behind at a few seats each).

The best hope may be with voting for the non-incumbent candidates of the major parties to supplement the few who probably deserve re-election. (That list, charitably, would be Stanhope, Barr and maybe Gallagher from Labor, Seselja from the Libs and maybe Mulcahy from the embittered former Libs). Greens and Democrats may be worth a look. The LDP and the CAP look like dreamers and/or whining mendicants.

My guess would be Labor 8 (3 in Molonglo and Brindabella, 2 in Ginnindera) Libs 6 (2 in each or maybe 3 in Molonglo and 1 in Brindabella) and others 3. A guess would be 2 Greens and Mulcahy, Pangallo or similar.

jimbocool 11:39 am 28 Jul 08

For my 2c I think one of JB’s central arguments, that “local Labor was boosted by Canberra’s anti-Howard backlash” in 2004 is not right. Labor was boosted in 2004 by the bushfires and the Captain Underpants effect for Jon Stanhope. Stanhope’s personal vote in 2004 was ridiculously high at 21,929 first preference votes – a whopping 37% or 2.2 quotas. That got labor the third seat in Ginninderra and thus majority government.

Given that he’s not as popular these days, his vote should come down to around 25%, enough to secure 2 quotas and, since the Libs have just enough rusted on votes to get 2 quotas, there will be interesting fight for the fifth seat between the greens and labor. It’ll be tight but I think the preference flows will see the seat go to labor on about the 30th count. It won’t go to the libs because there are no preference flows to them.

Molonglo will see three libs, three labor and one green (probably Rattenbury). By rights labor should have gotten 4 seats last time as they got 3.6 quotas on first preferences, but because the vote between barr and hettinger was so even at 3200 and 3400 first preferences, instead of say 5,000 and 1,000, saw them both get eliminated before Zed Seselja (not that there was a lot in it, a couple of hundred votes at the most) with the irony being that Seselja got elected on hettinger’s preferences!

Helen Cross, Frank Pangallo and Richard Mulcahy will not come close to winning a seat as they will not get any preference flows. Mulcahy may well get a few thousand first preferences off the back of a big spending campaign, but there will be no preferences to get him over the line.

Brindabella is more interesting. For the last two elections thanks to the drawing power of RA’s favourite, John Hargreaves, labor have gotten three seats. Last election though the libs were only about a couple of thousand off the pace so ths swing required for three libs is not great. Given the macarthur power station fiasco I think they’ve made up the ground and can win three seats. Brindabella is the weakest electorate for the greens so even if a there’s a power station swing to them it won’t be enough to get them a seat – ironically though their preferences may save labor.

Silly parties like CAP, FRC, LDP, Motorists etc will not trouble the scorer. If it’s tight in Ginninderra and Brindabella they may have a part ot play in where their preferences go.

So my prediction is 8 for the Libs (3B,3M,2G), 8 for Labor (2B,3M,3G) and one for the greens (1M). I’ll hedge because the fifth seats in Brindabella and Molonglo are so tight and the preference flows will favour labor and say that the alternative is Libs 7 (2,3,2), Labor 9 (3,3,3) and Greens 1. Either way it’ll be a Labor government as the greens will NEVER support a liberal government.

S4anta 11:32 am 28 Jul 08

My major problem with this election is two fold. On on hand is the fact that we have a very politically educated populus in the ACT, and on the other hand there is no real alternative Government anyhwere, in any form, in the LA.

At the end of the day I think we will see a bunch of people voting for the same old, same old due to the fact that all can see the two points mentioned above and after spending a majority of their professional lives dealing with Govt and pollies they will be very hesitant to risk an untried and untested party or group in these globally uncertain times, econonically, socially and politically.

sepi 10:37 am 28 Jul 08

It is a pity the Greens are so erratic. Every time I start getting really sympathetic to their cause, they do something illogical.

Latest being Deb Foskey’s antagonism to the Free Action Bus proposal. Surely that should attract Green support, as being an ideal way to get more people onto busses.

But no – Deb wants to get the well-off onto busses, not just those who find 6.00 a day a bit much.

They have good ideas, and are often on the money, and are a good countercheck to the development mania, but at times they display a lack of common sense.

Thumper 9:44 am 28 Jul 08

I can see a backlash against Stanhope but that will not amount to votes for the Libs, rather for independents.

As such, I would think that Stanhope will be returned in a minority government.

peterh 9:33 am 28 Jul 08

funny thing is, whilst John Howard was in power, we had jon stanhope locally. John Howard is gone, so shouldn’t the balance swing to liberal now?

I am waiting for the “watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat” maneuver – there has to be something that labor will do to get across the line.

please, please, please Jon, build me a dragway. I won’t vote for you, but at least I will have it.

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