While it’s been confirmed ACT Labor have won the 2020 ACT election, assuming they again form government with the ACT Greens, the tenth ACT Legislative Assembly will look different on the back of a strong swing away from the Canberra Liberals to the ACT Greens’ benefit.
As it sits this afternoon, 10 seats are likely to go to ACT Labor, eight to the Canberra Liberals and five to the ACT Greens, with single seats in Ginninderra and Brindabella yet to be called.
This result would dramatically reshuffle the Legislative Assembly, giving it a strong tinge of green, with the ninth assembly having housed 12 Labor MLAs, 11 Liberals and two Greens.
However, with a few of these seats in the balance, it’s important to remember the ACT’s Hare-Clark voting system means preference flows can alter the result, and the full effect of that won’t be fully known for some time yet.
In addition to that, as of 3pm today, 248,501 or 82.1% of the total votes/enrolment had been counted. Traditionally, the remaining pre-poll paper ballots and postal votes trend conservative, which could affect the results.
The deadline for postal votes to be received by Elections ACT is 5pm this Friday 23 October. As such, any final count of remaining ballot papers cannot be finalised until after this point.
A formal declaration of results is therefore not expected until mid-week in the week commencing Monday 26 October at the earliest.
How Canberra voted
ACT Labor will emerge from the 2020 election largely unscathed, appearing to only lose Deepak Raj Gupta’s Yerrabi seat to the ACT Greens. Labor received a total of 92,235 votes ACT-wide or 38.2% of the total vote, which is a 0.3% swing away from their 2016 result. They received:
- 16,703 or 34.4% of the vote in Yerrabi – 2.1 quotas;
- 17,090 votes or 38.1% in Chief Minister Barr’s electorate of Kurrajong – 2.3 quotas;
- 17,782 votes or 36.4% in Murrumbidgee – 2.2 quotas;
- 20,509 votes or 40.2% in Ginninderra – 2.4 quotas;
- 21,109 votes or 40.9% in Brindabella – 2.5 quotas.
Things didn’t pan out the way the Canberra Liberals would have hoped on Saturday. At this stage they look like dropping three seats having received a total of 80,747 votes ACT-wide or 33.4%, a negative 3.3% swing on their 2016 result. The Canberra Liberals received:
- 19,626 votes or 40.2% of the vote in Coe’s electorate of Yerrabi – 2.4 quotas;
- 12,133 votes or 27% in Kurrajong – 1.6 quotas,
- 17,206 votes or 35.3% in Murrumbidgee – 2.1 quotas;
- 13,447 votes or 26.4% in Ginninderra – 1.6 quotas;
- 19,743 votes or 38.3% in Brindabella – 2.3 quotas.
Looking like the big winners of this election, the ACT Greens will pick up at least three seats having polled 33,037 votes ACT-wide or 13.7%, which is a 3.4% swing on their 2016 result. The ACT Greens received:
- 4,950 votes or 10.2% of the vote in Yerrabi – 0.6 quotas;
- 10,571 votes or 23.6% in Kurrajong – 1.4 quotas;
- 5,748 votes or 11.8% in Murrumbidgee – 0.7 quotas;
- 6,412 votes or 12.6% in Ginninderra – 0.8 quotas;
- 5,576 votes or 10.8% in Brindabella – 0.7 quotas;
Overall, there was a sizeable 8.3% swing away from ungrouped or independent candidates compared to 2016, with a number of independents who polled strongly last time like David Pollard in Yerrabi forming their own party, and others joining an existing one, or opting not to have another tilt.
The only electorate where an independent polled strongly was Murrumbidgee, where independent candidate Fiona Carrick was the fourth most popular on first preference votes – receiving 3,478 votes or 0.4 of a seat quota.
However, the former Woden Valley Community Council president appears unlikely to pick up a seat due to the flow of preferences.
2020 ACT Election by electorate
Despite pundits predicting he could be the first leader in the history of ACT self government to not receive enough votes for a quota, Canberra Liberals leader Alistair Coe has ended up with exactly one quota, 7,553 votes or 15.9% of the votes in his Gungahlin electorate of Yerrabi.
Overall, the Canberra Liberals received a strong 4.6% swing their way in this electorate at the 2020 ACT election on the back of Coe being a local and the fact 2016’s election was fought on the back of the locally popular Light Rail stage one.
Despite that, they were unable to wrangle any additional seats, with the only change to their line-up here being former MLA James Milligan being replaced by fellow Liberal Leanne Castley.
Gungahlin voters appear to have a short memory with Labor’s Light Rail now up and running – the incumbent party copped a 9.5% swing against them, which will cost ACT Labor’s Deepak Raj Gupta his seat, likely losing out to the ACT Greens’ Andrew Braddock.
Ginninderra’s most popular candidate was Yvette Berry, with 7,928 votes or 15.7% of her electorate’s vote, however there was a 1.1% swing away from Labor out west which could cost Gordon Ramsay his seat.
In Ginninderra, retiring Canberra Liberals MLA Vicki Dunne’s seat appears set to be snapped up by the Greens’ Jo Clay, with Gordon Ramsay facing the possibility of losing his spot in the Assembly to Liberal Peter Cain.
Clay picked up her seat on the back of a 2.9% swing to the Greens.
However, the minor pain experienced by Labor pales in comparison to the 5.6% swing against the Canberra Liberals, with a significant portion of their votes going to the right-leaning Belco Party.
Former Canberra Liberals leader Bill Stefaniak’s Belco Party were able to poll 4,714 total votes, or 9.4% of Ginninderra’s total vote.
That’s equals 0.6 of the quota required for a seat and is no mean feat when you consider they were just 1,600 votes off the ACT Greens in that electorate.
But what seems to have hurt the Belco Party and stopped them from picking up a seat is both Stefaniak and his running mate Chic Henry cancelling each other out by polling 1,955 and 1,395 votes respectively, and a lack of preferences flowing their way.
As would be expected of a reasonably popular incumbent Chief Minister, Andrew Barr received the highest vote across the Territory, polling 9,767 votes or 22.1% of the vote in his Kurrajong electorate – a 1.3 quota.
The ACT’s most left-leaning electorate – affectionately known as Canberra’s ‘lentil belt’ – will have two Greens representatives, with former Canberra Liberals MLA Candice Burch looking likely to drop her seat to ACT Greens candidate Rebecca Vassarotti.
This comes on the back of a 4.8% swing to the ACT Greens in the electorate described by their leader Shane Rattenbury as “green heartland”.
Murrumbidgee’s most popular candidate is the Liberals’ Jeremy Hanson, who received 7,121 votes or 14.7% of the vote; however, the Canberra Liberals copped a 7.6% swing against them in this Woden-based electorate.
This change in vote can be attributed to Hanson not leading the Liberals into the election this time, and the fact voters might have felt a bit more loved by the Labor-Greens government given their pledge to revitalise their tired town centre by running light rail into Woden and building a new CIT campus.
In Murrumbidgee, the balance of seats will remain the same between the parties, but ACT Labor’s Bec Cody will be usurped by party running mate Marisa Paterson, while retiring Greens MLA Caroline Le Couteur will be replaced by Emma Davidson.
The home of ACT Commonwealth Senator Zed Seselja, Brindabella has long been considered a conservative stronghold, especially on the back of it delivering the Canberra Liberals three seats in 2016.
At the 2020 ACT election, however, Labor has enjoyed a 7.3% swing toward them, with the Canberra Liberals dropping off 3.6% which will end up costing them a seat.
“I think we’ve busted the mythology that Tuggeranong and southern Canberra is somehow a Liberal party stronghold,” said ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr on Sunday.
Each electorate barring one had an overwhelmingly popular candidate, and it was down south in Brindabella where the votes landed evenly between four candidates: ACT Labor MLA Joy Burch topping out with exactly 6,000 votes, with Labor’s Mick Gentleman, and Canberra Liberals incumbents Nicole Lawder and Mark Parton all within 700 votes of one another.
The fifth seat, previously held by Canberra Liberals’ Andrew Wall, will be taken by either ACT Labor’s Taimus Werner-Gibbings or ACT Greens’ Johnathan Davis, whose party picked up a 5.7% swing in the south.