Australian Capital Territory to hold legislative election

Today, the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) will hold its tenth election for the Legislative Assembly since gaining self-governance in 1989.

Australian House of Representatives, Parliament of Australia, Canberra, Australia / 2019 Australian federal election

Photo: JJ Harrison / Wikimedia Commons

Today, the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) will hold its tenth election for the Legislative Assembly since gaining self-governance in 1989. Canberra voters will elect the 25 members of the unicameral assembly to decide which party will form the territory’s next government.

The incumbent Labor Party led by Chief Minister Andrew Barr is seeking to win re-election for a sixth term and is opposed by Liberal Opposition leader Alistair Coe. While the Labor Party has governed the ACT since 2001, its victories were rarely overwhelming and have often left the environmentalist Australian Greens in a kingmaker position.

The importance of this election lies in the fact that ACT has pioneered a number of reforms, notably in human rights and environment protection, which have inspired federal level policymakers. However, this year’s vote will take place following massive bushfires, the COVID-19 pandemic and the global recession—voters’ focus will inevitably be on these pressing issues, particularly as the next bushfire season approaches.

Although the Canberra economy has been hit hard, given that most of the policies promoted by the Labor-Greens government have largely been popular within the ACT, expect Barr to win another four year term.