Canberra still a Labor city despite national result


Tessa Grimes

The new member for Canberra, Alicia Payne, speaks to reporters after claiming victory.

Labor has taken a clean sweep of the seats in the ACT winning the electorates of Canberra, Fenner and Bean.

Alicia Payne will be the new member for Canberra, Andrew Leigh retained the seat of Fenner with a largely unchanged majority and David Smith won the newly-named seat of Bean in the south.

In the seat of Canberra, the threat from the Greens did not materialise even though the party increased its primary vote by five per cent. Labor increased its two-party preferred vote in the seat while the Liberal Party lost five per cent.

For Alicia Payne, it will be her first term in parliament.

“Thrilled and very, very humbled,” was her reaction.

“Very honoured that the people of Canberra have put their trust in me and looking forward to getting to work and standing up for them and continuing the conversation on the very important issues they’ve raised with me over the past few months.

“There’s lots of people I’ve promised to meet with to discuss things further with…, lots of people I’ve promised to follow up on issues for, so I’ll get straight on to that.”

Mr Leigh said he was honoured to be returned for a fourth term as member for Fenner.

“I’ve always seen being a federal parliamentarian an honour and never a right and you go out there and you argue for every vote,” he said.

“I think being positive really resonates with Canberrans. We have a positive plan for the public service, for infrastructure and for schools, for hospitals.

“We weren’t driving black trucks around putting up black signs by the side of the road, with lies about the other side.”

Mr Leigh had a view about the disappointing national vote for Labor.

“Clearly Scott Morrison’s smear and fear campaign has worked as well as he’d hoped.”

“He didn’t have a record of his own to run on, he didn’t have a strong budget to run on. Instead he decided he would just run a relentless fear campaign and its bitten in certain parts of the country.”

David Smith will be the first representative for the seat of Bean in Canberra’s south. Mr Smith will move from the Senate where he had only spent 12 months after replacing Katy Gallagher who was found to be ineligible to sit in parliament.

Ms Gallagher, with her citizenship status rectified, has been returned to the Senate. The ACT’s other Senate representative is the Liberal Party’s Zed Seselja.