Senator David Smith has completed a deft pivot to contest the House of Representatives but the boilover of Saturday night’s ALP preselections count was Alicia Payne’s victory in the new central seat of Canberra.
Ms Payne, an Independent and most recently the former chief of staff to shadow families and social services minister Jenny Macklin, defeated the Left candidate and favourite John Falzon, the former CEO of the Vincent de Paul Society, the Right’s Kel Watt and Jacob Ingram, and Independent Simon Banks.
Senator Smith was intending to fight off a challenge from the woman he replaced in the Senate, Katy Gallagher, but switched to the new southern seat of Bean as soon as Member for Canberra Gai Brodtmann announced she would not contest the next election, leaving Ms Gallagher unopposed.
He defeated the Left’s Louise Crossman and Independent Taimus Werner-Gibbings.
Senator Smith told the RiotACT it was an honour to be supported by the rank and file in Bean.
“The real job remains at hand – to fight for a fairer community, for properly funded and accessible health and education and to fight for integrity in Government,” he said.
In Bean there were 261 votes cast, while 573 party members voted in Canberra.
The Member for Fenner, Dr Andrew Leigh, was unopposed in his northern seat.
In Canberra, Labor will face a concerted effort from the Greens who believe the seat’s demographics favour them.
The Greens said the preselection of Ms Payne for the seat of Canberra set the stage for a real contest of ideas at the coming election.
Greens candidate for Canberra, Tim Hollo, congratulated Ms Payne on her preselection.
“I look forward to a real contest of ideas on refugee rights, Adani’s coal mine, lifting Newstart, political donations reform and more,” he said.
“We’re hearing loud and clear that most people in Canberra want change on these issues, and that change can only happen by electing Greens.”
With the Labor and the Greens teams finalised, eyes now turn to the Liberal Party to see who puts their hands up for the three ACT seats, with Senator Zed Seselja already preselected unopposed.