Saturday, October 11, 2008

Get up to speed on the ACT election

It's next Saturday, and it is likely to further change Australia's political landscape.

On The National Interest, midday Sunday on ABC Radio National Peter Mares will interview both the present Chief Minister - Labor's John Stanhope and his opponent, the Liberal's Zed Seselja. They are good interviews which give a good introduction to the campaign - which you might need because you might have to vote (voting is compulsory, as in all Australian elections).

I know they are good interviews because I have already heard them! - The Natioanl Interest is first broadcast Friday afternoons at 6.00pm - and the audio is already here on the web, available to listen to. You can also download the whole program.

I chaired a community meeting attended by about 20 candidates on Wednesday organised by the Gungahlin Community Council. Jonathon Reynolds has published both the video and the audio on the web here.

I thought the Labor team was tired, dispirited, and I wondered why they even wanted to continue governing. The Liberals were much more together, and most of the smaller party candidates seemed great.

The highlight (for me) was the collection of answers to my question about whether each candidate would support banning political donations of more than a certain size - say $2,000...

Every Labor candidate but one said "no". Every Liberal candidate but one said "yes" (!) and as far as I could make out every other candidate said yes.

Let's hope something happens.

The ACT has multimember electorates, so who you vote for from the party of your choice is important.

My favourites were Mike Hettinger (the only Labor candidate against large political donations), Labor's Andrew Barr, the Liberals Zed Seselja and Clinton White, Frank Pangello and his team, and Democrat Greg Tannahill.

Tannahill particularly impressed me. He "currently works supervising creation of court and parliamentary transcripts". He said that meant he had spent hours listening to ACT Leglislative Assembly debates and had become convinced that he could do better than the members there. My sort of guy.

If you are free this Tuesday lunchtime, attend the Leaders Debate - Seselja vs Stanhope; 12.30 pm to 1.30 pm in the Reception Room, ACT Legislative Assembly, Civic Square, London Circuit, Canberra City. I'll try to be there. After all, I'll have to vote.