Brindabella – ACT 2024

Incumbent MPs

  • Joy Burch (Labor), since 2008.
  • Mick Gentleman (Labor), since 2012. Previously 2004-2008.
  • Nicole Lawder (Liberal), since 2013.
  • Laura Nuttall (Greens), since 2023.1
  • Mark Parton (Liberal), since 2016.

1Nuttall filled a casual vacancy caused by the resignation of Johnathan Davis in November 2023.

Geography
Brindabella covers the outer southern suburbs of Canberra. Brindabella largely covers the Tuggeranong district, including Gordon, Conder, Calwell, Fadden, Kambah, Macarthur and Wanniassa. 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 slightly north, taking in the remainder of Kambah from Murrumbidgee.

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.

The Liberal Party lost their third seat in 2020, with the Greens winning a seat in Brindabella, along with two members each from Labor and Liberal.

Candidates
Sitting Liberal MP Nicole Lawder and sitting Labor MP Joy Burch are not running for re-election.

Assessment
The two major parties have consistently won two seats each at every election since 1995 and that will likely continue. The Greens seat in Brindabella is extremely marginal and could be vulnerable to either Labor or Liberal. Davis managed to avoid being knocked out by the third Labor candidate by just 0.09 quotas.

It’s possible the Greens could gain a further swing towards them and solidify their position, although they did very well for Brindabella in 2020 and will be competing in 2024 with a new MLA without much of an incumbency advantage. But if the Greens vote stays where it is, a relatively small swing in favour of either Liberal or Labor would put that party in a position to take the final seat from the Greens.

2020 result

2020 election Redistribution
Party Votes % Quota Swing % Quota
Labor 22,560 40.7 2.443 +6.6 40.5 2.430
Liberal 21,290 38.4 2.305 -3.1 38.4 2.305
Greens 5,985 10.8 0.648 +5.4 10.8 0.645
Shooters, Fishers and Farmers 1,727 3.1 0.187 +3.1 3.1 0.185
Sustainable Australia 1,277 2.3 0.138 +0.8 2.3 0.136
Animal Justice 1,235 2.2 0.134 -0.2 2.2 0.132
Liberal Democrats 745 1.3 0.081 -1.0 1.2 0.075
Federation Party 594 1.1 0.064 +1.1 1 0.060
Others 0.5 0.032
Informal 1,005 1.8

2020 preference flows

Let’s fast forward until there are twelve candidates left in the race. This includes all Labor and Liberal candidates, and two Greens candidates. No candidates had reached quota by this point.

  • Joy Burch (ALP) – 0.748 quotas
  • Mick Gentleman (ALP) – 0.741
  • Mark Parton (LIB) – 0.727
  • Nicole Lawder (LIB) – 0.688
  • Andrew Wall (LIB) – 0.544
  • Taimus Werner-Gibbings (ALP) – 0.529
  • Johnathan Davis (GRN) – 0.429
  • Laura Nuttall (GRN) – 0.313
  • Cathy Day (ALP) – 0.306
  • Jane Hiatt (LIB) – 0.303
  • Brendan Forde (ALP) – 0.301
  • James Daniels (LIB) – 0.272

Daniels’ preferences split between the other four Liberals, in particular Parton, Lawder and Wall:

  • Parton (LIB) – 0.790
  • Burch (ALP) – 0.751
  • Lawder (LIB) – 0.749
  • Gentleman (ALP) – 0.745
  • Wall (LIB) – 0.609
  • Werner-Gibbings (ALP) – 0.537
  • Davis (GRN) – 0.432
  • Hiatt (LIB) – 0.351
  • Nuttall (GRN) – 0.316
  • Day (ALP) – 0.309
  • Forde (ALP) – 0.303

Forde’s preferences split fairly evenly between the four remaining Labor candidates, with a stronger flow to Burch and Gentleman:

  • Burch (ALP) – 0.814
  • Gentleman (ALP) – 0.808
  • Parton (LIB) – 0.796
  • Lawder (LIB) – 0.761
  • Wall (LIB) – 0.616
  • Werner-Gibbings (ALP) – 0.593
  • Davis (GRN) – 0.448
  • Day (ALP) – 0.363
  • Hiatt (LIB) – 0.354
  • Nuttall (GRN) – 0.326

Nuttall’s preferences flowed strongly to Davis, pushing him into the top five:

  • Burch (ALP) – 0.836
  • Gentleman (ALP) – 0.817
  • Parton (LIB) – 0.799
  • Lawder (LIB) – 0.771
  • Davis (GRN) – 0.678
  • Wall (LIB) – 0.619
  • Werner-Gibbings (ALP) – 0.604
  • Day (ALP) – 0.377
  • Hiatt (LIB) – 0.361

Hiatt’s preferences flowed to the remaining three Liberals, with Lawder doing particularly well:

  • Lawder (LIB) – 0.893
  • Parton (LIB) – 0.888
  • Burch (ALP) – 0.852
  • Gentleman (ALP) – 0.824
  • Wall (LIB) – 0.709
  • Davis (GRN) – 0.684
  • Werner-Gibbings (ALP) – 0.608
  • Day (ALP) – 0.383

Day’s preferences then split between the last three remaining Labor candidates, particularly favouring Burch:

  • Burch (ALP) – 0.984
  • Lawder (LIB) – 0.906
  • Gentleman (ALP) – 0.899
  • Parton (LIB) – 0.897
  • Wall (LIB) – 0.716
  • Davis (GRN) – 0.713
  • Werner-Gibbings (ALP) – 0.704

Third Labor candidate Werner-Gibbings was then knocked out, narrowly behind the Greens’ Davis. His preferences mostly split evenly between Burch and Gentleman, electing both of them, but also gave Davis a boost:

  • Burch (ALP) – 1.243
  • Gentleman (ALP) – 1.157
  • Lawder (LIB) – 0.930
  • Parton (LIB) – 0.915
  • Davis (GRN) – 0.786
  • Wall (LIB) – 0.730

A majority of the Labor surplus exhausted, but enough preferences flowed to Davis to push him well ahead of third Liberal candidate Wall:

  • Lawder (LIB) – 0.946
  • Parton (LIB) – 0.930
  • Davis (GRN) – 0.929
  • Wall (LIB) – 0.739

Booth breakdown

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

Labor topped the poll in three out of four areas, with a primary vote ranging from 39.2% in the north-west to 41.8% in the centre.

The Liberal Party topped the poll in the north-east with 41.7%, and otherwise ranged from 35% in the north-west to 39.2% in the south.

The Greens polled 9.2% in the north-east and south, along with 11.2% in the centre and 13% in the north-west.

Voter group ALP % LIB % GRN % Total votes % of votes
Central 41.8 37.9 11.2 18,797 31.5
South 41.0 39.2 9.2 12,222 20.5
North East 39.2 41.7 9.2 12,108 20.3
North West 39.4 35.0 13.0 5,040 8.4
Other pre-poll 41.4 34.7 13.0 6,748 11.3
Other votes 37.3 38.8 11.5 4,784 8.0

Election results in Brindabella at the 2020 ACT election
Toggle between primary votes for the Labor Party, Liberal Party and the Greens.

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7 COMMENTS

  1. Substantial turnover of members – Nicole Lauder from the Liberals is not standing again. Joy Burch Labor is reportedly not standing again. Greens candidate replacing Jonathan Davis will be relatively unknown. Persistent rumours that Mick Gentleman, Labor is under pressure not to stand again.

  2. Lots of shenanigans in Labor pre-selection for Brindabella to ensure they meet the quotas for womenhttps://www.canberratimes.com.au/story/8436149/act-labors-top-preselection-performer-dumped-in-quota-quarrel/?cs=14329. Laura Nuttall seems likely to win the count back for the Greens seat in Brindabella

  3. According to her bio, Nuttall is from Richardson, a booth which had a 2.6% Green vote in 2016. She was one of Davis’ staffers for most of his term so should be able to pick up where he left off with constituents.

    I think Greens should be able to retain the seat, but as 2016 shows there is no floor for their vote here.

  4. There’s no need for polling because it will be another easy Labor-Greens win. The Liberals’ anti-tram stance will contribute to that. Also, public servants are a key pro-Labor demographic just like retirees are a key pro-Coalition demographic. The former make up a lot of Canberra’s population.

  5. Due to the election page being closed for comments, am posting this here:
    -Two new party registrations approved recently, they are:
    Independents for Canberra [Registered 9th March 2024]
    Family First Party (ACT) [Registered 14th May 2024]

    Ind for CBR seems a bit of a mixture of Flux Democracy/The Local Network with their 10 Principles. (One candidate currently mentioned, that for Ginninderra.) Brings the current list of parties for the ACT election to 14! (Apparently same number of parties as last election, with Federation and Climate Change Justice being those missing from last time.)

    Hard to see either of these two having much impact, but FFP could make a dent on Liberals. This is especially so in a seat like Brindabella, which is more conducive demographics wise to the right spectrum of politics.

  6. @Politics_Obsessed probably best to think of Independents for Canberra as something of a teal party, given one of the founders is a staffer in David Pocock’s office and the son of former Labor minister Craig Emerson, whilst the other is the daughter of former Liberal Chief Minister Kate Carnell. Definitely get strong teal vibes from them.

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