Bean – Australia 2019

ALP 8.9%

Incumbent MP
Gai Brodtmann, member for Canberra since 2010.

Bean covers the southern suburbs of Canberra and the southern parts of the ACT. Canberra covers all of the Tuggeranong, Weston Creek and Molonglo Valley districts, as well as the Woden Valley suburbs Farrer, Isaacs, Pearce, Mawson and Phillip.

Bean is a new name for the former seat of Canberra. The seat contracted southward, losing its north-eastern corner to the new version of Canberra. The suburbs moved into the new Canberra included Curtin, Lyons, Garran, Hughes, Yarralumla, Barton, Narrabundah, Kingston, Fyshwick, Campbell, Reid, Civic and Acton. These changes increased the margin from 8.5% to 8.9%.

The Australian Capital Territory first elected an MP from 1949 onwards, although this MP was only given full voting rights in 1968. Canberra was created in 1974 when the ACT gained a second seat, and the existing electorate was divided into Fraser and Canberra. The ACT gained a third electorate, Namadgi, at the 1996 election. Canberra has usually been a safe Labor seat, with a few exceptions.

The Liberal Party won the seat at the 1975 and 1977 elections, before it returned to the ALP under Ros Kelly in 1980. Kelly held the seat until 1995, when she resigned from Parliament. The by-election was won by Liberal candidate Brendan Smyth with a 16.2% swing.

The 1996 election saw a redistribution of the territory, with Canberra shifting from a southern electorate to a central electorate. Canberra was won by ACT Senator, and Minister for Trade, Bob McMullan. Smyth ran in the newly-created seat of Namadji, and was defeated by the ALP”s Annette Ellis.

The 1998 election saw the ACT’s seat entitlement return to two, and Canberra returned to the southern parts of the ACT. McMullan moved to Fraser, and sitting Member for Namadgi Annette Ellis was elected in Canberra. Ellis was re-elected in 2001, 2004 and 2007.

In 2010, Ellis retired and the seat was won by Gai Brodtmann. Brodtmann was re-elected in 2013 and 2016.

Sitting Labor MP Gai Brodtmann is not running for re-election.

Bean is a safe Labor seat.

2016 result

Gai Brodtmann Labor 55,09142.8+1.744.4
Jessica Adelan-Langford Liberal 48,41637.6+0.337.3
Patricia Cahill Greens 19,20014.9+1.913.7
Christopher D’Arcy BucknellBullet Train For Australia6,0134.7+0.54.7

2016 two-party-preferred result

Gai Brodtmann Labor 75,24758.5+1.058.9
Jessica Adelan-Langford Liberal 53,47341.5-1.041.1

Booth breakdown

Polling places in Bean have been divided into three areas: central, north and south.

The Labor two-party-preferred vote ranged from 59.9% in the south to 61.2% in the centre.

The Greens vote ranged from 11.1% in the south to 16.9% in the north.

Voter groupGRN prim %ALP 2PP %Total votes% of votes
Other votes15.456.16,2326.9

Election results in Bean at the 2016 federal election
Toggle between two-party-preferred votes and Greens primary votes.

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  1. Very intersting the difference between ACT and Federal voting patterns.

    This is Liberal territory in ACT elections. I was expecting a swing to Liberals in Tuggeranong at the federal election due to some north/south resentment around the light rail and other ACT government spending, but it never eventuated. I don’t think this is any more winnable for the Liberals than the old Canberra, but I expect a strong campaign since their path to victory in the ACT election involves winning 3 seats in both Brindabella and Murrumbidgee.

    Similarly the Greens vote is actually quite strong; I did not expect to see a Green 20 in this electorate. In Murrumbidgee the green vote was uniformly about 5% softer, but in Brindabella the Greens got as low as 2.6% of the vote in the Richardson booth that got 10% here. That would be a bad Greens result in rural Queensland.

    Labor made the right choice moving Brodtmann here; the combination of Liberals actually trying, weak Greens focusing on central Canberra, and a new member would put them at serious risk of losing.

    One to watch for 2022.

  2. I’m surprised to see a strong Green vote over most of the booths here.
    I agree it’s smart for Labor to put Brodtmann here instead of the new Canberra, that being said without an incumbent in Canberra helps the Greens and conversely if there was no incumbent here the Libs would have tried to give it a shake.
    This should be a seat in the future that is naturally Labor but not necessarily safe, and I’d expect the Greens to put in effort here as well considering a strong result in Canberra may well help them snatch that senate seat from the Libs which very nearly happened in 2013.

  3. Winning the senate seat will be next to impossible for the Greens.

    The other times they nearly won they were relying on near perfect preference flows from every other party in the old system. Now the preference flows from Labor will be about 80% instead of 95%, and a lot of the minor party voters will leave Greens off or preference Liberals higher. Liberals need to be brought well under 30% primary for the Greens to have a chance – very difficult to do.

    Their only motive for campaigning in Bean is about the ACT election; keep some momentum going for Caroline Le Couteur.

  4. Absolutely correct John, the new senate rules are much harsher on any party attempting to “come from behind” on preferences, which certainly is the Greens in ACT.

    The Greens are the opposite in all 6 states though, generally polling between 0.6 and 0.9 of a quota. After 4-5 Labor and Coalition senators are elected the Greens will start with a lead (often a HUGE lead) on the remaining candidates, likely unassailable on preferences.

  5. Brodtmann is no longer recontesting. This changes things quite a lot as it’s generally said she commanded quite a high personal vote, and the Liberal votes are more or less there if territory elections are anything to go by.

    It will ultimately depend on who Labor preselects but Liberals will likely have a serious crack at the seat now. I can see Jeremy Hanson retiring from ACT politics to contest the seat.

  6. John
    WHY would the libs have any interest in Bean ?. Where are the votes that you are seeing ? Is there really such a difference between the territory, & fed votes ?

  7. The Liberal party came close to winning the southern seat of Namadgi the only other time the ACT had three seats. However that was at the Liberal high water mark of 1996 with an incumbent MP (thanks to the Canberra by-election). They will have neither of those two advantages this time around. And there’s no evidence the underlying Liberal vote has gotten any stronger in the meantime.

    There are now two vacant Labor seats in the ACT. Presumably some of the candidates from the crowded preselection in Canberra will shift their sights to Bean.

  8. Winediamond – Liberals got about 42% primary vote in the 2 territory seats that make up Bean, and Labor only 34%. Greens aren’t very strong here. I would be interested in seeing a “2 party preferred” but at the very least the Liberals actually have a lot to work with.

    A retiring local member and a serious candidate/campaign might do the trick.

    I would put this in the category of seats that should be seriously analysed as possible Lib gains off Labor – something that will be necessary for Liberals to get a 3rd term.

  9. John
    Yep 42% does give weight to your view. It will be interesting to see whether this comes through. It seems my scepticism was unfounded

  10. Certainly could see Jeremey Hanson resign to contest the seat. He could definitely be in with a chance, this has always been the liberal end on Canberra and without an Incumbent Hanson is the closest to an incumbent you could get.

    Perhaps a result something like this;

    LIB – 43
    ALP – 35
    GRN – 14
    OTH – 8

    Included in the Other would be people like Reason, PUP, and the Liberal Democrats.

    It could be interesting to see if the Reason Party (Re-branded Sex Party) would run a candidate, they got 8% in Brindabella at the last ACT election and such could get a large swath of the vote especially if they push their teal message (liberal/green)

    This will be a close seat but i think the liberals could pull of an upset victory like they did in the namidigi by election in 1996.

  11. Happy to be corrected on this, but I’ve never heard that Gai Brodtmann has a particularly high personal vote. I get the impression the relatively strong Liberal vote in Tuggeranong in the last couple ACT elections is more of an anti-incumbent vote against the very long-term ACT government, rather than a vote specifically for the Liberals. This would explain why the Sex Party almost won the last seat in Brindabella instead of the Liberals, despite very little campaigning. To me this seems like a case where people just vote differently at the state/territory and federal elections (like the division of Braddon).

    I certainly wouldn’t rule out the Liberals winning this seat if they picked a well-known candidate and ran a strong campaign (and if Labor picked a bad candidate and ran a weak campaign) but I think there’s quite a few seats they’d be targeting before this one (8% is a pretty big margin, especially if there’s a swing against the Liberals nationally). Alternatively, I think there’s quite a bit of potential for some kind of centrist local independent along the lines of Cathy McGowan or Rebecca Sharkie to win this seat with a grassroots campaign.

  12. As both the Liberal & Labor candidates are non females the winner may end up being called Mr Bean. We can wonder what the cartoons will look like in the press after the election.

  13. @Adrian Jackson Where did you get this information from? The Liberal candidate has not been announced yet, Unless you heard somthing? Source please.

  14. All male candidates (Lib, Grn, Lab) so far so the winner may be called “Mr Bean” in the tabloid press or if he is a treasurer or finance minister in a future government he may be called a “bean counter”.

  15. Hi Susan,
    The AEC profile of the electoral division of Bean (ACT) location description lists and maps all the districts that the electoral division of Bean covers here:
    One makes special mention and acknowledges the fact that Norfolk Island is a district of the electorate as One’s family heritage is traced directly to decedents of the first free British Royal Marine Corps, Botany Bay Detachment, First Fleet family to voluntarily settle for the hardships of developing and protecting the New South Wales colony and arrived on board the Prince of Wales (1788). One’s ancestors were also posted to the BEAN electoral division district of Norfolk Island on board the H.M.S SIRIUS where she was shipwrecked and therefore One has a special interest in the fact of acknowledging and honouring the custom, usage and history of the Pitcairn settlement on Norfolk Island and shall stand to provide consideration and remedy for their concerns such as the restoration of the Preamble for the Norfolk Island Legislation Amendment Act 2015 (Cth).
    Yours faithfully,
    Ben 🙂

  16. “The first member for Bean will be elected at the next federal general election.”
    Bean is a NEW seat with NO sitting member and is therefore NOT a safe Labor seat. Named after Charles Bean, an Australia’s official correspondent to the Australian Imperial Force in World War One. He was the editor of the ‘Official History of Australia in the War of 1914-1918’ and primary advocate to establish the Australian War Memorial.
    Please correct the inaccurate profile of this electorate to state the official Australian Electoral Commissions actual facts. Source:
    Yours in truth and fact,
    Ben 🙂

  17. Ben, I stand by my previous argument. This seat’s classification is not inaccurate.

    Bean is a new name for a seat but it is clearly a successor to the former seat of Canberra. More importantly, it’s not new in the sense that the voters who make up this electorate didn’t just appear out of thin air – we know that they consistently favoured Labor at the last election (and most of the ones before that too). It’s not a very safe Labor seat, but seats on 8.9% margins rarely fall, particularly when the party which holds the seat is gaining ground nationally.

  18. The electorate and booth categories map do not include Norfolk Island, despite it being in Bean and having a polling place at the last election that is included in the 2PP/Green primary map.

    The polling place and accompanying pre-poll voting centre will likely have more votes this time as enrolment only became compulsory for Norfolk Island residents after the close of the rolls for the 2016 election, as part of the controversial incorporation of Norfolk Island into Australia.

    The inclusion of Norfolk Island into the ACT`s quota, for the purposes of representation in the Commonwealth Parliament, is what caused the creation of Bean because without it there would not have been enough populaton to justify a third ACT seat at the determination of seats for this election.

  19. Tom, Norfolk Island is actually on the map. I just (silly I know) zoomed in on the 99% of the population in the ACT. It’s included in the ‘other votes’ category. Even if everyone on Norfolk Island votes on the day it’ll still be a small-medium sized polling place. It’s just not going to play a big role in elections here.

    Actually the ACT would have reached the population required for a third quota without Norfolk Island.

  20. I have checked Norfolk Island on all three maps and only the booth results map (2CP/Green primary) has anything Been related marked on it. The polling booth category map (which would presumably need other /Norfolk Island as a category in the legend if it was marked there) and the electorate boundary map (where it should be orange) have only the underlying map of Norfolk Island. I was not complaining about the zooming.

    It is also potentially slightly more influential than a mainland booth of the same size because it is an hour ahead of the East Coast and thus is a potential first polling place to report (and will be for the election, unless the House of Reps election is delayed until after the East Coast daylight savings states and ACT are on Daylight savings time and thus on the same time as DST non-observing Norfolk Island).

  21. No sign of the Liberals running a serious campaign here. There were a few scattered signs but I saw more for Anthony Pesec (Independent running for the senate).

    This seat is one to watch for the next election. The area is fairly strong for Labor as most parts of Canberra are, and the area is firmly middle class. I think Mediscare had a big impact here. However voters here are more conservative than in other parts of Canberra.

    I can imagine this area resenting the Labor government as they invest heavily in the north side (which is becoming increasingly urban) and disincentivise car dependent suburban living, but it remains to be seen whether that will only play out in territory elections.

    Time will tell what direction the Liberal party go in after the next election, but I saw an article about “the boganisation of the Liberal party” – instead of trying to win back affluent social progressives (who will ultimately vote for lower taxes anyway), they will try to get suburban working class and middle class voters (especially white ones) away from Labor through culture war tactics and fomenting suburban/rural resentment of inner city voters. Basically, attempting a political realignment to create voter coalitions like the US republican party. Labor picking up affluent inner city seats and focusing their 2022 campaign on trying to hold onto them would open the door for this.

    Bean would be a key target seat for Liberals if they pursue this strategy.

  22. ^ That strategy backfired pretty badly in the Vic state election when the Libs lost a string of seats in Melbourne’s leafy eastern suburbs. What works in the USA might not work here. I think this seat is actually quite similar to Melbourne’s eastern suburbs demographically.

  23. ^ A very apt comparison. I think it has a lot in common with the seat of Aston, and the public service factor is the main reason Aston is a safe Liberal seat and Bean is safe Labor. I can see that changing a little bit after a term of Labor however.

    I think Matthew Guy’s strategy backfired because it looked particularly mean and nasty around the Bourke St terrorist attack, and the public woke up to concepts like race baiting. It was the affluent seats that violently swung to Labor as much as the middle class seats. Andrews had also proposed (and delivered) plenty of big ticket infrastructure projects for the eastern suburbs so it wasn’t like they were being neglected.

    The Liberals will eventually figure out how to foment suburban resentment of urban areas in a way that doesn’t turn socially conscious voters off.

  24. @John

    The “Boganisation” of the Liberal party has been their tactic for 20 years now – ever since One Nation gave them a fright in the 90s and they lurched in that direction to steal the “redneck” vote back from Hanson. No secret there.

    This is the whole reason for Morrison doing the “daggy dad”, “ScoMo”, “Scotty from the Shire” shtick. Spending as much spare time as possible at the footy, talking about racehorses and hanging out at Engadine Macca’s. #neverforget


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