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Zed messing up the factions with his push

By 5 February 2013 7

Crikey have had a poke at the Gary Humphries knifing.

It’s interesting to consider that at the Parliamentary level the conservative Zed is squeezing the numbers of the moderates.

The grip of the big-C Conservatives on the federal Coalition may be about to tighten, with moderate ACT Liberal Senator Gary Humphries likely to be rolled in a preselection by a man seen by some as a youthful Tony Abbott wannabe.

Local ACT Liberal leader Zed Seselja yesterday ended months of claiming he wouldn’t challenge Humphries for the party’s number one ACT Senate spot by standing down to contest Senate preselection on February 23. The ACT elects two senators for three-year terms; the first seat will likely go to Labor’s Kate Lundy while the second will go to the Liberals or the Greens.

ACT Liberal circles are abuzz at the Seselja raid, and almost all party insiders think he’ll have the numbers to roll Humphries. That’s likely to mean one less bum on a seat for Liberal moderates in the Senate, and one more conservative one.

Seselja is a 35-year-old Right-leaning Catholic who pulled in a surprisingly strong result in last year’s ACT election and has a solid following in the territory’s party branches, which are Right-leaning and dominated by a religious power clique. But Humphries won’t go down without a fight, and Seselja’s raid on a sitting senator has annoyed some?—?particularly moderates?—?within the federal party. Seselja and Humphries met in secret to discuss the challenge on Sunday night.

“Gary’s really disappointed,” an insider told Crikey. “It’s going to get nasty. Gary’s a fighter, he’s a career politician and I can assure you he’s not going to walk away. He’s in the fight of his political life.”

Humphries has sat in the Senate since 2003. He famously became the first Liberal senator to cross the floor in the life of the Howard government, when he voted with the then-opposition in 2006 to defend the right of the ACT Parliament to enact same-s-x union laws. Humphries has also been relatively outspoken on the impact on Canberra of the Liberals’ proposed sweeping cuts to the federal public service. Seselja is seen as being less likely to depart from the party line than Humphries; he’s an admirer of Abbott.

Abbott yesterday supported Humphries in the preselection stoush, telling Fairfax: “As a former chief minister, Gary has been an outstanding advocate for the ACT and contributor to my shadow ministry. He has my support.”

However, a federal Liberal insider told Crikey Abbott had to publicly side with Humphries because of the drama over Julia Gillard’s “captain’s pick” of Nova Peris against sitting NT Labor Senator Trish Crossin. The source speculated Abbott was unlikely to seriously intervene to help Humphries.

(Article continues on Crikey)

I also love Zed’s line about maximising the Senate vote, because the party cares more about he vote than they do about the number of seats! (Said no-one, ever)

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7 Responses to Zed messing up the factions with his push
#1
chewy1410:34 pm, 05 Feb 13

I particularly liked how Crikey slipped in the possibility of the Greens winning the second senate seat.

LOL.

#2
enrique8:10 am, 06 Feb 13

“Abbott yesterday supported Humphries in the preselection stoush”

By publicly supporting Gary I reckon this means Abbott believes Zed will get the numbers. This way he can see his old party-mate off in a publicly palatable manner, e.g. ‘sorry old chap, I didn’t really want to see you go like that”, and they can stay friends to call in favours later when they need to… and then in the same breath he can turn around and welcome the new bloke Zed to the team while still pressing him a bit to earn his stripes, i.e. ‘welcome aboard young fella, you’ve got to work hard here to prove your worth but I know you’ll be up to it’

Working as a politician must suck – you’d be forever on guard due to all the game playing and bullying (oops, I mean ‘toe-ing the party line’)

#3
schmeah10:17 am, 06 Feb 13

I really hope the claims the Greens may win the senate spot have been included just for entertainment purposes. As much as Gary is a do-nothing goof ball, at least both he and Zed can actually claim to be from Canberra, unlike that blow-in from the Greens.

I’d vote for the Liberals (never) before I voted for someone whose been flown in on a celebrity ticket.

#4
Alderney10:30 am, 06 Feb 13

Humphries isn’t quite dead yet.

Unless that is Abbott indicates that Gary has his total support, then he truly is a goner.

#5
neanderthalsis10:53 am, 06 Feb 13

I still don’t quite get how anyone can seriously consider the Greens as a contender for a Senate seat. Given that they copped a thumping on the back of a significant conservative shift in the local election and they have proven to be generally useless in the current federal parliament, the thinking part of the ACT electorate is unlikely to vote Green over Liberal. If anything, they will split the Labor vote, which on preference allocations means that again we will end up with one Lab, one Lib.

#6
pierce12:18 pm, 06 Feb 13

People bang on about Humphries crossing the floor on the same-sex marriage vote but there was never any risk that this action was going to change the result – I can’t help but wonder if he would have been allowed to do so had it been a vote changer.

#7
Tetranitrate12:29 pm, 06 Feb 13

neanderthalsis said :

I still don’t quite get how anyone can seriously consider the Greens as a contender for a Senate seat. Given that they copped a thumping on the back of a significant conservative shift in the local election and they have proven to be generally useless in the current federal parliament, the thinking part of the ACT electorate is unlikely to vote Green over Liberal. If anything, they will split the Labor vote, which on preference allocations means that again we will end up with one Lab, one Lib.

As I mentioned in another thread, the libs last fell under quota in 1998 – and that was a perfect storm, against a strong *Democrat* candidate.
The greens by and large won’t take votes directly from the liberals, rather from Labor, so what’s actually needed more than anything to plausibly take the seat for the Greens is a Liberal to Labor swing that puts the Libs far enough under quota that minor party preferences and leakage can’t put them back over.

It doesn’t matter if the Greens break 25 or 27% of the vote – unless there’s a swing away from the liberals, they’re just going to be pulling more from Labor. There’s also a limit to how far it can go before the ALP starts worrying. Just before the 2007 election there was a rumor going around that their internal polling showed the ALP senate seat in danger (which is plausible if their internals had a margin for error of 5+%), causing them to pull out of the getup led effort to unseat Humphries.

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