Former Goulburn Mulwaree Mayor Geoff Kettle has failed in his ACT election bid.
Mr Kettle stood for Richard Farmer’s party, Canberra Community Voters, in Saturday’s ACT Legislative Assembly election.
Standing in the seat of Ginninderra, taking in Belconnen, he polled 253 votes or 0.6 per cent for the seat. He was one of five candidates from the party for Ginninderra.
Labor’s Yvette Berry won the electorate convincingly with 4473 votes.
Mr Kettle said the swing against the major parties he expected simply didn’t materialise.
He stepped down from the council in August after seven years. Mr Kettle had moved to Canberra, where his partner worked, in February.
He previously told The Post that Mr Farmer approached him just eight days before he decided to step down, ahead of the September council election.
At that time he said he had a “more than sporting chance” in Ginninderra.
But on Monday he said while polling indicated a backlash against the major parties and support for independents, the numbers on Saturday didn’t reflect this.
‘I’m surprised because from what I was hearing on the ground, people were looking for change and indicated they would support me,” Mr Kettle said.
“But in the ACT, people voted along party lines. They may have given me their preferences but it’s pretty well red, blue and green in the ACT.”
A regulation forbidding candidates from campaigning within 100 metres of a polling booth had complicated matters.
“I’m disappointed for the ACT Liberals who were very upbeat about a change of government,” Mr Kettle said.
“I’m also disappointed for business people who encouraged me to stand because they were sick and tired of the Labor Government’s policies.
However he was encouraged by Chief Minister Andrew Barr’s comments to look at the “smelly” aspects coming out of Canberra and to work with the Liberals to progress projects, including light rail.
As for the future, Mr Kettle is looking for a job.
After a short spell he will seek work in the private sector, public service or with a non-government organisation.
He previously lived and worked in the ACT. During the election campaign Mr Kettle said he’d also formed numerous business contacts.
“I’m well entrenched in Canberra and I’m confident I’ll find something,” he said.
Mr Kettle said he didn’t regret his decision to step down from the council but still maintained a keen interest in Goulburn and district issues. He was in “constant” contact with Mayor Bob Kirk.
He resigned from the Liberal Party to contest the ACT election and was undecided whether to rejoin.
Mr Kettle didn’t rule out a future political tilt.
“Never say never,” he told The Post.
”If I land a senior bureaucratic role with the ACT government I’d be very happy. If I’m still here in four years I may have another go. (at election.)