12 May 2022

Gallagher rallies supporters as Independent push spooks Labor

| Ian Bushnell
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Senator Katy Gallagher and Independent David Pocock

Senator Katy Gallagher and Independent David Pocock face off at the Region Media Senate Candidates Debate. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

Labor Senator Katy Gallagher has sounded a warning to those who see her longtime Liberal rival Senator Zed Seselja being washed away by an Independent wave.

While polling initially showed Senator Seselja leaked support to David Pocock, the second instalment of the Climate 200-commissioned phone survey found Senator Gallagher’s primary vote had shrunk from 35 per cent to 27 per cent, with Liberal backing rising a point to 25 per cent and Pocock surging into third place at 21 per cent.

That’s spooked the Labor camp, who fear the so-called progressive vote is fracturing and putting their previously unassailable charge in danger.

As a senior frontbencher, Senator Gallagher has spent much of the campaign outside the ACT travelling with Leader Anthony Albanese, but now she acknowledges her path back to the Senate may not be so straightforward and Mr Pocock may be more of a threat to her than Senator Seselja.

“I don’t think it’s a contest between David Pocock and Zed Seselja; I think the battle is in the centre with the progressive vote,” she says.

Senator Gallagher says she has never taken voters or her Senate seat for granted and welcomes more people running for office and more people taking an interest in the contest.

“I don’t think I’ve ever thought in my time in politics that you own a seat or that that seat is yours and therefore nobody else should ever be able to represent the community,” she says.

READ ALSO Momentum with Pocock as new poll points to Senate upset

But now Senator Gallagher, who has had time off recently to have a skin cancer removed from her nose, faces a tougher end to the campaign than anyone predicted.

“I’m going to have to campaign hard right to the 21st to seek the support of the community and that’s I guess the nature of campaigns,” she says.

“I’m up for it and I’m hoping that I’ll be able to get Canberrans’ support for continuing in the Senate.”

She hasn’t seen any internal Labor polling and plays down the role polling in general plays in elections, particularly after what happened in 2019.

The focus should be on the policies, she says.

“We’ve never had polling in the ACT in my whole time in the Assembly,” Senator Gallagher says.

“We never had standard polling that was done every month. You know, you make good decisions based on good policy and you work with the community. That’s the way you’re a good government.

“But I think people are wrong to see this just as a Pocock versus Seselja battle. I don’t think that’s where the contest is.”

So should she have spent more time in Canberra defending her Senate seat?

READ ALSO Katy v Zed, a field of diverse candidates and a big question over our second Senate seat

She accepts her senior responsibilities have split her time, not to mention the surgery and that it has been a balancing act.

“So I’ve got a job as campaign spokesperson, which has taken a bit of a backseat in the last week for obvious reasons,” Senator Gallagher says.

“But I’ve also got a job as the finance shadow so I obviously need to brief the leader. But people see me around the place, they know I’m in Canberra and they provide me with full and frank advice most times I’m out and about, and I think it’s just a balance.

“I’ve been here as much as I can, but I do have other calls on my time.”

The Senate race will go to preferences and Labor has preferenced Mr Pocock and the other Independent ahead of the Greens.

The Greens have listed Professor Rubenstein’s party, Kim 4 Canberra second, Mr Pocock third and Labor fifth.

It’s understood Mr Pocock will suggest voter preferences flow to Professor Rubenstein.

The immensely popular Senator Gallagher remains the firm favourite to be the first to secure a quota and retain her seat.

It would be a boilover if Senator Seselja were to lose his seat. The odds are he will get back on preferences, particularly from the United Australia Party.

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Seselja and gallagher are just party hacks – a pity the independent candidates are of such poor quality – a south african footballer (pocock) and radical feminist human rights lawyer (rubenstein) – instead of quotas for indigenous and female MPs we need to make it easier for ordinary decent people to be elected

I am suspicious of those anti Pocock ads that are flooding the internet. They appear so lame, laughable and naïve, and people are laughing at them. However, what if they aren’t so naive, but cleverly designed to split the progressive vote in an effort to save Seselja.

HiddenDragon6:32 pm 12 May 22

We’ll know it’s serious when the Murdoch empire feels the need to do something like this for Senator Gallagher –


The contest definitely is between Pocock and Seselja.
According to Sporstbet, both are now on about the same odds to take the second ACT seat. Odds on Pocock are 2.00 (=50% chance of winning) and on Seselja 1.80 (=55% chance of winning).
Sportbet gives a 5% chance (21.00) of both Seselja and Pocock being elected, which means Katy G. can stay home every day watching Netflix and still get in.
Both Ladbrokes and Sportsbet show the ALP with a +70% chance of forming the next Government, Coalition a 30% chance. Similar to 2019.

Thanks for the interesting perspective on projected results. I assume that the other independent Kim Rubenstein is out of the running according to the bookies? Gee it’s almost worth a ten-er on a Coalition victory at those odds (only 30% chance).

At todays odds a $100 bet on a Coalition win gives a potential return of $320.
Minor point: All bets carry over if the Gov General does not swear in a PM because supply cannot be guaranteed.

Thanks for the link, Acton – some interesting options in the betting. I guess this is the ultimate example of putting your money where your mouth is LOL

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