ACT Election: Molonglo

Taking in the central part of Canberra, Molonglo returns seven rather than five members and has a lower quota of 12.5 rather than 16.67 per cent. Voters in the electorate have backed the Liberals and the Greens in slightly higher numbers than elsewhere at each of the three elections under the current system. Labor enters the race with its three elected members from last time present and correct – Deputy Chief Minister Ted Quinlan, Health and Planning Minister Simon Corbell and Education Minister Katy Gallagher. For the Liberals the story is unhappily more complicated. Their only competing incumbent is Jacqui Burke, who initially failed to retain her seat at the 2001 election, losing out to Liberal newcomer Helen Cross. Burke recovered her seat by filling the vacancy created by defeated Chief Minister Gary Humphries’ move to his current position in the Senate when Margaret Reid retired in 2002. Cross has since quit the Liberal Party and now sits as an independent; the other Liberal, Greg Cornwell, is retiring. Should Cross retain her seat she will presumably do so at the expense of the cast of unfamiliar Liberal candidates. The Greens too are fielding three little-known candidates with their member Kerrie Tucker retiring, having just failed in her bid to win Gary Humphries’ Senate seat. Even so, Senator Bob Brown has fantasised out loud about winning a second seat here, and it must be conceded that this is at least technically possible if they can pick up a reasonable surplus from Labor. But the Poll Bludger thinks he has caught the whiff of a landslide at this election, and not just because of yesterday’s poll in the Canberra Times. He accordingly predicts that Labor will win four seats in Molonglo, confining the Greens to one and the Liberals to two. The identity of the newcomers is anyone’s guess.

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.