The Canberra Liberals have placed Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party second on its how to vote cards but is telling voters not to worry about Fraser Anning’s Conservative National Party in the Senate, where at least six boxes need to be numbered above the line.
In line with the preference deal negotiated federally with Clive Palmer, the Group E pair of Peter Walter and Rebecah Hodgson are number two after Zed Seselja and Robert Gunning, with Labor five and the Greens at the bottom on six.
The deal has been called unconscionable by Independent Anthony Pesec, who has also taken aim at Fraser Anning, urging voters to leave his candidates off the ballot.
The Liberals agree on Anning with their how to vote card, leaving Group D (Conservative National Party) blank. The Independent pairing at Group C, Anthony Pesec and former Canberra Liberals president Gary Kent, are number three.
In the Reps, Labor and the Greens are slotted at the bottom of the cards in all three seats but the UAP candidates – Tony Hanley in Bean, Greg De Main in Canberra and Glen Hodgson in Fenner – are placed second.
The Canberra Liberals did not respond to questions about preference deals but a spokesperson said: “As the Prime Minister has said, Australians will decide who the next government and next Prime Minister will be. We are arguing for people to vote Liberal.”
Labor is giving no quarter, placing the Greens’ Penny Kyburz and Emma Davidson second on its Senate card behind its pair of Katy Gallagher and Nancy Wates, followed by the Independents Pesec and Kent, relegating the Liberals to the bottom behind the UAP. Like the Libs, Group D isn’t numbered.
It’s the same situation in the Reps, with Greens second, even in Canberra where the two parties are likely to battle for the seat, and the Liberals placed last behind the UAP.
The Greens will leave it up to voters, saying they should order their preferences however they choose, but not without some direction.
“For voters who want our recommendations, we are recommending preference orders based on the policies of the other parties and candidates, especially climate policies,” a spokesperson said.
“Labor’s Senate seat is safe, and the second seat will come down to Zed or the Greens as it has in previous years. The most powerful way to replace Zed is to vote 1 Greens in the Senate.
“It is vital that we stand united as a community against the far right in this election. We are recommending that voters put the Greens first in the Senate, put Zed Seselja and the Liberals last at number 6, and leave Anning’s far-right party off their ballots entirely.”
Independent ACT Senate candidate Anthony Pesec said that he was not entering into any preference deals with any other ACT Senate candidates and would not be recommending any preferences.
“As an Independent I want my supporters to make their own decisions about where their preferences should go in the ACT Senate contest,” he said.
“Labor and the Greens have made a preference-swap deal, while the Liberals have made an unconscionable deal with Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party.
“Under the new Senate voting rules introduced prior to the 2016 election, voters have the choice of numbering at least 1-6 boxes above the line or 1-12 candidates below the line.
“Those of my supporters that are most concerned about removing hard-right Liberal Senator Zed Seselja should put him well down their list. Conversely, those who are more concerned about not electing a Labor or Greens Senator should put them well down their list.
“The one recommendation I will make is that the people of Canberra firmly reject the divisive extremism of Fraser Anning’s Conservative National Party.
“With seven groups above the line on the ACT Senate ballot, voters can cast a formal vote while leaving the Conservative National Party’s box blank.”
Pre-poll voting began on Monday and record numbers are getting in early.
The Australian Electoral Commission said almost 250,000 Australians had cast their vote at an early voting centre after two days of early voting, up strongly on the 145,000 votes cast at the same stage of the 2016 federal election.