Two moderately illuminating stories in the Canberra Times today on the Liberal Senate seat stoush.
The first is Gary Kent (former party president of the Gazza school) fulminating on all the things he coulda shoulda woulda gone and done, and still might if he had the numbers which he probably doesn’t.
This bit is worth repeating though:
There are also claims from members of the Young Liberals that Mr Seselja’s supporters were given advance notice of his plans to challenge Senator Humphries before the general membership was informed, and were asked to attend those final meetings.
The issue is Senator Humphries moribund support base hasn’t been to party meetings in the last six months to qualify themselves for the preselection vote.
The other story outlines the dreamy way gazza wandered into his own execution:
Senator Humphries has cried foul over the process, saying he was led to believe Mr Seselja would not challenge him.
He said he was only informed otherwise the night before nominations closed, which did not allow time for many party members to qualify to cast votes in the preselection. ”I’m just concerned that the very late announcement of the candidacy has effectively meant that many people have been caught unawares and can’t vote at the preselection,” he said.
So a few things that strike the neutral observer.
1) Zed’s people have been systematically taking over the party for some time. Many suspect he’s more a sock puppet than the architect of this move.
2) Gary Humphries’ supporters having not turned up for a meeting in over six months (despite an election campaign held last October) hardly seem any more legitimate as pre-selectors than the Zeddites who have been bothering to turn up.
3) Therefore when Humphries’ advocates (anyone got a catchy name for them? “Beard Enthusiasts”? Let’s go with Beard Enthusiasts) complain of branch stacking their complaint seems to be that the other side is better at it (which is usually the way).
4) What the Zeddites want from a sitting Liberal Senator in an Abbott Government is intriguing. Mental flights of fancy turn to the National Capital Authority which can certainly get quid pro quo development outcomes from the ACT Labor Government that an opposition leader cannot.
So here’s a prediction for you. Zed to get up barring nuclear warfare from the Beard Enthusiasts. Then the National Capital Authority under an Abbott Government to more closely align to the interest of the Zeddites.
If the Beard Enthusiasts do go nuclear in the courts there won’t be much of a party left by the time the smoke clears.