Canberra is a new seat with no sitting MP.
The seat of Canberra covers the central suburbs of the city of Canberra, including Civic, the Parliamentary Triangle, the inner north and south and parts of Belconnen (Bruce, Cook, Kaleen, Lawson and Hawker) and Woden Valley (Curtin, Garran, Hughes and Lyons).
The seat of Canberra is a new seat, taking in parts of the northern seat of Fenner and the southern seat, previously named Canberra and now named Bean. The seat of Fenner previously covered most areas north of Lake Burley Griffin, with the exception of Acton, Reid, Campbell, Civic and part of Turner, which were previously included in Canberra. All of those areas south of the Lake were previously in Canberra. The former seat of Canberra had a margin of 8.5%, while Fenner previously had a margin of 13.9%. The new seat has a margin of 12.9%, which makes it the safest seat in the ACT.
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.
At the 1996 election, Canberra was redrawn into an inner-city electorate, similar to its current arrangement. This arrangement was rewound when the ACT lost its third seat in 1998, so for most of the territory’s history it has only elected two members: one northern and one southern.
Both seats have been reasonably safe for Labor for most of their history. The only break in Labor’s control happened at the 1995 Canberra by-election, which was won by the Liberal Party. Labor won back this seat in 1996.
On paper Canberra is the safest Labor seat in the territory. There is certainly no threat of the Liberal Party winning here. The Greens will have ambitions to strengthen their position in this seat. The best Greens areas in the ACT were previously split between seats, each being paired with much weaker areas. These areas are now combined in one seat, with a hefty 18.7% primary vote. The Greens are a long way away from winning. They would first need to close a 14% gap with the Liberal Party before becoming any kind of serious threat. But it’s also true that the ACT Greens haven’t previously had a realistic shot at a lower house seat, so we could see a stronger campaign.
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2016 two-party-preferred result
Polling places in Canberra have been divided into three areas: inner north, inner south and Belconnen. The inner south includes the parts of Woden Valley contained in this electorate.
The Labor two-party-preferred vote ranged from 58.2% in the inner south to 71.6% in the inner north.
The Greens vote ranged from 17% in Belconnen to 26.2% in the inner north.
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Election results in Canberra at the 2016 federal election
Toggle between two-party-preferred votes and Greens primary votes.
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