Sunday, July 3, 2016

Liberal election campaign provides a second mandate for Capital Metro light rail

The genius behind this campaign will probably be sacked
By any assessment the Liberal Partys very odd 'Put Labor and Greens last' anti-light rail campaign has been a gross waste of Liberal campaign money. Canberrans voting at this election did send a message on light rail, and that message is - they want it

Despite trying to link the light rail project to federal politics, the Liberal party has failed to increase its vote in the ACT. At this time, the two lower house ACT ALP seats have been returned, and appear increased their vote. 

"ACT politicians used the federal campaign to test key messages and policies, treating it as a precursor to the territory election.

Light rail was a key issue for the Liberals during the campaign, despite it being a local issue and a policy of the ACT Labor government that would not be impacted by a change in federal government.

The party used pictures of the tram in campaign material, urging voters opposed to project not to vote for ACT Labor senator and former chief minister Katy Gallagher.

Late last week, Greens senate candidate Christina Hobbs vowed to invest $400 million for stage two of the tram to Russell if elected, claiming to was a "transformational city-building project".

In turn, Mr Seselja accused the Greens of being focused on "fantasy rather than reality" linking their campaign platform to ACT MLA Shane Rattenbury's "vanity project"

Mr Rattenbury, who watched the election results with Ms Hobbs in Kingston, said the result was positive and showed the Greens could win up to five seats in October.

"The Liberals tried to run hard the light rail issue hard this week but we have seen a swing to us across the board of 2.5 to 3 per cent, so it's not working," he said.

"There is very little polling done in the ACT and this is the best polling we've had since the last election. It shows that the green vote has bounced back from the 2012 election."

ACT Opposition Leader Jeremy Hanson was scrutineering votes and unavailable for comment on Saturday night."

The senate vote is yet to be confirmed although in a worrying sign for the Liberal campaign, ABC Online reports that:

"ALP senator Katy Gallagher has secured enough votes to be returned, however incumbent Liberal senator Zed Seselja is yet to reach a quota."
You can only put one of them last - voting results indicate people put the Liberals last
The Canberra Liberals manic obsession with the Capital Metro light rail project has seen them drag their sole federal representative, Senator Zed Seselja into a territory issue. In the last week of campaigning, advertising aimed at making a vote for the Liberals a form of referendum on light rail was pushed heavily. 

By any assessment, that campaign has been a failure. If anything, the ALP has increased its federal vote in the ACT, and applying the logic of the Liberal campaign, that adds a second mandate for Capital Metro.

The ALP Member for Fenner, Andrew Leigh, observed that the Liberals' attempt to draw in ACT political issues had not helped them:
"Many Liberals at the poll booths said a vote for Labor was a vote for light rail, so the Liberals should acknowledge tomorrow Canberrans have voted for it."

The lack of interest in ACT infrastructure spending by the federal branch of both the ALP and the Liberals was an odd feature of the campaign, with only the Greens promising to spend 400 million on a second stage of light rail. Despite this, the October Assembly election is only a few months away, and as it is unlikely that the federal government (of any variety) will contribute to Canberras public tramsport infrastructure, it is likely that the local ALP government will be returned.

As well as this website, the facebook group 'Light Rail for Canberra' carries frequent updates on Capital Metro and light rail related news. 

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