Tonight, hundreds of Canberrans in red shirts chanted, “Build the tram! Build the tram! Build the tram!” in between choruses of “Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!” as Chief Minister Andrew Barr claimed victory in the 2016 ACT Legislative Assembly election.
See Mr Barr’s speech here:
Labor and Greens supporters have for months referred exclusively to the public transport project that formed one of the key issues in the ACT election campaign as light rail, while its detractors used the word tram.
Clearly, that distinction was no longer deemed necessary.
Stages one and two of the light rail network, between Gungahlin and Woden, will be built.
The results became evident much earlier in the night (or week even) than anyone had expected, with the ABC’s Antony Green calling it for Labor shortly before 8.30pm. The result included a swing as had been predicted, but away from the Liberals, as had not.
With 78.1 per cent of the vote counted early this morning, there was a projected 3.3 per cent swing against the Liberals. Most of that swing was expected to go to minor parties and independents, with a 0.2 per cent swing towards Labor and 0.1 per cent away from the Greens.
Canberra Liberals leader Jeremy Hanson conceded last night that it would be difficult for his party to form government, and congratulated Chief Minister Andrew Barr on retaining office. He addressed party faithful at the Canberra Southern Cross Club.
See Mr Hanson’s speech here:
ACT Greens Leader Shane Rattenbury, who was at the pokies-free Polish Club in Turner with his fellow Greens candidates and supporters, spoke with Mr Barr during the evening to give his commitment that the Greens would once again work with Labor to form a progressive government.
See Mr Rattenbury’s speech to Greens supporters here:
Winners and losers
Returned sitting MLAs include Mr Rattenbury; Mr Barr and his Labor colleagues Joy Burch, Mick Gentleman, Yvette Berry and Meegan Fitzharris; and Mr Hanson and his Liberals colleagues Steve Doszpot, Giulia Jones, Vicki Dunne and Alistair Coe.
At risk of losing their seats are incumbents Chris Bourke, Jayson Hinder and Nicole Lawder (though on Sunday morning ABC elections expert Antony Green indicated he expected Ms Lawder to be elected ahead of Steven Bailey of the Sex Party).
Candidates who would be new to the Assembly and are likely to be elected based on the latest count are Elizabeth Lee, Mark Parton, James Milligan and Paul Sweeney for the Liberals; Caroline Le Couteur for the Greens; and Rachel Stephen-Smith, Bec Cody, Chris Steel, Tara Cheyne, Gordon Ramsay, Suzanne Orr and Michael Pettersson for Labor.
In that other election contest being decided tonight, the RiotACT candidate bake-off, Labor’s Jennifer Newman picked up the editor’s choice award for her chocolate balloons cake, and Like Canberra’s Maryann Mussared won the readers’ choice gong.
Pictured are Chief Minister Andrew Barr with his family (photo: Chester Ward); the Canberra Liberals’ function (photo: Josh Mulrine); and Shane Rattenbury and supporters (photo: Charlotte Harper).