If you’ve driven, walked, or scooted around Canberra over the past few weeks, you won’t have been able to avoid the smiling faces of the ACT’s Senate candidates. With only days to go, it’s time to put some names to those faces.
But first …
How many Senators represent the ACT?
There are two seats in the Senate for ACT representatives.
The Constitution guarantees states an equal number of seats in the Senate (currently 12 each) but territories were only granted Senate representation in 1975. And only two spots each. Which is why the ACT and the NT both have a significantly fewer seats than, say, Victoria or Tasmania.
Who currently represents the ACT in the Senate?
The two major parties — the Liberal Party and the Australian Labor Party — currently hold the ACT’s two Senate seats, and both of these Senators are seeking re-election on Saturday.
Katy Gallagher (Labor)
Former ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher has been a Senator since 2015 and she is currently Shadow Minister for Finance and the Public Service.
Zed Seselja (Liberal)
Like Katy Gallagher, Senator Zed Seselja previously sat in the ACT Legislative Assembly, serving as the Territory’s Opposition Leader from 2007 to 2013. He is currently the Minister for International Development and the Pacific.
Who else is running for the Senate?
The outcome of the ACT’s Senate race has traditionally been assumed to be reasonably safe. But in 2022, there appears to be a genuine contest brewing, largely due to the arrival of popular independents.
While there are many other names on the ballot paper, these three candidates represent the greatest threat to the two major parties.
David Pocock (Independent)
He may be a familiar face to Canberrans, but probably not for political reasons. Former professional rugby union player and conservationist David Pocock is running for the Senate, promising “new voices in politics that stand up for their communities and our shared future.”
Kim Rubenstein (Independent)
Another high profile independent, Kim Rubenstien, is a constitutional law expert and Co-Director of the 50/50 by 2030 Foundation. She has pledged to work towards gender equality and “fast track action on global warming”.
Dr Tjanara Goreng Goreng (The Greens)
Wakka Wakka woman, academic and former public servant, Dr Tjanara Goreng Goreng, is running as The Greens’ candidate. Dr Goreng Goreng says she would bring a unique perspective to the Senate as a First Nations woman.
And the rest
To see a full list of the ACT Senate candidates, check out the Australian Electoral Commission’s website.