Australian Capital Territory general election, 2004

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Australian Capital Territory general election, 2004
Australian Capital Territory
2001 ←
16 October 2004
→ 2008

All 17 seats of the unicameral Legislative Assembly
  First party Second party
  JonStanhope2006.jpg
Leader Jon Stanhope Brendan Smyth
Party Labor Liberal
Leader since 19 March 1998 25 November 2002
Leader's seat Ginninderra Molonglo
Last election 8 seats 7 seats
Seats won 9 seats 7 seats
Seat change Increase1 Steady0
Percentage 46.8% 34.8%
Swing Increase5.1 Increase3.2

Chief Minister before election

Jon Stanhope
Labor

Elected Chief Minister

Jon Stanhope
Labor

Elections to the Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly were held on Saturday, 16 October 2004. The incumbent Labor Party, led by Jon Stanhope, was challenged by the Liberal Party, led by Brendan Smyth. Candidates were elected to fill three multi-member electorates using a single transferable vote method, known as the Hare-Clark system. The result was a clear majority of nine seats in the 17-member unicameral Assembly were won by Labor. The result marked the first time in the history of ACT self-government that one party was able to win a majority in its own right. Stanhope was elected Chief Minister at the first sitting of the sixth Assembly on 4 November 2004.[1] The election was conducted by the ACT Electoral Commission and was the second time in Australia's history that an electronic voting and counting system was used for some, but not all, polling places, expanding on the initial trial of the system at the 2001 ACT election.[2]

Key dates[3][edit]

  • Last day to lodge applications for party register: 30 June 2004
  • Party registration closed: 9 September 2004
  • Pre-election period commenced and nominations opened: 10 September 2004
  • Rolls closed: 17 September 2004
  • Nominations closed: 22 September 2004
  • Nominations declared and ballot paper order determined: 23 September 2004
  • Pre-poll voting commenced: 27 September 2004
  • Polling day: 16 October 2004
  • Scrutiny completed: 27 October 2004
  • Poll declared: 29 October 2004
  • Legislative Assembly formed: 4 November 2004

Overview[edit]

The incumbent centre-left Australian Labor Party, led by Chief Minister Jon Stanhope, attempted to win re-election for a second term after coming to power in 2001. Labor was challenged by the opposition centre-right Liberal Party of Australia, led by Brendan Smyth, who assumed the Liberal leadership in November 2002. A third party, the ACT Greens, held one seat in the Assembly through retiring member, Kerrie Tucker.

The election saw all 17 members of the Assembly face re-election, with members being elected by the Hare-Clark system of proportional representation. The Assembly is divided into three electorates: five-member Brindabella (including Tuggeranong and parts of the Woden Valley) and Ginninderra (including Belconnen and suburbs) and seven-member Molonglo (including North Canberra, South Canberra, Gungahlin, Weston Creek, and the remainder of the Woden Valley). Election dates are set in statute to occur once every four years; the government has no ability to set the election date.

Following the 2001 election outcome, Labor held eight seats; the opposition Liberal Party held seven seats; with the Greens holding a further one seat; and the Democrats also holding one seat. In September 2002, Helen Cross resigned from the Liberal Party, and remained in the Assembly, sitting as an independent.[4] Gary Humphries, the former Liberal leader, resigned from the Assembly on 25 November 2002 to fill a casual vacancy in the Australian Senate following the resignation of Margaret Reid. Humphries was replaced in the Assembly by Jacqui Burke who was sworn in on 18 February 2003.

Candidates[5][edit]

Sitting members at the time of the election are in bold. Tickets that elected at least one MLA are highlighted in the relevant colour. Successful candidates are indicated by an asterisk (*).

Retiring Members[edit]

Labor[edit]

Liberal[edit]

Brindabella[edit]

Five seats were up for election. The Labor Party was defending three seats. The Liberal Party was defending two seats.

Labor Candidates Liberal Candidates Greens Candidates Democrats Candidates LDP Candidates CDP Candidates Ungrouped Candidates
 

Mick Gentleman*
John Hargreaves*
Paschal Leahy
Rebecca Logue
Karin MacDonald*

Steve Doszpot
Steve Pratt*
Megan Purcell
Karen Schilling
Brendan Smyth*

Graham Jensen
Kathryn Kelly

Rowena Bew
Marc Emerson

David Garrett
Matthew Harding

Erol Byrne
Thelma Janes

Burl Doble (Ind)
Stephanie Elliott (FRC)
Lance Muir (EQP)

Ginninderra[edit]

Five seats were up for election. The Labor Party was defending two seats. The Liberal Party was defending two seats. The Australian Democrats were defending one seat.

Labor Candidates Liberal Candidates Greens Candidates Democrats Candidates LDP Candidates Hird Inds Candidates Free Range Candidates
 

Wayne Berry*
Ross Maxwell
Susan McCarthy
Mary Porter*
Jon Stanhope*

Briant Clark
Vicki Dunne*
Ilona Fraser
Bob Sobey
Bill Stefaniak*

Meredith Hunter
Ben O'Callaghan

Roslyn Dundas
Roberta Wood

Rose Pappalardo
Adam Porter

Harold Hird
Julie-Anne Papathanasiou

Anne Moore
Mike O'Shaughnessy

Group E Candidates Ungrouped Candidates
 

John Gorman
Darcy Henry

John Simsons (EQP)

Molonglo[edit]

Seven seats were up for election. The Labor Party was defending three seats. The Liberal Party was defending three seats. The Australian Greens were defending one seat.

Labor Candidates Liberal Candidates Greens Candidates Democrats Candidates LDP Candidates Cross Inds Candidates Free Range Candidates
 

Andrew Barr
Adina Cirson
Simon Corbell*
Katy Gallagher*
Mike Hettinger
Ted Quinlan*
Kim Sattler

Lucille Bailie
Jacqui Burke*
Ron Forrester
David Kibbey
Richard Mulcahy*
Gordon Scott
Zed Seselja*

Amanda Bresnan
Deb Foskey*
Charlie Pahlman

Fred Leftwich
Robert Rose

John Humphreys
Melanie Sutcliffe

Helen Cross
Renee Stramandinoli

Simone Gray
Jo McKinley

Equality Candidates Group C Candidates Ungrouped Candidates
 

Nancy-Louise McCullough
Jonathon Reynolds

John Farrell
Robert Fearn

Tony Farrell
Luke Garner
Ken Helm
Kurt Kennedy

Results[6][edit]

On election night 16 October 2004, four hours after the close of polling, with 78 per cent of the vote counted, Liberal leader, Brendan Smyth, conceded defeat to Labor.[7] Smyth conceded that the incumbent Labor Government had been returned for a second term and appeared set to win the Territory's first ever majority mandate. Labor had obtained 47 per cent of the vote across the ACT, with the Liberals at 34.8 per cent and the Greens at 9.2 per cent. Swings were recorded towards Labor (+5.3 per cent), Liberal (+3.2 per cent) and the ACT Greens (+0.1 per cent). Support for the Democrats collapsed and they lost their one and only seat.[8][9][10] Counting continued up until 27 October 2004,[11] when all preferences were distributed, resulting in Labor winning nine seats, the Liberals winning seven seats, while the Greens won one seat. The ACT Electoral Commission determined and announced the election's final results on 29 October 2004.[12][13] The result marked the first time in the history of ACT self-government that one party was able to win a majority in its own right.

In Brindabella, Labor retained its three seats and the Liberals retained its two seats. Government minister John Hargreaves and backbencher Karin MacDonald were re-elected; with Mick Gentleman replacing the retired former Government minister Bill Wood. For the Liberal Party, leader Brendan Smyth and shadow minister Steve Pratt were both re-elected.[12]

Labor gained a seat in Ginninderra, where Democrats sitting member Roslyn Dundas unsuccessfully sought re-election. The Liberals retained their two seats. Chief Minister Jon Stanhope and Labor Speaker Wayne Berry were both re-elected, with Mary Porter winning the additional seat for Labor. Both Bill Stefaniak and Vicki Dunne retained their seats for the Liberal Party.[12]

In seven-member Molonglo, there was no change to representation from the 2001 ACT election with both Labor and the Liberals retaining three seats, and the Greens retaining one seat. Labor Deputy Chief Minister Ted Quinlan, and ministers Katy Gallagher and Simon Corbell all won re-election. The Liberal benches saw the re-election of one member, Jacqui Burke and two new members, Zed Seselja and Richard Mulcahy; following the retirement of longserving member and former Speaker, Greg Cornwell. Helen Cross, elected as a Liberal member at the 2001 ACT election, resigned from the Liberal Party in September 2002 to become an independent. Cross failed to get re-elected at the 2004 ACT election. The Greens sitting member, Kerrie Tucker, resigned from the Assembly less than one month before the election. The Greens endorsed Deb Foskey, who was elected as the sole Green in the Assembly.[12]

Electronic voting and counting system[edit]

Overview[edit]

The ACT's electronic voting system was first used at the 2001 election and was again used at the 2004 election. The system used standard personal computers as voting terminals, with voters using a barcode to authenticate their votes. Voting terminals were linked to a server in each polling location using a secure local area network. No votes were taken or transmitted over a public network like the Internet. The electronic voting system was used in the pre-poll voting centres, which were open for three weeks before polling day, and which opened on election day as ordinary polling places. In polling places that did not have electronic voting, voters used traditional paper ballots. In electronic polling places, voters were given a choice of voting electronically or on paper.[2]

Electronic counting, which combines the counting of electronic votes and paper ballots, was first used in the ACT at the 2001 election and was again used in the 2004 election. In 2001 and 2004, preferences shown on paper ballots were data-entered by two independent operators, electronically checked for errors, and manually corrected if required. This data was then combined with the results of the electronic voting, and the computer program distributed preferences under the ACT's Hare-Clark electoral system. The software for the electronic voting and counting system was built using Linux open source software, which was chosen specifically for the electoral system to ensure that election software is open and transparent and could be made available to scrutineers, candidates and other participants in the electoral process.[2]

2004 statistics[edit]

In 2004, a total of 28,169 electronic votes were recorded at four pre-poll voting centres and at eight polling places on polling day. This number of electronic votes represented a 70 per cent increase on the 16,559 electronic votes cast at the 2001 election. The proportion of electronic votes in relation to all votes counted increased from 8.3 per cent in 2001 to 13.4 per cent in 2004. At each electronic polling place the number of voting machines was increased from ten in 2001 to at least fifteen in 2004 to ensure that those that wished to use computers to vote could do so with minimal queues. The ACT Electoral Commission claims that interim results for 20,722 votes using the electronic voting system were available through the Commission's website by ten minutes after the close of polls on polling night.[14] Later in the night, a further 7,447 electronic votes cast were made available. Before 10:00pm, interim preference results from all formal electronic votes cast were available, representing 13.6 per cent of all formal votes. Based on these, and other results, the Commission claims that commentators were able to accurately predict the election outcome.[14] Of the seventeen candidates indicated as elected on election night using the 27,849 formal electronic votes, sixteen were ultimately elected. Only one candidate indicated as elected on election night was not ultimately successful – Labor candidate Andrew Barr was the last candidate indicated as elected in Molonglo on election night. After the full distribution of all preferences, the last position in Molonglo was taken by Liberal candidate Zed Seselja.[14]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Legislative Assembly for the ACT - Week 1". ACT Hansard. ACT Legislative Assembly. 2004-11-04. Retrieved 2010-08-08. 
  2. ^ a b c "Electronic voting and counting". ACT Electoral Commission. 2008. Retrieved 2010-09-04. 
  3. ^ "Election timetable". ACT Legislative Assembly election - 2004. ACT Electoral Commission. 2004. Retrieved 2010-08-08. 
  4. ^ "Members of the ACT Legislative Assembly". ACT Legislative Assembly. 2008. Retrieved 2010-08-02. 
  5. ^ "Candidate list". 2004 Election. ACT Electoral Commission. 2004. Retrieved 2010-08-08. 
  6. ^ "List of elected candidates". 2004 Election. ACT Electoral Commission. 2004. Retrieved 2010-08-08. 
  7. ^ "Smyth concedes in ACT poll". ABC News online (Australian Broadcasting Corporation). 2004-10-16. Retrieved 2010-09-04. 
  8. ^ "Stanhope claims 'unprecedented' ACT victory". ABC News online (Australian Broadcasting Corporation). 2004-10-16. Retrieved 2010-09-04. 
  9. ^ "Democrats look set for ACT wipeout". ABC News online (Australian Broadcasting Corporation). 2004-10-17. Retrieved 2010-09-04. 
  10. ^ "Stanhope celebrates 'historic win'". ABC News online (Australian Broadcasting Corporation). 2004-10-17. Retrieved 2010-09-04. 
  11. ^ "Foskey welcomes cross-bench role". ABC News online (Australian Broadcasting Corporation). 2004-10-28. Retrieved 2010-09-04. 
  12. ^ a b c d "List of elected candidates". 2004 Election. ACT Electoral Commission. 2004. Retrieved 2010-09-04. 
  13. ^ "ACT Assembly members officially declared". ABC News online (Australian Broadcasting Corporation). 2004-10-29. Retrieved 2010-09-04. 
  14. ^ a b c "Electronic Voting and Counting System - Review". 2004 Election. ACT Electoral Commission. 2005-06-27. p. 18. Retrieved 2010-09-04.