Fenner – Australia 2022

ALP 10.6%

Incumbent MP
Andrew Leigh, since 2016. Previously member for Fraser 2010-2016.

Geography
Fenner covers the northern suburbs of Canberra. Fenner covers the entirety of Gungahlin, and the Belconnen suburbs of Belconnen, Dunlop, Evatt, Flynn, Fraser, Higgins, Holt, Macgregor, Macnamara, Page, Scullin, Spence and Strathnairn. Fenner also covers the Jervis Bay Territory.

History
The Australian Capital Territory first elected an MP from 1949 onwards, although this MP was only given full voting rights in 1968.

Fraser 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

Fraser was held by John Langmore from 1984 to 1996. Langmore resigned in late 1996 and was replaced by Steve Dargavel at a 1997 by-election.

Dargavel’s parliamentary career was short-lived, with Namadgi being abolished at the 1998 election. Dargavel was defeated for preselection by Bob McMullan, then member for the neighbouring seat of Canberra.

Bob McMullan served four terms in Fraser in addition to his one term in Canberra, and retired in 2010.

The seat was won in 2010 by ANU economics professor Andrew Leigh, running for thext Labor Party. Leigh has been re-elected three times. The seat was renamed ‘Fenner’ in 2016.

Candidates

  • Andrew Leigh (Labor)
  • Nathan Kuster (Liberal)
  • Timothy Elton (United Australia)
  • Lucia Grant (One Nation)
  • Natasa Sojic (Greens)
  • Guy Jakeman (Liberal Democrats)
  • Assessment
    Fenner is a safe Labor seat.

    2019 result

    CandidatePartyVotes%Swing
    Andrew Leigh Labor 38,86444.9-1.1
    Leanne Castley Liberal 30,02534.7+1.4
    Andrew Braddock Greens 12,49214.4+1.4
    Glen HodgsonUnited Australia Party3,5294.1+4.1
    Kagiso RatlhaganeProgressives1,7232.0+2.0
    Informal2,6693.00.0

    2019 two-party-preferred result

    CandidatePartyVotes%Swing
    Andrew Leigh Labor 52,46260.6-1.3
    Leanne Castley Liberal 34,17139.4+1.3

    Booth breakdown

    Polling places in Fenner have been divided into three areas: Belconnen North, Belconnen South and Gungahlin.

    The Labor two-party-preferred vote ranged from 59.5% in Gungahlin to 68.7% in Belconnen South.

    The Greens vote ranged from 14.4% in Gungahlin to 18.6% in Belconnen South.

    Voter groupGRN prim %ALP 2PP %Total votes% of votes
    Gungahlin14.459.522,05025.5
    Belconnen South18.668.712,38114.3
    Belconnen North16.063.810,36212.0
    Pre-poll12.257.934,13839.4
    Other votes15.158.07,7028.9

    Election results in Oxley at the 2019 federal election
    Toggle between two-party-preferred votes and primary votes for Labor, the Liberal National Party and the Greens.

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    4 COMMENTS

    1. As no-one else has commented here, best I talk about my own seat. This is relatively safe ALP territory, and there appears to be a natural ceiling here to both Liberal and Green support.

      The area stretches from the 1970’s era suburbs of Belconnen to the urban fringe suburbs of Gungahlin, the oldest of which date from the late 1990s but have been massively boosted by immigration in the past 15 years.

      Housing types vary from large houses on large blocks in Belconnen and some Gungahlin suburbs through to tiny dog kennel apartments in both Town Centres, and similar along Flemington Road (locally known as the “Great Wall” due both for it stretching for kilometres along the tram route and for the preponderance of recent migrants and international students).

      One thing not usually widely known is how high the population turnover is here; I would estimate it’s at least 15% annually. That means a lot of people who pay tax but don’t really connect to the local community or its politics.
      The Gungahlin area is also multicultural, with large South Asian and Chinese communities.

      Debt levels here are very high relative to income and child care costs are an issue. The impact of COVID-19 has been mixed; property values and rents have skyrocketed, meaning that although the Great Wall apartments are full, many of them have moved out of the rental market. It’s not foreign students buying them, so local hospitality and other businesses just cannot find staff – and the students can’t find anywhere they can afford to live.

      While not directly relevant, the local ACT member is a Green (Andrew Braddock) who was elected on preferences in 2019. But a lack of local professional employment limits the Green vote; Gungahlin is a dormitory suburb despite the best efforts of the Gungahlin Community Council to change this. An economic downturn would hit this area very hard indeed.

      Andrew Leigh is a reasonable local member, but doesn’t have to work too hard at it. The Liberals have been uncompetitive for many years, I think in large part because the membership is more conservative than the average small-l liberal Canberran.

      I think Leigh will likely hold the seat but may lose 1-2% in the process, as ACT voters understand preferences pretty well.

      The ACT Senate race is really where the interest is this election.

    2. The best Green areas in Belconnen are in the Canberra electorate. It’s almost perfectly drawn to do that.

      Greens have some potential in the two town centres, along the light rail corridor and in Page/Scullin, but not enough to mount a winnable campaign. They did well to get up MLAs in both Belconnen and Gungahlin (1 of 5 in each). Braddock in particular was very lucky to be elected coming up though the middle of a local swing to Liberals. Both candidates also benefited from strong booths in Canberra (Kaleen and Giralang for Yerrabi).

      Greens won’t be able to even overtake the Liberals (who will never do well here) until they start doing well in traditional ALP areas and multicultural areas, and their traditionally left policies start cutting through. If Greens start getting in the mid teens in Western Sydney, then Fenner is in the frame.

      I suspect Greens will do well from Pocock and Rubenstein voters as well as a general territory wide swing, but it will be more muted than Canberra.

    3. Leigh got screwed over a lot by factional bastardry and a genuine shame he won’t be Treasurer, as he actually has an economic background unlike Chalmers.
      Will be interesting to see if he at least becomes Finance Minister

    4. ON candidate Lucia Grant was arrested yesterday. Not sure further details as it’s paywalled, article in Canberra Times.

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