Brindabella – ACT 2020

Incumbent MPs

  • Joy Burch (Labor), since 2008.
  • Mick Gentleman (Labor), since 2012. Previously 2004-2008.
  • Nicole Lawder (Liberal), since 2013.
  • Mark Parton (Liberal), since 2016.
  • Andrew Wall (Liberal), since 2012.

Geography
Brindabella covers the outer southern suburbs of Canberra. Brindabella largely covers the Tuggeranong district, including Gordon, Conder, Calwell, Fadden, Macarthur and Wanniassa, plus parts of Kambah. Brindabella also covers the town of Tharwa, and the unpopulated southern territories that cover a majority of the ACT’s land mass.

Redistribution
Brindabella expanded to the north, taking in western parts of Kambah from Murrumbidgee. These changes slightly improved Labor’s position and slightly weakened the Liberal position.

History
The electorate of Brindabella was created in 1995, when the ACT electoral system was changed to introduce multi-member districts for the first time. The seat covered almost exactly the same area from 1995 until 2012, having undergone two minor redistributions prior to the 2001 and 2008 elections.

Brindabella has always elected two Labor MLAs and two Liberal MLAs. The fifth seat has alternated between the two major parties and crossbenchers.

In 1995, the fifth seat was won by independent candidate Paul Osborne, a former rugby league player running as a social conservative. Osborne was re-elected in 1998.

Labor won a third seat in 2001, and maintained that seat in 2004, which helped Labor win a majority for the first time in ACT history.

Labor lost their third seat in 2008, with the Greens’ Amanda Bresnan winning the final seat.

The Liberal Party won a third seat at the Greens’ expense in 2012, in part thanks to party leader Zed Seselja switching to Brindabella from Molonglo. This was the first time the Liberal Party has won a majority of seats in an ACT electorate.

The Liberal Party retained their third seat in the shrunken Brindabella electorate at the 2016 election.

Candidates

  • A – Labor
    • Joy Burch
    • Cathy Day
    • Brendan Forde
    • Mick Gentleman
    • Taimus Werner-Gibbings
  • B – Animal Justice Party
    • Jannah Fahiz
    • Robyn Soxsmith
  • C – Greens
    • Johnathan Davis
    • Sue Ellerman
    • Laura Nuttall
  • D – Liberal
    • James Daniels
    • Jane Hiatt
    • Nicole Lawder
    • Mark Parton
    • Andrew Wall
  • E – Liberal Democrats
    • Jacob Gowor
    • Matthew Knight
  • F – Sustainable Australia
    • Andrew Clapham
    • Bruce Willett
  • G – Shooters, Fishers And Farmers
    • Greg Baynham
    • Adrian Olley
  • H – Federation Party
    • Jason Potter
    • Scott Sandford

Assessment
Brindabella is one of the strongest electorates for the Liberal Party in the ACT, and is the only electorate in the territory where the Liberal Party won three seats. There is no room for the Liberals to grow here, but they won their third seat by a slim margin over the ALP in 2016 and Labor could gain a seat here if they do well.

2016 result

2016 electionRedistribution
PartyVotes%QuotaSwing%Quota
Liberal 19,60641.92.512-4.541.32.480
Labor 15,74433.62.017-1.834.22.053
Sex Party3,6947.90.473+7.97.70.464
Greens 2,3995.10.307-2.25.40.323
Independents1,9674.20.252+4.23.90.235
Liberal Democrats1,1752.50.151+2.52.40.144
Animal Justice Party1,1062.40.142+2.42.40.147
Sustainable Australia6971.50.089+1.51.50.089
Like Canberra4420.90.057+0.910.058
Others0.10.007
Informal1,4082.9

Preference flows

Let’s fast forward until there are ten candidates left in the race, including four each from the major parties:

  • Andrew Wall (LIB) – 0.838 quotas
  • Mark Parton (LIB) – 0.738
  • Nicole Lawder (LIB) – 0.652
  • Mick Gentleman (ALP) – 0.620
  • Joy Burch (ALP) – 0.606
  • Steven Bailey (SXP) – 0.573
  • Ed Cocks (LIB) – 0.499
  • Taimus Werner-Gibbings (ALP) – 0.489
  • Angie Drake (ALP) – 0.485
  • Michael Mazengarb (GRN) – 0.339

Mazengarb was eliminated next, with his preferences dividing reasonably evenly between the four Labor candidates and the Sex Party, with the Sex Party gaining 0.063 of a quota and each Labor candidate gaining between 0.041 and 0.051 quota.

  • Wall (LIB) – 0.844
  • Parton (LIB) – 0.743
  • Gentleman (ALP) – 0.661
  • Lawder (LIB) – 0.660
  • Burch (ALP) – 0.654
  • Bailey (SXP) – 0.635
  • Drake (ALP) – 0.536
  • Werner-Gibbings (ALP) – 0.533
  • Cocks (LIB) – 0.504

Cocks, the fourth-placed Liberal, was now eliminated. His preferences split fairly evenly amongst the three remaining Liberals.

  • Wall (LIB) – 1.001
  • Parton (LIB) – 0.869
  • Lawder (LIB) – 0.796
  • Gentleman (ALP) – 0.670
  • Burch (ALP) – 0.665
  • Bailey (SXP) – 0.653
  • Drake (ALP) – 0.550
  • Werner-Gibbings (ALP) – 0.541

Wall was elected with a tiny surplus, and then Werner-Gibbings was excluded, with their preferences flowing to the three remaining candidates, with the strongest flow going to Drake and the weakest to Burch.

  • Parton (LIB) – 0.884
  • Gentleman (ALP) – 0.820
  • Lawder (LIB) – 0.810
  • Burch (ALP) – 0.782
  • Drake (ALP) – 0.723
  • Bailey (SXP) – 0.684

Bailey’s preferences split fairly evenly, with slightly more going to each of the remaining Labor candidates.

  • Parton (LIB) – 0.950
  • Gentleman (ALP) – 0.905
  • Lawder (LIB) – 0.873
  • Burch (ALP) – 0.869
  • Drake (ALP) – 0.802

This produced the key deciding point in the count. Drake, the third Labor candidate, came sixth and was eliminated, with the other four remaining candidates elected. A direct swap of votes of about 0.036 quota from Lawder to Drake would have been enough to elect a third Labor member, although in reality the number of votes would likely have needed to be more.

Booth breakdown

Polling places in Brindabella have been split into three parts: north east, north west and south.

The Liberal Party topped the poll in all three areas in 2016, with a vote ranging from 38.6% in the north west to 43% in the north west.

Labor’s primary vote ranged from 32.7% in the north-east to 36.3% in the north-west.

Voter groupLIB %ALP %GRN %Total votes% of votes
North West38.636.36.913,40625.6
South39.134.14.99,27817.7
North East43.032.74.87,75014.8
Pre-poll44.733.54.517,29833.0
Other votes38.534.06.24,6348.8

Election results in Brindabella at the 2016 ACT election
Click on the ‘visible layers’ box to toggle between primary votes for the Liberal Party, Labor and the Greens.


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5 COMMENTS

  1. This is often talked about like 3 in the bag for Liberals. Major party resources line up with that perception too (far more resources in Yerrabi and Murrumbidgee, and even Kurrajong). However the final seat was quite close last time.

    The resentment in the southside over light rail going to Gungahlin first will still be a factor, but less of one. The Labor MPs are still duds but at least Joy Burch has stayed out of trouble in the last 4 years. And in general the “its time” factor is less than last time owing to Covid.

    All this points to a small leftward swing. So who picks it up? While the Greens are building off a low base, they seem to be trying a lot harder this time if social media is any indication. They got overtaken by “other” last time, but not federally despite a strong independent. I think they’ll take it.

    I’m predicting 2-2-1 here (Green gain from Liberal)

  2. Bennee, Sex Party seemed like a placeholder for “don’t like either major or the Greens” rather than actual support. The ACT has full data available so it would be possible to see how much of that vote would have ended up with Greens; I suspect nowhere near enough. A quick look at election results has the Greens doing well enough against “other” in Tuggeranong (Jaime Christie independent+Australian Progressives+Palmer), but not by a huge amount. Looking at the list of parties I expect Sustainable Australia to do better here than in other electorates, and Greens won’t be able to assume they’ll emerge on top of the agglomerated non majors.

    I am just getting the impression the Greens are far less hated this time around now that light rail has already happened. In fact the Green candidate is campaigning on eventually bringing light rail to Tuggeranong, while the Liberals are inconsistent about wanting to extend the light rail south at all. You might see the “light rail vote” boost the left on the southside (though more in Murrumbidgee than here).

    Additionally the 2016 federal election results leading into the last ACT election pretty much confirmed that Greens didn’t have a chance in Brindabella and the Greens campaign last time was limited with resources being diverted to Murrumbidgee and Ginninderra. This time they did much better and the Brindabella campaign has regular campaign events.

    Also Johnathan Davis is very well known in Tuggeranong, particularly in Kambah from his high school campaigning days (which I think explains the very high Green vote in the Kambah South booth in Bean last year). Mazengarb lived in the Inner North. From what I hear, Amanda Bresnan lived and campaigned in the inner north despite representing Tuggeranong, so being very local will be important, as will more time passing from then.

    Anyway 2-2-1 though I might be a bit biased.

  3. Looking at the Others Vote, AJP + Sustainable got up to their maximum in this electorate at 3.9% while Lib Dems got second best at 2.7% here last time. This was also the Greens weakest electorate last time. With SXP 7.9%, LCBR 0.9% and IND 4.2%, a total of (13%) at play for this election I’m going out on a stab for a few assumptions…
    Vote to stay around the same.
    Sustainable 1.5%
    AJP 2.5%
    Lib Dem 2.5% (I think this will actually drop to about 2% due to SFF/FED influence)

    So divvying up:
    SFF 2% (this electorate makes sense to run for ‘rural’ part but don’t seeing it going to high)
    FED 0.5%

    That gives 10.5% to play with. Greens are coming indeed off a low base…
    I see them getting 8-10%. And the other 5% absorbed by lib/lab or possibly rest.
    Let’s say approx 0.8 Quota GRN/SUST/AJP vs 0.3 Quota (SFF/FED/LDM) and with Libs 0.48 over quota and u get 0.78. It’s just so close.

    All this points to really is the 2ALP 2LIB with a final shoot out between 3rd Lib and 1st Grn. It will depend on the feeders right (FED,LDM,SFF) to Libs vs feeders left (SUST,AJP) to Green. [EDIT: Also on any swings too/from ALP and LIB. ALP surplus would help GRN unless they’re spread too much.]

    3 incumbents for the liberals is going to make it hard for the greens, but with less left splintering (sxp) it should help the greens. I’m not confident either way, but if push comes to shove, I’d say it leans to a GRN Gain.

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