15 October 2004

ACT goes Family Last

ACT election mirrors federal campaign:
MATT BROWN: Canberra is having its election now because the ACT has fixed three-year terms and Jon Stanhope says the national election has largely drowned out the local campaign.

JON STANHOPE: It's been very hard to get the message out, to communicate, to grab the space in both newspapers and the electronic media.

MATT BROWN: That may have made it difficult for the Opposition to make the case for change and in response the Liberal Party has bought itself an advertising blitz in the last week.

BRENDAN SMITH: And let's face it, there's voter fatigue out there. We've had six weeks of the federal and now we've got one week of the ACT free and clear, so yes we concentrated it in the last week and we've concentrated on a couple of key issues.

MATT BROWN: In the dying stages of the campaign, Liberal leader Brendan Smith has been denying Government claims that his election promises have a $400 million hole in them.

BRENDAN SMITH: The figures stand, I can deliver them.

MATT BROWN: The ACT voting system uses proportional representation to elect seventeen members of the legislative assembly from three separate electorates, and Jon Stanhope says that can throw up some anomalies.

JON STANHOPE: Because of the vagaries of the Hare-Clarke system you can actually win an election by more than 10 per cent of the primary vote and still not get an extra seat and that's a real possibility for us. It's one that I think would be something of a travesty.

MATT BROWN: But a poll commissioned by The Canberra Times and published this morning predicts a convincing Labor victory, and in a possible breakthrough, a government that will not rely on support from independents or minor parties.

Brendan Smith is still hoping the voters of Canberra will turn his way but, if not then he is prepared to work with all comers.

The big difference between the ACT legislative assembly and the senate is that the ACT does not allow ticket voting. I had hoped to see how Family First did without the advantage of preferencing deals with the ALP. Sadly, they're not running so the Wallace thesis cannot be tested.

And just for the record...
Canberra's own election: "
First election for the Legislative Assembly held in 1989. Others in 1992, 1995, 1998, 2001. No party has ever had an outright majority.

ELECTORS About 225,000.

CURRENT ASSEMBLY Seventeen members: eight Labor, six Liberal, one Greens, one Democrats, one independent.

VOTING METHOD Proportional representation under Hare-Clark system. Electronic voting - an Australian first - in some booths.

SEATS Three, each returning multiple members: seven from the central one, Molonglo, and five each from Ginnindera in the north and Brindabella in the south.

CANDIDATES Brindabella 21, Ginnindera 23, Molonglo 33.

Ticket voting should be abolished. At minimum the NSW practice of letting above-the-line voters determine their own preferences should be adopted. And the Victorian ALP head office should hang their heads in shame.

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