2012 Australian Capital Territory general election

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Australian Capital Territory general election, 2012

← 2008 20 October 2012 2016 →

All 17 seats of the Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly
9 seats needed for a majority
  First party Second party Third party
  Katy Gallagher portrait.jpg Zed Seselja.jpg ACT Greens Parliamentary Convenor Meredith Hunter.JPG
Leader Katy Gallagher Zed Seselja Meredith Hunter
Party Labor Liberal Greens
Leader since 16 May 2011 13 December 2007 October 2008
Leader's seat Molonglo Brindabella Ginninderra (lost seat)
Last election 7 seats 6 seats 4 seats
Seats won 8 seats 8 seats 1 seat
Seat change Increase1 Increase2 Decrease3
Percentage 38.9% 38.9% 10.7%
Swing Increase1.5 Increase7.3 Decrease4.9

Chief Minister before election

Katy Gallagher

Elected Chief Minister

Katy Gallagher

Elections to the Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly occurred on Saturday, 20 October 2012. The 11-year incumbent Labor Party, led by Chief Minister Katy Gallagher, won a fourth term over the main opposition Liberal Party, led by opposition leader Zed Seselja.[1][2][3]

Candidates are elected to fill all 17 Legislative Assembly seats in the unicameral parliament which consists of three multi-member electorates, Brindabella (five seats), Ginninderra (five seats) and Molonglo (seven seats), using a proportional representation single transferable vote method known as the Hare-Clark system.

Key dates[edit]

  • Last day to lodge applications for party register: 30 June 2012
  • Party registration closed: 13 September 2012
  • Pre-election period commenced and nominations opened: 14 September 2012
  • Rolls closed: 21 September 2012
  • Nominations closed: 26 September 2012
  • Nominations declared and ballot paper order determined: 27 September 2012
  • Pre-poll voting commenced: 2 October 2012
  • Polling day, between the hours of 8 am and 6 pm: 20 October 2012[4]


The incumbent Labor Party led by Chief Minister Katy Gallagher attempted to win re-election for a historic fourth term after 11 years in government in the 17-member unicameral ACT Legislative Assembly. Labor led by Jon Stanhope came to power as a minority government at the 2001 election with the support of the Greens and Democrats who held the balance of power. The 2004 election resulted in a historic majority government for Labor, and represented the first time the ACT had elected a majority government. Labor again formed a minority government after the 2008 election resulted in a Green balance of power – Labor 7 seats (37.4%), Liberal 6 seats (31.6%), Greens 4 seats (15.6%).[5][6][7] Stanhope resigned as Chief Minister and Labor leader on 12 May 2011, and was replaced by his deputy, Katy Gallagher.

The 1989 election saw the start of self-governance in the ACT. Elections see all members of the unicameral 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 with four-year fixed terms.


Election posters in Wanniassa

Nine political parties were registered with the ACT Electoral Office as eligible for the October 2012 election.[8][9]

Three further organisations—Pirate Party Australia, Australian Democrats and No Carbon Tax Climate Sceptics—were not registered as political parties in the ACT, however had stated they intended to nominate candidates to be listed on ballot papers as independents.[10][11]

Retiring members[edit]



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

Labor candidates Liberal candidates Greens candidates Bullet Train candidates Motorist candidates Ungrouped candidates

Joy Burch*
Bec Cody
Mick Gentleman*
Mike Kinniburgh
Karl Maftoum

Val Jeffery
Nicole Lawder
Zed Seselja*
Brendan Smyth*
Andrew Wall*

Amanda Bresnan
Johnathan Davis
Ben Murphy

Mark Erwood
Adam Henschke

Burl Doble
Kieran Jones-Ellis

Mark Gibbons (-)
Michael Lindfield (Ind)
Calvin Pearce (Ind)


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

Labor Candidates Liberal Candidates Greens Candidates Motorist Candidates LDP Candidates MLSJ Candidates Bullet Train Candidates Ungrouped Candidates

Yvette Berry*
Chris Bourke*
Jayson Hinder
Glen McCrea
Mary Porter*

Alistair Coe*
Vicki Dunne*
Merinda Nash
Jacob Vadakkedathu
Matt Watts

James Higgins
Meredith Hunter
Hannah Parris

Chic Henry
Darryl Walford

Mustafa Jawadi
Matt Thompson

Majlinda Bitani
Nehmat Nana Jbeili
Karamia Lê
Marion Lê
Kate Reynolds

Chris Bucknell
Tony Halton

Darren Churchill (-)
Emmanuel Ezekiel-Hart (Ind)
Norm Gingell (Ind)
Glen Takkenberg (-)


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

Labor Candidates Liberal Candidates Greens Candidates LDP Candidates Motorist Candidates Bullet Train Candidates Ungrouped Candidates

Andrew Barr*
Simon Corbell*
Angie Drake
Meegan Fitzharris
Katy Gallagher*
Mark Kulasingham
David Mathews

Steve Doszpot*
Murray Gordon
Jeremy Hanson*
Giulia Jones*
Elizabeth Lee
James Milligan
Tom Sefton

Alan Kerlin
Caroline Le Couteur
Shane Rattenbury*
Adriana Siddle

Ian Gardner
Trisha Jha

David Cumbers
Mark Curran

Tim Bohm
Shelley Dickerson

Stuart Biggs (-)
Philip Pocock (Ind)

Unregistered parties and groups[edit]

  • Pirate Party Australia endorsed Mark Gibbons in Brindabella, Glen Takkenberg in Ginninderra, and Stuart Biggs in Molonglo.


  • On 18 October 2012, 1,200 voters (400 voters per seat, 5% MoE) were polled by Patterson Research Group and published in The Canberra Times. Labor was on 44.5 percent (+7.1 points), the Liberals were on 35.5 percent (+3.9 points), the Greens were on 14.5 (−1.0 point) while others were on 5.5 percent (−9.9 points). This would have produced a result somewhere from minority government to majority government for the incumbent Labor government. It was the only poll conducted during the election campaign.[13][14]


Territory-wide vote[edit]

Australian Capital Territory general election, 20 October 2012[2]
Legislative Assembly
<< 20082016 >>

Enrolled voters 256,702
Votes cast 229,125 Turnout 89.3%
Informal votes 7,953 Informal 3.5%
Summary of votes by party
Party Primary votes % Swing Seats Change
  Liberal 86,032 38.9 +7.3 8 +2
  Labor 85,991 38.9 +1.5 8 +1
  Greens 23,773 10.7 −4.9 1 -3
  Australian Motorist Party 9,179 4.2 −0.8 0 0
  Bullet Train for Canberra 8,864 4.0 +4.0 0 0
  Independent 4,053 1.8 −8.3 0 0
  Liberal Democratic Party 2,340 1.1 +0.7 0 0
  Marion Lê Social Justice 940 0.4 +0.4 0 0
Total 221,172     17  

Primary vote by electorate[edit]

Brindabella Ginninderra Molonglo
Labor Party 35.7% 39.9% 40.4%
Liberal Party 46.4% 33.7% 37.4%
ACT Greens 7.9% 10.1% 13.2%
Motorist Party 3.9% 7.3% 2.1%
Bullet Train 3.8% 3.6% 4.5%
Other 2.3% 5.4% 2.4%

Final distribution of seats[edit]

Electorate Seats held

Ginniderra Effect[edit]

Owing to the peculiarities of the ACT's Hare-Clark voting system, Greens candidate Meredith Hunter was excluded from the count prior to the election of the ALP's Chris Bourke and Yvette Berry after polling a quota a one point of 0.79 to the ALP's 2.69. However, instead of the excess ALP quote being held by the 2nd place candidate, and the surplus electing the Hunter, (as would traditionally occur in federal Australian Senate style election), it was evenly distributed between the second and third candidates, whom with other preferences individually polled above Hunter at the point of the count where the Green's candidate was excluded. This has been described by psephologist Kevin Bonham as 'getting Ginniderraed' or the 'Ginniderra effect'. This was later seen in the 2014 Tasmanian State Election with ALP candidate Brenton Best losing the fifth seat in the state electorate of Braddon.[15]

Formation of Government[edit]

After the distribution of preferences neither of the two major parties had won sufficient number of seats to form government in their own right and would need the support of the sole Greens representative Shane Rattenbury. While Labour leader Katy Gallagher wanted to renew the cooperation with the Greens from the previous election period, Liberal leader Zed Seselja argued that in the light of the overall losses of the previous Labour-Green alliance, the strong Liberal gain of 7.3%, and a historic tie in both seats and percentage (38.9 % for each major party), with his party having received 41 more preference votes than Labour, the Liberals as the formally strongest party should lead the new government.

After a week of negotiations with both major parties, Shane Rattenburry came to a formal agreement with the Labor Party in order to form a coalition government, which meant that he would be appointed to the cabinet, and implement nearly 100 policies and reforms mainly regarding the rail network in Canberra, the clean up of Canberra's lakes, the ACT's climate change targets, the Gonski education reforms and the reduction of homelessness. Despite "constructive conversations" with the Liberals Rattenbury justified the decision with the greater closeness between the two parties' policies, which would allow a "stable government", Gallagher's "more substantial agenda" and the Liberals' perceived irresponsibility towards progressive tax reforms. Another reason discussed by the press was that Seselja did not want to give a minister post to Rattenbury. As a result of Rattenbury's promotion to the cabinet, Gallagher planned to enlarge the cabinet to six ministers.[16]

On 6 November 2012, Gallagher was reelected as Chief Minister with the votes of her Labor-Green coalition. Labor's candidate for the office of Speaker Mary Porter, as expected, was not successful, as Rattenbury had announced at the same time as the government agreement that he would vote for the Liberal Party's candidate, which in the end was Vicki Dunne. Porter was elected Deputy Speaker instead.[17] While both Chief Minister Katy Gallagher and Opposition Leader Zed Seselja retained their positions following the outcome of this election, neither lasted in their positions to lead their respective parties at the next election in 2016 as both remarkably resigned from their positions of their own volitions and from the territory Parliament to move to the Federal Parliament as the two Senators representing the ACT.

Newspaper endorsements[edit]

Newspaper Endorsement
The Canberra Times Labor[18]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ 2012 ACT election: Antony Green ABC
  2. ^ a b "2012 Election results". Elections ACT. Retrieved 9 February 2014.
  3. ^ Labor returned to power in ACT: ABC 2 November 2012
  4. ^ "Election timetable". ACT Electoral Commission. Archived from the original on 18 October 2012.
  5. ^ "ACT 2008 - ABC elections". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 18 October 2008. Retrieved 16 July 2010.
  6. ^ Williams, George
  7. ^ "Labor to form minority government in ACT". The Age. Fairfax Media. 31 October 2008. Retrieved 16 July 2010.
  8. ^ "Nine parties registered for the 2012 ACT election". ACT Electoral Commission. 7 August 2012. Archived from the original on 29 April 2013. Retrieved 24 August 2012.
  9. ^ "Candidate list". 2012 Election. ACT Electoral Commission. 27 September 2012. Archived from the original on 21 October 2012. Retrieved 29 September 2012.
  10. ^ "Pirate Party to run Independent Candidates in Upcoming ACT Election". Pirate Party Australia. 17 July 2012. Retrieved 24 August 2012.
  11. ^ David McLennan, John Thistleton (8 August 2012). "Bullet Train party vies for votes". The Canberra Times. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 24 August 2012.
  12. ^ Noel Towell (24 August 2012). "Hargreaves farewells Assembly after colourful career". The Canberra Times. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 24 August 2012.
  13. ^ Canberra Times Poll has ACT Labor on Track for Victory - Antony Green ABC 18 October 2012
  14. ^ Patterson: Labor 44.5, Liberal 35.5, Greens 14.5 in ACT - Poll Bludger 18 October 2012
  15. ^ http://kevinbonham.blogspot.com/2012/10/getting-gininderraed-another-for-hare.html
  16. ^ "Labor returned to power in ACT". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 2 November 2012. Retrieved 16 November 2012.
  17. ^ "MLAs sworn in, Dunne elected speaker". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 6 November 2012. Retrieved 1 December 2018.
  18. ^ "Tarnished Labor still more reliable". The Canberra Times. Fairfax Media. 19 October 2012. Retrieved 19 October 2012.

External links[edit]