ACT election 2020: Barr, Coe and Rattenbury make final pitch to voters ahead of ACT election
Alistair Coe will need to defy the experts and bookmakers to defeat Labor and lead the Liberals into government for the first time in almost 20 years.
Andrew Barr's ACT Labor will enter Saturday's election count slightly favoured to win another term in minority government, although both major parties are expecting a tight result which will hinge on a few thousands votes in battleground electorates.
The Labor, Canberra Liberals and Greens leaders made their final pitch to voters on Friday, with only about 80,000 people left to cast their ballot following the rush of early voting through the campaign.
After casting his vote alongside wife Yasmin and two children, Mr Coe performed one final campaign stunt on Friday morning, pulling a frozen rates bill from a blue esky.
Alistair Coe with his latest prop. Picture: Matt Loxton
Mr Coe has said the party's ambitious suite of promises, including a four-year residential rates freeze, could be achieved through increasing population growth.
The Opposition Leader has come under scrutiny throughout the campaign for repeatedly failing to answer questions at his daily press conferences and not submitting key policies for treasury costing.
The Liberals leader was coy when asked if the party could win Saturday's election, repeating rehearsed lines about the Labor government being tired and old while saying the result would be close.
"Over the past six weeks the Canberra Liberals have been putting forward our positive plan for the ACT," Mr Coe said.
"Canberrans have a choice. It's a clear choice between the fresh vision of the Canberra Liberals, or more of the old, tired, high-taxing, declining services of the Labor-Greens coalition."
Making his election-eve pitch from inside the light rail depot in Mitchell, Mr Barr said Canberrans yet to cast their vote had a choice between his experienced and progressive party or Mr Coe's inexperienced and conservative team.
"In a year that has been quite extraordinary, now is a very important time for people to determine who is in government and what the role of government is," he said.
"During this year of bushfires, of catastrophic hailstorms and of a global pandemic ... we have led the territory well, with compassion and with strength of leadership. We have kept this community safe during some of the most traumatic events that people have experienced in their lives.
"I go into this final 24 hours, asking those people who are yet to make up their mind, to place trust in ACT Labor to deliver for them."
Mr Barr ridiculed Mr Coe's use of Boris Johnson-inspired stunts in recent weeks, suggesting his opponent had used the campaign "more as an audition to be a stunt man than to take the leading role of Chief Minister of the ACT".
Mr Coe defended the tactic, saying the Liberals would use "every option at their disposal" to communicate their message.
Greens leader Shane Rattenbury said he was optimistic about the Greens' chance on Saturday. Picture: Elesa Kurtz
Mr Rattenbury said he was "quietly optimistic" the Greens would perform strongly on Saturday, based on the progressive party's showing at last year's federal election.
Observers of ACT politics believe Saturday's outcome will hinge on results in the electorates of Murrumbidgee, which covers Woden and Weston Creek, and Yerrabi, in Gungahlin.
The Liberals will most likely need to pick up a third seat in both of those electorates in order secure a 13-seat majority.
John Warhurst, an emeritus professor of political science at ANU, expected Saturday's result would be tight, but predicated Labor would win enough seats to form another minority government with the Greens.
"The nature of ACT elections is that they are always close, but I just can't see the momentum there for the Liberals to win that 13th seat," professor Warhurst said.
Betting agencies had Labor a clear favourite on Friday afternoon.
Labor was at $1.15 on Sportsbet, and $1.14 on TAB. The Liberals were a $5 and $5.25 outsider with the respective agencies.