ACT Labor Chief Minister Andrew Barr has claimed victory in the territory election and said Canberra had voted to build light rail in the national capital.
ABC election analyst Antony Green said the most likely outcome would be that Labor held 13 seats in the 25–seat ACT Legislative Assembly.
Claiming victory on Saturday night, Mr Barr spoke to a rapturous Labor crowd, amid chants of “four more years”, and “build the tram”.
“We’re not going to know the final outcome of the election tonight, but what we do know is that Canberrans have voted for another Labor government,” he said.
“Canberrans have voted for a positive vision for our city.
“Tonight we can confidently say that Canberra has voted for light rail.”
— Rohan Thomson (@rohanthomson) October 15, 2016
About three and a half hours after the polls closed in Canberra, Liberal Leader Jeremy Hanson addressed his party headquarters, conceding it would be “difficult for the Liberals to form government”.
“It is the case that it is very difficult for us to form government and we have to acknowledge that from here it is unlikely that we will do so,” he said.
“I have spoken to Chief Minister Andrew Barr and I have congratulated him, because it is likely now that there will be a continuation of a Labor-Greens coalition in Canberra.”
Mr Hanson praised his deputy Alistair Coe, who had prosecuted the case against light rail as the party’s transport spokesman.
“He made the case exceptionally well — but perhaps not well enough in terms of the result tonight — but I do thank you for your support my friend,” he said.
“Not all of the candidates will be joining us in the Assembly, a number will be. It’s yet to be determined who they will be, but I congratulate all of you.”
Jeremy Hanson laid out a mean, small, negative vision for Canberra. Very sad. #ACTVotes
— Alexander White (@alexanderwhite) October 12, 2016
Labor has held government in the ACT over four successive terms since 2001 and Mr Barr has ruled since late 2014.
Mr Barr, his opponent, Liberal Leader Jeremy Hanson, and ACT Greens Leader Shane Rattenbury have all been returned, as have Labor MLA Meegan Fitzharris and Deputy Liberal Leader Alistair Coe.