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Where, and how, the ACT election was won

By Charlotte Harper 16 October 2016 28

Michael Pettersson

There will be plenty of analysis in coming days about why Canberrans voted the way they did. This is our early assessment of some of the key issues that were in play.

Depth per seat and local focus of candidates

In Ginninderra, Labor had two sitting MLAs in possible future deputy leader Yvette Berry and fellow cabinet member Chris Bourke. It had one high profile and popular candidate with deep roots in the electorate in Kippax Uniting Church minister Gordon Ramsay (pictured immediately below with his wife), another in local issues blogger, Belconnen Community Council chair Belconnen Arts Centre board member Tara Cheyne (next photo below Mr Ramsay) and another in former Labor staffer and RiotACT columnist Kim Fischer.

Gordon Ramsay
Having such strong candidates makes it hard to pick even now who will actually win one of the five slots in the electorate, but one thing is for sure, under Hare-Clarke, such a line-up is a winner overall.

Tara Cheyne

Meanwhile, in Yerrabi, a 25-year-old wunderkind from Crace named Michael Pettersson (and a loyal band of supporters) built up such name recognition and community support that he is on track to become the surprise success story of the election. He’s pictured at top.

The fact that one of his key Liberals opponents lives in Red Hill and another held his campaign launch in a Manuka cafe is just as much in play in this seat as the fact that light rail is of course popular here.

Social media management

The Liberals totally blew it on this one. Social media works best when it’s authentic because accounts are run by candidates. Take a look at Andrew Barr’s Facebook and Twitter accounts and you’ll see immediately that he is hands on and reactive.

The Liberals’ social media was, we understand, handled centrally.

Dozens of Canberrans were so angry at being blocked or having their comments on Liberals Facebook pages deleted they even set up a Facebook group to share their frustrations:

“Canberra Liberals: stop suppressing comments & start responding to questions on Facebook!”

Yes, the co-founders were Greens supporters, but the fact remains, blocking and deleting posts makes people angry and gives them more rather than less ammunition.

Unless comments breach guidelines such as those on discrimination and vilification in the RiotACT’s moderation policies, it is better to either engage and make your case, leave the commenter’s remark so that others can assess it on its merits, or post a note saying something like “We’ll have to agree to disagree on this one, but thanks for your input.”

Vision for the future

From light rail to Test cricket, to international engagement and 100 per cent renewable energy targets, Labor has developed and successfully sold a vision for the future of the city.

The Liberals focused on issues that affect Canberrans individually such as rates and the cost of light rail, but this is a city filled with progressives who actually want to pay taxes to ensure a better life for everyone. For the most part, they’re actually happy to wear the rate rises as part of a tax reform package, and to pay for light rail even if they won’t use it as much as their friends across town.

The two key visions within the Liberals’ campaign were to improve the health system and bus network, but Labor swiftly countered with commitments that either matched or improved on those of their conservative opponents.

People power

There was simply no comparison between the major parties when it came to people on the ground. With the exception of Elizabeth Lee, the Liberals lacked the hordes of willing helpers that Labor builds its success upon. If the attendance at their launch event was an indication of their active membership, it was a much smaller and older group than that of Labor. Take a look at our Facebook live video coverage of the election night parties and you’ll see what I mean.

You’ll also note the evangelical behaviour of said supporters in contrast with the more reserved Liberals. It’s infectious, that level of political belief, and each and every one of those supporters is lobbying their friends and contacts via social media and in person constantly.

A huge benefit for all of this for Labor is that when it comes time to select candidates, they have a pool of potentials who are embedded in their communities from which to draw.

Media management

Every single day of the campaign, Labor had something positive to announce for the city, in another part of the city, to the point where it became impossible for the media to keep up. It meant Mr Barr, Ms Fitzharris or Ms Berry in particular were on commercial and ABC television with something to sell every night.

I have never in all my 35 years living in the capital travelled so widely within it as I have during the campaign. Did Labor hold an event or announcements in every suburb? It sure felt like it at times, and this was a strategy that gave it a territory-wide presence.

They kept the media so busy covering election pledges that journalists had little time left for analysis of, for example, the Auditor-General’s report into the Land Development Agency or indeed whether the latest announcement was something new or just a re-announcement of something already factored into the forward estimates.

They had a very structured campaign plan from start to finish, with specific policy focus rotating weekly.

All of this was made possible for them because with 15 years in government, they have access to resources, information and venues the Opposition can only dream of.

Pictured are Michael Pettersson at home in Crace, Gordon Ramsay and his wife, and Tara Cheyne. Photos: Charlotte Harper

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Where, and how, the ACT election was won
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chewy14 6:51 pm 18 Oct 16

JC said :

chewy14 said :

JC said :

gooterz said :

Labor key seats are the north so thats where they spend thwir money a Liberal government isn’t going to spend money in the north with so little amount of spending could flip the south.

Canberra voters are cheap and dumb. If we are spending all this money on a tram why wasn’t it done 20 years ago?

Belconnen kind of debunks your theory. It had the 2nd highest Labor vote on Saturday yet like Tuggeranong not seeing masses of money being spent on it. What is is Gungahlin and it is getting money spent because it is the growth area of town. Just like how in the 80’s and early 90’s Tuggeranong had heaps of money spent on it too. Did you hear the Belconnenites or Weston Creekites complaining?

Oh and Molongolo is now getting money spent on it. And Molongolo (what has been built thus far) is “south side” unless I am mistaken.

No older area ever got the type of infrastructure that is being built and planned for Gungahlin and the Inner North (which is also an existing area like Tuggeranong).

Belconnen is traditionally a Labor stronghold and remains so. If the Libs were any chance in this election they needed the fifth seat in Gungahlin and the Tram neutralised that possibility perfectly (for Labor).

So light rail is the only difference then? In which case do you want the higher density housing down in Tuggeranong that comes with it? That is a key difference of course.

No it isn’t the only difference, for example the lovely wetlands that the inner north got over recent years but the ones planned for Tuggeranong got canned despite Lake Tuggeranong water quality being an ongoing major issue. Lucky they got those inner north ones installed early enough isn’t it?

And you must have me confused with someone else because I am 100% in support of the government’s plan for urban intensification along major transport routes. I welcome that being rolled out city wide because it’s the only way that wide scale public transport will be economically feasible in Canberra.

My issue is the inconsistent delivery of that infrastructure and how it’s paid for with massive cross subsidies being common.

Mysteryman 2:18 pm 18 Oct 16

bj_ACT said :

I have bemoaned on Riotact how Unemployment in areas of Tuggeranong has gone up, NAPLAN School performances in Tuggeranong have gone way down and Places like Kambah and Wanniassa have been listed as the most mortgage stressed in the entire country.

But with these issues at the forefront of my mind and a feeling that ACT Labor had done nothing to address these problems. Why didn’t I actually vote Liberal?

I guess a feeling that the Libs wouldn’t actually address the issues for the strugglers in Tuggeranong or that the Liberals would be too Conservative in their policies.

The real take out from this post should be…… If I’m an example of a dissatisfied voter within the ACT. I guess the Liberal party,Greens or Independents will have to start looking at a way to actually get a vote like mine over the line on Election Day? I was there for the taking but no one actually had the policy or vision to make it happen.

I don’t mean to sound antagonistic, but the real take out is that voters like you get what they deserve. If you’re silly enough to continue to vote in a way that keeps the incumbents in power, then you deserve to keep being neglected. You voted to keep the party that you *know* doesn’t care about Tuggeranong, instead of the one who promised to do something about it. And your justification is “well, *maybe* they wouldn’t make good on the promise”. Had you (voters in general) taken the chance, things in Tuggeranong could only have improved, because they couldn’t have gotten worse. Instead, you’re in for another 4 years of rates rises, and seeing none of that revenue being invested into Tuggeranong.

The cynic in me thinks you don’t like what ACT Labor is doing, but you keep voting Labor because you’ve always done so. I hope that isn’t the case. More voters need to be selfish with their vote, rather than blindly following party loyalty. We don’t owe the parties anything. They owe us.

bj_ACT 1:57 pm 18 Oct 16

JC said :

chewy14 said :

JC said :

gooterz said :

Labor key seats are the north so thats where they spend thwir money a Liberal government isn’t going to spend money in the north with so little amount of spending could flip the south.

Canberra voters are cheap and dumb. If we are spending all this money on a tram why wasn’t it done 20 years ago?

Belconnen kind of debunks your theory. It had the 2nd highest Labor vote on Saturday yet like Tuggeranong not seeing masses of money being spent on it. What is is Gungahlin and it is getting money spent because it is the growth area of town. Just like how in the 80’s and early 90’s Tuggeranong had heaps of money spent on it too. Did you hear the Belconnenites or Weston Creekites complaining?

Oh and Molongolo is now getting money spent on it. And Molongolo (what has been built thus far) is “south side” unless I am mistaken.

No older area ever got the type of infrastructure that is being built and planned for Gungahlin and the Inner North (which is also an existing area like Tuggeranong).

Belconnen is traditionally a Labor stronghold and remains so. If the Libs were any chance in this election they needed the fifth seat in Gungahlin and the Tram neutralised that possibility perfectly (for Labor).

So light rail is the only difference then? In which case do you want the higher density housing down in Tuggeranong that comes with it? That is a key difference of course.

JC You keep going on about Tuggeranong getting all the Infrastructure spending of Belconnen and Other parts of Canberra back in the 80s and 90s. Once again you are making a false claim and continuing to repeat it. Actually you obviously have something against Tuggeranong as you fire off pot shots at the area ad-nauseum.

Here’s just a few examples of why Tuggeranong despite being a quarter of taxperayers since self government, didn’t get it better than everyone else in the past.

ROADS – Tuggeranong only had Drakeford drive built as a multi lane main road. Ashley Drive, Sulwood Drive, Athlonn Drive, Johnson Dr, Issabella Dr, Tharwa Dr and Erindale Dr are ‘single lane’ main roads and they take huge amounts of Tuggers 85,000 residents cars. Compare Tuggers single lane main roads to Belconnen where similar roads Coulter, Southern Cross, Kingsford Smith, Ginninderra, Hayden, Caswell etc are all multi lane (many of these take less traffic per day than Ashley & Sulwood etc). Self Government stopped all the planned duplication of these roads in the 90s saying they couldn’t afford it. They seemed to be able to afford expenditure in other areas.

SCHOOLS – Tuggers had massive school closures and you should check out ‘Your School’ site to see how backwards the areas Education results have dropped. A number of Education institution promises from when Tuggers was built, were never realised.

LAKE & PARKS – How do you compare the Tuggeranong Lake and Parklands against similar facilities across Canberra?

PUBLIC INSTITUTIONS – What happened to Tuggeranong’s Public Institutions. I guess you need things like The Art Gallery, Library, Science Centre & National Musuem near the lake and city centre. But Belco rightly got the Institute of Sport, Bruce Stadium, UC, Calvary Hospital, etc Tuggers got nothing of the sort.

You can think Tuggers residents are dumb for not voting for ACT Labor as much as your area did, but even Labor ministers have mentioned how the party focuses on winning in the North as the key to maintain government.

JC 1:13 pm 18 Oct 16

chewy14 said :

JC said :

gooterz said :

Labor key seats are the north so thats where they spend thwir money a Liberal government isn’t going to spend money in the north with so little amount of spending could flip the south.

Canberra voters are cheap and dumb. If we are spending all this money on a tram why wasn’t it done 20 years ago?

Belconnen kind of debunks your theory. It had the 2nd highest Labor vote on Saturday yet like Tuggeranong not seeing masses of money being spent on it. What is is Gungahlin and it is getting money spent because it is the growth area of town. Just like how in the 80’s and early 90’s Tuggeranong had heaps of money spent on it too. Did you hear the Belconnenites or Weston Creekites complaining?

Oh and Molongolo is now getting money spent on it. And Molongolo (what has been built thus far) is “south side” unless I am mistaken.

No older area ever got the type of infrastructure that is being built and planned for Gungahlin and the Inner North (which is also an existing area like Tuggeranong).

Belconnen is traditionally a Labor stronghold and remains so. If the Libs were any chance in this election they needed the fifth seat in Gungahlin and the Tram neutralised that possibility perfectly (for Labor).

So light rail is the only difference then? In which case do you want the higher density housing down in Tuggeranong that comes with it? That is a key difference of course.

chewy14 7:24 am 18 Oct 16

JC said :

gooterz said :

Labor key seats are the north so thats where they spend thwir money a Liberal government isn’t going to spend money in the north with so little amount of spending could flip the south.

Canberra voters are cheap and dumb. If we are spending all this money on a tram why wasn’t it done 20 years ago?

Belconnen kind of debunks your theory. It had the 2nd highest Labor vote on Saturday yet like Tuggeranong not seeing masses of money being spent on it. What is is Gungahlin and it is getting money spent because it is the growth area of town. Just like how in the 80’s and early 90’s Tuggeranong had heaps of money spent on it too. Did you hear the Belconnenites or Weston Creekites complaining?

Oh and Molongolo is now getting money spent on it. And Molongolo (what has been built thus far) is “south side” unless I am mistaken.

No older area ever got the type of infrastructure that is being built and planned for Gungahlin and the Inner North (which is also an existing area like Tuggeranong).

Belconnen is traditionally a Labor stronghold and remains so. If the Libs were any chance in this election they needed the fifth seat in Gungahlin and the Tram neutralised that possibility perfectly (for Labor).

Kent Street 6:57 am 18 Oct 16

Disclaimer: I was never going to vote for infrastructure that I will pay for until I die but will never see anywhere near where I live. Rip in, I can take it.

Personal Opinion: Regardless of policies, the Liberals were left in the dust when it came to running a campaign. I caught the end of an interview on 666 yesterday (not sure who it was) where it was stated that they invested heavily in a ‘broadcast campaign’. I’m assuming that this refers to letterbox drops and recorded cold-calls.
Both of these are wasted on me.
Labor doorknockers, however, twice visited our home and they seemed to have a presence everywhere. They were friendly and reserved. They looked like a team and won like a team.

JC 5:35 pm 17 Oct 16

gooterz said :

Labor key seats are the north so thats where they spend thwir money a Liberal government isn’t going to spend money in the north with so little amount of spending could flip the south.

Canberra voters are cheap and dumb. If we are spending all this money on a tram why wasn’t it done 20 years ago?

Belconnen kind of debunks your theory. It had the 2nd highest Labor vote on Saturday yet like Tuggeranong not seeing masses of money being spent on it. What is is Gungahlin and it is getting money spent because it is the growth area of town. Just like how in the 80’s and early 90’s Tuggeranong had heaps of money spent on it too. Did you hear the Belconnenites or Weston Creekites complaining?

Oh and Molongolo is now getting money spent on it. And Molongolo (what has been built thus far) is “south side” unless I am mistaken.

gooterz 2:48 pm 17 Oct 16

bj_ACT said :

I have bemoaned on Riotact how Unemployment in areas of Tuggeranong has gone up, NAPLAN School performances in Tuggeranong have gone way down and Places like Kambah and Wanniassa have been listed as the most mortgage stressed in the entire country.

But with these issues at the forefront of my mind and a feeling that ACT Labor had done nothing to address these problems. Why didn’t I actually vote Liberal?

I guess a feeling that the Libs wouldn’t actually address the issues for the strugglers in Tuggeranong or that the Liberals would be too Conservative in their policies.

The real take out from this post should be…… If I’m an example of a dissatisfied voter within the ACT. I guess the Liberal party,Greens or Independents will have to start looking at a way to actually get a vote like mine over the line on Election Day? I was there for the taking but no one actually had the policy or vision to make it happen.

Labor key seats are the north so thats where they spend thwir money a Liberal government isn’t going to spend money in the north with so little amount of spending could flip the south.

Canberra voters are cheap and dumb. If we are spending all this money on a tram why wasn’t it done 20 years ago?

Also we have a mandated at all costs light rail to woden over land and sea. If it costs $5 billion they still have to do it no questions asked.

There is no justification of any labor voter complaining about rates or taxes now.

Its time to start a party now that isn’t labor or libs

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