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Federal Election 2016

May 25, 2014

Seat of the week: Canberra

The Liberals once won the seat covering the southern half of the national capital at a by-election during the terminal phase of the Keating government, but they wouldn't be holding their breath waiting for it to happen again.

Red and blue numbers respectively indicate two-party majorities for Labor and Liberal. Click for larger image. Map boundaries courtesy of Ben Raue at The Tally Room.

The electorate of Canberra covers the southern half of the national capital together with the bulk of the Australian Capital Territory’s undeveloped remainder, with northern Canberra accommodated by the seat of Fraser. Both seats were created when the territory was first divided into two electorates in 1974. The Australian Capital Territory had been a single electorate since the expansion of parliament in 1949, but its member only obtained full voting rights in 1968. A third electorate of Namadgi was created for the 1996 election, accommodating Tuggeranong and its surrounds in Canberra’s far south, which pushed the Canberra electorate north of Lake Burley Griffin to include the city’s centre and inner north. However, the previous order was reinstated when the seat entitlement slipped back to two at the 1998 election, in large part due to Howard government cutbacks to the federal public service. The two ACT electorates presently have enrolments of around 140,000 voters each, compared with a national average of around 105,000.

The Australian Capital Territory electorate was won by an independent at its first election in 1949, but was held by Labor after 1951. Kep Enderby came to the seat at a 1970 by-election and carried over to Canberra in 1974, succeeding Lionel Murphy as Attorney-General upon his appointment to the High Court in early 1975. Enderby was then dumped by a 10.4% swing to the Liberals at the December 1975 election, and for the next two terms the seat was held for the Liberals by John Haslem. The seat’s natural Labor inclination finally reasserted itself in 1980 with the election of Ros Kelly, who served in the Hawke-Keating ministries from 1987 until she fell victim to the still notorious “sports rorts” affair in 1994. Kelly’s indulgent departure from parliament a year later was followed by a disastrous by-election result for Labor, with Liberal candidate Brendan Smyth gaining the seat off a 16.2% swing.

Smyth unsuccessfully contested the new seat of Namadgi at the 1996 election, and Canberra was easily won for Labor by Bob McMullan, who had served the ACT as a Senator since 1988. The reassertion of the old boundaries in 1998 prompted McMullan to move to Fraser, the Labor margin in the redrawn Canberra being 5.1% lower than the one he had secured on the short-lived boundaries in 1996. Canberra went to Annette Ellis, who had entered parliament as the member for Namadgi in 1996, while Fraser MP Steve Darvagel agreed to go quietly after a brief parliamentary career that began when he succeeded John Langmore at a by-election in February 1997. Ellis added 7.2% to an existing 2.3% margin at the 1998 election, since which time the seat has returned fairly consistent results with Labor margins ranging from a low of 7.0% in 2013 to a high of 11.8% in 2007.

Both Ellis and McMullan announced they would not seek another term six months out from the August 2010 election. Large fields of preselection contestants emerged for the two seats, with the front-runner in Canberra initially thought to be Michael Cooney, chief-of-staff to ACT Education Minister Andrew Barr and a former adviser to opposition leaders Mark Latham and Kim Beazley. However, Cooney shortly withdrew amid suggestions Kevin Rudd was ready to use national executive intervention to block him. The eventual winner was Gai Brodtmann, a former DFAT public servant who had established a local communications consultancy with her husband, senior ABC reporter Chris Uhlmann. Together with Andrew Leigh’s win in Fraser, Brodtmann’s preselection was seen as a rebuff to local factional powerbrokers who had pursued a deal in which the Left was to support Mary Wood, adviser to Housing Minister Tanya Plibersek and member of the Centre Coalition (Right), which the Right was to reciprocate in Fraser by backing Nick Martin, the party’s assistant national secretary and a member of the Left. However, Brodtmann was able to build a cross-factional support base of sufficient breadth to prevail over Wood by 123 votes to 109. Following the 2013 election defeat she was promoted to shadow parliamentary secretary in the defence portfolio.

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Apologies if someone’s already posted Bob Ellis’ attempt to be the stopped clock that proves accurate:


btw, Labor, you succeeded in getting the budget off people’s minds while Pyne & Bronnie providing front pages.


Jason Clare MP ‏@JasonClareMP 8m

Media Release: Turnbull lies to Parliament on NBN #auspol


I think Essential is having identity crises with one of the other pollsters.

Strong UnionsStrongCountry
Strong UnionsStrongCountry

Tom Hawkins
Posted Tuesday, May 27, 2014 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

Essential 52:48 (again)…

Under the Hockeynomics Eleventy Principle 48 is a larger number than 52


Is this thread still alive?


Pyne positing a totured hypothetical.

The Big Ship

Tom Hawkins @ 1917

[Essential 52:48 (again)… Seemingly a stagnant pool of irrelevance.]

There is something seriously amiss with their methodology, in my view. It has to be the online panel they are using – Your Source – and they must have such a small pool of engaged panelists that they are going back to the same people too often. How else to explain the lack of change when all other pollsters are picking up substantial movements.

Time for William to tweak ‘BludgerTrack’ to take into account this ongoing Essential house effect?

The Big Ship

briefly @ 1902

[he WA Libs know how to pick ‘em. Cash, Bishop, Johnston, Jensen, Cormann, Porter…we are up to our necks in reactionary dimwits.]

Dawkins Deliver Me! What a disastrous lineup of duds and drones. I’d rather have a box of dead fish than a raft of imbeciles like that lot as my representatives.


The Ten interview with Chris Graham was well handled, only Ita appeared to be banging the drum for Tony,



Thanks fredex. I was able to get it. The journo from New matilda was very effective in explaining the scholarship scenario in a calm and measured way

Must watch!


Bronny’s first LNP ejection!!!

meher baba

PS: It’s also interesting that Channel Ten of all places chose to run this story and have Chris Graham appear on their show.

It seems to me that the PM and his team are currently doing their best to intimidate the media out of reporting this story any further: “don’t bring family into it”, etc, etc. A reasonable tactic(albeit arguably a hypocritical one).

The way the media operates nowadays, it’s hard to know what stories they will run with and what they won’t. But I would have thought that the revelation (if true) that the only other such scholarship ever awarded was to the owner’s daughter was a massive story: not just in terms of the PM’s reputation, but also in terms of the credibility of the burgeoning private enterprise tertiary education sector: a sector which has received relatively limited public scrutiny in the past few years (the last occasion being when it became apparent that many of the intense English language colleges were operating as a backdoor way of migrating to Australia).

Bushfire Bill

So… it seems the keepers and custodians of the traditions of the Westminster System, are going to play strictly by the fine print?

They always do this.


Um… Essential (even taking into account its rolling nature) is the same now as it was the week before the Budget?

Seriously? Time to kick them to the curb. The internals don’t seem to be marrying up to the headline (if Abbott’s standing has ‘collapsed’) numbers…



So what Bronwyn?


I’m developing a lot of respect for this Chris Graham fella.
When this issue emerged I checked him out and some of his past work, focusing mainly on helping to start up NIT.
Very impressive.
I presume he was around when ASIO raided NIT during the Howard years.

On this issue I reckon he’s playing it very smart.
He has got us on the drip feed.
Something yesterday, something today. a teaser for tomorrow. Interest builds.
Good for New Matilda and good for us if we can get an alternative source of information that contrasts to the MSM pap.


Fran@1915…making the indirect tax system more onerous does not make administration of the direct tax system any easier. It just diverts resources, makes the system more complicated and, depending how things fall, will depress production and real wages. That is, it will make the welfare outcomes worse than they otherwise would be.

I reckon we probably agree that we should use the tax system to optimise welfare across the income/wealth spectrum. One way of achieving this is to keep things as simple as possible.

To take your example of luxury cars, there is a tax on these vehicles. But whether it falls on private taxpayers or not depends on the direct tax system – on FBT and on what kind of deductions from personal or company income are permitted in relation to vehicle costs. In reality, tax collected by indirect measures is at least partly and possibly is wholly refunded by concessions in the direct system.

Tax laws are already incredibly lengthy and complex. There’s probably no more than 1,000 people in the country who are properly conversant with the whole, and many of them work in private legal and accounting tax practices. It would be desirable if we could make the system simpler to comply with and enforce rather than the opposite.

Reforming negative gearing would be a simple start. Applying uniform taxation to super contributions and earnings would also be simple and would help.

We do not need to make the system a lot more complicated to make it better serve the goals of equity and efficiency.


Ms Bishop making a general statement to the House about what the Speakership means in the Australian House.


“@Simon_Cullen: Speaker Bronwyn Bishop is starting #qt with a statement about the speakership…”