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Canberra
Thursday, April 15, 2021

‘Glad to be back’: James Milligan inherits Alistair Coe’s seat

James Milligan, former Liberal member for Yerrabi, is returning to the ACT Legislative Assembly, filling the vacancy left by Alistair Coe’s departure. Mr Milligan will be sworn-in when the Assembly sits on Tuesday.

Mr Milligan was elected in 2016, and was given the Shadow portfolios of Indigenous Affairs and Sport & Recreation. He lost his seat in the last election, with 7.2% of first preferences (3,834 votes) in the Yerrabi electorate.

“I’m glad to be back here at the Assembly, and looking forward to what that may bring,” Mr Milligan said. “I am ready to hit the road running, and ready to get back out there, representing the people of Yerrabi and the ACT.”

Mr Milligan’s re-election was announced today, Thursday 25 March. Electoral Commissioner Damian Cantwell AM ran the ballot papers that elected Mr Coe through a computer program that counted the original scrutiny to the point where the former Canberra Liberals leader was elected.

Eleven candidates who had been unsuccessful in October put their names forward to contest the vacancy.

Canberra Liberals leader Elizabeth Lee welcomed Mr Milligan back. “Whilst Alistair Coe’s departure leaves very big shoes to fill, I have no doubt that James with his own flair and humour, and the way he tackles things, is going to be able to live up to that.”

Ms Lee said it was a sad day when Mr Milligan was not returned to the ACT Legislative Assembly in October.

“James has been missed, particularly the enthusiasm and the passion that he brought, particularly to his portfolio areas in the last term – and the connections that he was able to make and the voices that he was able to represent in those areas was significant.

“I’m sure that the residents of Yerrabi will welcome him back with open arms.”

Since October, Mr Milligan has returned to his publishing house and consultancy firm, JM Publishing; spent time with his family, wife Katrina and son Blake, who helped him through the “disappointing” result; and played golf and cricket.

It was, he said, a time both to lick his wounds, and to reflect on the past term: “to assess what worked well and what we could have done better”.

Coming back this term, Mr Milligan believes he will be stronger to hold the Labor/Greens government to account, to work under Ms Lee and Giulia Jones’s leadership, and provide an alternative government in 2024 – “innovative, creative, developing real solutions”.

Having been in power for more than 20 years, Mr Milligan said the ACT Government have “really lost their way”.

“The list of issues is endless, really.”

He cited poor planning and infrastructure, while his Yerrabi electorate lacks sporting facilities and a modern police station.

Mr Milligan said Mr Coe had been a good friend and mentor; he would seek his advice if needed and lure his predecessor onto the links for a round of golf.

James Milligan ACT MLA and Elizabeth Lee
Canberra Liberals leader Elizabeth Lee welcomed James Milligan back, saying it was a “sad day” when he was not returned in last year’s election.

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