Australian Capital Territory 2024

Welcome to the Tally Room guide to the 2024 election for the Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly. This guide includes comprehensive coverage of each electorate’s history, geography, political situation and results of the 2020 election, as well as maps and tables showing those results.

The next election is due to be held on Saturday, 18 October.

There are profiles of all five ACT electorates. For now, four of these profiles are only available to those who sign up to support The Tally Room on Patreon for $5 or more per month. The profile of Brindabella has been unlocked as a free sample.

Table of contents:

  1. Electorates
  2. Electoral system
  3. Redistribution
  4. Political history
  5. Contact

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Electorates

There are five electorates which cover the Australian Capital Territory. Each of these electorates elects five members of the Legislative Assembly. Guides have been prepared for all five electorates. Click the links below to view each guide:

You can also use the following map to click on any electorate, and then click through to the relevant guide.

Electoral system

The ACT Legislative Assembly is elected using the Hare-Clark system, which is a version of the Single Transferable Vote. Hare-Clark is also used to elect the Tasmanian House of Assembly.

The basics of the counting system are similar to the system used to elect the Senate, and the upper houses of New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia. Each voter has a single vote. There is a quota, and any candidate who polls more than a quota distributes their surplus to other candidates. Once all surpluses have been distributed, candidates are knocked out from the bottom until the number of candidates remaining equals the number of seats left to be filled.

The details of how this system is implemented make it quite different to the system used to elect the Senate. Firstly, there is no above-the-line voting. This means that voters can only vote for individual candidates, and thus must also mark preferences for individuals. Secondly, there is no such thing as a party order. In the Senate, the party nominates a first candidate, a second candidate, and so forth, and they appear on the ballot in that order. In the ACT, different ballots show different candidates at the top of their party ticket.

This second difference, called Robson Rotation, weakens the power of the parties and strengthens the power of individual candidates. Votes cast for the party without any regard for an individual candidates are randomised between the candidates, so the candidate who can poll the most personal votes will be in the best position. It’s not unheard of for a sitting MP of one party to be defeated by another candidate of the same party.

In the past, the ACT was covered by one seven-member electorate and two five-member electorates. Since 2016, the ACT has been covered by five five-member electorates, each of which have a quota of approximately 16.7% to win a seat.

Redistribution

There were no electorates used for the first two ACT elections in 1989 and 1992.

In 1995, the new Hare-Clark system required electoral boundaries for the first time, and three electorates were created. The seven-member electorate of Molonglo covered central Canberra, Woden and Gungahlin. The five-member electorate of Brindabella covered Tuggeranong, and the five-member electorate of Ginninderra covered Belconnen.

There were minor redistributions in 2001, 2008 and 2012, but these electorates remained largely the same.

In 2014, the Legislative Assembly voted to expand its membership to 25, by creating five electorates, each represented by five members.

The subsequent redistribution kept the electorates of Brindabella and Ginninderra, although they shrunk in territory. Two new districts of Murrumbidgee (covering Weston Creek and Woden Valley) and Yerrabi (covering Gungahlin) were created. The central district of Molonglo was renamed Kurrajong, and contracted substantially to only cover the inner north, inner south and city centre of Canberra.

Redistributions prior to the 2020 election, and prior to the upcoming election, saw a trend of power shifting towards the northern suburbs of Canberra.

Prior to the 2020 election, Yerrabi contracted, with Ginninderra taking in more of the Belconnen district. These two districts were left untouched in the recent redistribution.

Amongst the other three districts, the trend saw southern electorates push north. Brindabella took in half of Kambah from Murrumbidgee for the 2020 election, and the other half for the 2024 election. Murrumbidgee then expanded north to take in parts of the inner south from Kurrajong: taking Deakin and Yarralumla first, and this time taking in Red Hill and Forrest.

You can read my summary of the recent redistribution here.

The following table summarises changes in the vote for the three main parties due to the redistribution.

Pre-redistribution Post-redistribution
Electorate Labor Liberal Greens Labor Liberal Greens
Brindabella 40.71 38.42 10.80 40.49 38.42 10.76
Ginninderra 40.00 26.73 12.51 40.00 26.73 12.51
Kurrajong 37.97 27.59 22.99 38.41 26.34 23.84
Murrumbidgee 36.06 35.57 11.73 35.65 35.96 11.80
Yerrabi 34.16 40.59 10.18 34.16 40.59 10.18

Political history

The ACT was granted self-government in 1989. An elected House of Assembly had previously existed from 1975 to 1986, but had only played an advisory role in ACT government.

The ACT Legislative Assembly was originally elected using party-list proportional representation in one ACT-wide electorate.

At the 1989 election, the ALP won five seats, the Liberal Party won four seats, and eight other seats were won by independent tickets: four seats to the Residents Rally, three seats to the No Self-Government Party, and one seat to the Abolish Self Government Coalition.

Following the election, the Labor Party formed a minority government led by Rosemary Follett. Six months later, the government was defeated, and Trevor Kaine led a minority Liberal government. Kaine governed until 1991, when a split in the Residents Rally led to Follett returning to power.

At the 1992 election, the ALP won eight seats, the Liberal Party won six, and three were won by independents. Follett’s minority Labor government governed for the entirety of the 1992-1995 term.

The electoral system was changed to the current system for the 1995 election. At that election the Liberal Party won seven seats, the ALP won six, the Greens won two, and two independents were elected. Kate Carnell formed a minority Liberal government with independent support. Carnell was re-elected in 1998, when one of the two Greens seats was lost to another conservative independent.

The ALP returned to power in 2001, when they formed a minority government led by Jon Stanhope. All three independents lost their seats, with one going to the Democrats and two going to Labor, putting Labor only one seat short of a majority.

Jon Stanhope won a second term in 2004, when Labor won a majority, with nine seats. The Liberal Party held seven seats and the Greens one.

At the 2008 election, the ALP lost two seats and the Liberal Party lost one, all of which went to the Greens. The ALP and the Greens formed an agreement to support a minority Labor government. Stanhope led the government until 2011, when he was succeeded as Chief Minister by Katy Gallagher.

At the 2012 election, both major parties gained seats at the expense of the Greens. Labor and Liberal both found themselves on eight seats each, with only one Green, Shane Rattenbury, surviving. Labor and the Greens again formed a government, this time with Rattenbury taking on a ministry.

In 2014, Gallagher stepped down as chief minister and was succeeded by Andrew Barr. Gallagher was appointed to the Senate in early 2015.

The Assembly was expanded from 17 seats to 25 seats in 2016. This was achieved by the creation of five five-member districts, replacing the previous three districts.

The 2016 election saw Labor win twelve seats, the Liberal Party win eleven, and the Greens won two seats. The Labor-Greens alliance was renewed after the 2016 election, with Rattenbury continuing to serve as a minister in the Labor-led government.

The 2020 election saw both major parties go backwards, with the Greens winning their biggest seat haul in ACT history. The Greens won six seats, alongside ten Labor and nine Liberals. The Labor-Greens government continued, now with multiple Greens ministers.

Contact

If you have a correction or an update for a single electorate page, feel free to post a comment. You can also send an email by using this form.

If you’d like me to include a candidate name or website link in my election guide, please check out my candidate information policy.

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    9 COMMENTS

    1. Don’t know, but one thing for sure is that the Liberals in act have essentially no path to win government without forming a minority with any potential teal independents who might win election.

    2. Lee could win, Barr isn’t very popular and only wins by default by “not being liberal”

      The 2012 election was incredibly close. Switch a few thousand voters to the Liberals and Zed would’ve been the chief minister in 2012. The Libs were 1 short of a majority.

      But of course that election was at the height of the unpopular federal Labor government. The government isn’t any where near as unpopular as they were in 2012, with polls often seeing Labor trail by 57-43 federally back then.

      Tough ask? Sure, but I think an “its time factor” is boiling after almost 25 years in office.

      Could Shane Rattenbury back the Liberals if they give him a better deal? I think a Turnbull like (moderate) liberal party could be in minority with the greens.

      I certainly think they could work with the liberals if they are as moderate as Kate Carnell was. They would need to offer a better deal to the greens. If it gets them in office, I see no reason why they wouldn’t attempt this.

    3. @Daniel T the ACT is very progressive though and the Labor-Greens coalition keeps Labor in power. The Liberals won’t do a deal with the Greens so they either need a majority or they need some independents which is how they got government in the ACT in 1995 and 1998. The Greens are too woke for the Liberals and that would damage their brand because Sky News would say they’re woke. I do think however that a moderate Liberal Party would be happy to form a coalition government with the teals.

    4. Agree NP, the last Liberal ACT government under Kate Carnell/Trevor Kaine secured the support of conservative or teal like independents to form a minority government. It does appear that a grassroots type teal independent movement is gathering momentum under the leadership of Kate Carnell’s daughter Clare and Tom Emerson, son of former Labor Minister Craig Emerson.

    5. @Yoh An if that party gains seats and votes then Elizabeth Lee could win. But that’s assuming that Labor loses its plurality and there aren’t enough Greens to allow the Labor-Greens coalition to continue governing in an outright majority and the teals don’t decide to back Labor and the Greens and instead decide to go with the Liberals. 25 years is a very long time though.

    6. @Caleb no, but the Labor-Greens coalition has. I didn’t say Labor had an outright majority I said Labor and the Greens together had an outright majority.

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