Carnell re-elected chief minister

March 25, 1998

By Sue Bull

CANBERRA — Few here were surprised to see Liberal leader Kate Carnell re-elected as chief minister in the ACT. Her massive personal vote, the ALP's abysmal performance and "independent" Michael Moore's obsequious devotion assured her the job.

More significant were the actions of the Greens' Kerrie Tucker and the right-wing, law-and-order Osborne Independents. Tucker put herself forward as a candidate for chief minister. "I am nominating myself for chief minister in order to make a very clear statement about my dissatisfaction with the choice I face today", she said. As a result, the Greens will not suffer the severe criticism they faced after the last election when they supported the Liberals.

Paul Osborne and Dave Rugendyke from the Osborne Independents split their votes, with one voting for Carnell and one for Tucker. Osborne said this was to get Carnell across the line but also to put her on notice. They did not clarify what exactly they were putting Carnell on notice for.

There has been much discussion about Osborne's inclination towards the ALP right wing. Osborne has said that he is traditionally a Labor voter, but not when the "socialist left" is in control.

Interestingly, the socialist left of the ALP is no longer in control of the Labor caucus. Two socialist lefts were elected, two right-wingers and two independent faction members. Wayne Berry did not recontest the leadership. Independent faction members and former Kim Beazley aide Jon Stanhope won the position, with ALP right-winger Ted Quinlan taking the deputy's position.

The ALP has been very careful not to make any commitments on any issues and appears content to wear the criticisms of its earlier left rhetoric.

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