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ACT government

In the ACT, we have a Legislative Assembly which is comprised of 17 members elected by three multi-member electorates. This is because no matter how you would slice the territory up, the Labor party would win all the seats in a single-member electorate system.

The problem comes when someone retires. This happened recently, when Chief Minister Jon Stanhope retired. The procedure is to run an automatic run-off election, using the results from the last election in 2008. The next one is not due until next year.

Of course, 2008 was a long time ago. When recounted, with Stanhope's votes redistributed to the voters' next preferences, the next most popular candidate was a guy called David Peebles. Unfortunately, he had recently accepted a posting to the Solomon Islands. He turned the politician job down. Next came a dentist called Chris Bourke. He was doing work in remote areas and it took a long time to find him. For a while it looked like he would be passed over in favour of Adina Cirson, a ministerial staffer. However, with some effort, they managed to find Bourke and he accepted the job. He becomes the ACT government's first aboriginal member.

Assembly welcomes first Indigenous MLA

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