Hargreaves wonders if independent Senate challenger has the goods

John Hargreaves 30 April 2019 43
a photo of a restaurant menu wall in the town of Sapa in Northern Vietnam

A photo of a restaurant menu wall in the town of Sapa in Northern Vietnam.

Firstly, confession time. I’m a long-time Labor guy and I’m keen on seeing success for my tribe at the next election. My active campaigning focus is on the House of Reps and not so much on the Senate: I’m hoping that my friend David Smith will succeed Gai Brodtmann as the inaugural member for Bean (how I hate this name – should have been Namadgi).

The picture above is a photo of a restaurant menu wall in the town of Sapa in Northern Vietnam I visited in February 2009. Now, who could resist taking a snap of this little pearler? Nine years later, it pretty much sums up the mood I’m sensing in punter land.

The history of the Senate in the ACT is that the Liberals and Labor get one each. The Libs got a scare when Democrat Rick Farley was parachuted in. The Greens have always harboured a hope that they could get in on Labor’s second preferences.

But nah! The Greens’ homeland is only central Canberra and not Canberra-wide. When Simon Sheikh ran, he didn’t ripple the bathwater. So, I thought that history would repeat itself until just a few weeks ago.

Katy Gallagher will easily get in, with Labor’s second candidate doing very well for a first timer. But who to be elected next? For all those political insomniacs out there, have you ever been introduced to someone whom you wish you could recruit to your cause because they look the goods? Well, I did. Imagine my horror!

Genevieve Jacobs did an article in RiotACT recently on a dark horse in the race, one Anthony Pesec. I read the article and thought, oh yeah, another idealist who will give it a good shot and fade away. But then I met the guy. I’m not so sure anymore that Pesec will be just another statistic.

Pesec is an independent in the race. A small ‘l’ liberal whose politics are left leaning on social and environmental issues but a pragmatic on economic issues. We see a youngish bloke with decent environmental history, particularly in investment. In a town like ours, this is really important and a rarity.

Pesec grew up in Weston Creek and is well regarded in the community, particularly the Croatian Community. Handy that!

My spies tell me that Zed is on the nose in the Croatian community largely due to being MIA. Polling conducted for UnionsACT at the end of January shows 58 per cent of the voters in the ACT disapprove of him, but he needs 33 per cent. He’s on all sorts of thin ice.

So can Pesec take out Zed?

To be successful in politics, a connection with the voters is necessary. Tick for Pesec and ‘?’ for Zed.

Also, you’ll need something to stand for. Pesec has environmental and financial creds and a desire to defend his home town. Zed is an Assistant Minister in a Government which has taken jobs out of Canberra and led the charge in Canberra bashing, not to mention opposing the marriage equality legislation.

Pesec has no ‘baggage’ that I know of. Political naivety perhaps. No bad thing sometimes but he is no novice in dealing with hard people on hard issues. Zed is a former Liberal Leader of the Legislative Assembly Opposition who did what?

I’ve complained about the ankle-deep talent pool in both parties but here’s a bloke I would dearly love to recruit to my Party. Unfortunately, that won’t happen.

He is a breath of fresh air and if elected, will vote more times with Labor than Zed. I hope the pic is right.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not reflect the position of Region Media.

Region Media’s election coverage policy can be found here.

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43 Responses to Hargreaves wonders if independent Senate challenger has the goods
Capital Retro Capital Retro 11:54 am 04 May 19

I can’t believe all the hate and bile that is being directed at Zed. He must have run over a lot of family pets around Canberra to deserve this.

Kind of contradicts the claim that Canberrans are the best educated and most tolerant people in Australia.

Helen Kvalheim Stephenson Helen Kvalheim Stephenson 8:11 am 04 May 19

Be with it just to get rid of the Zed!

Lucy Baker Lucy Baker 9:14 am 02 May 19

According to The Australian, Pesec is one of the “faux independent Modern Liberals” in disguise – funded by Malcolm Turnbull’s disruptor son Alex.

    Anthony Pesec Anthony Pesec 3:48 pm 02 May 19

    I’m not sure what ‘faux independent Modern Liberal’ is supposed to mean. I’m economically conservative but want real and urgent action on climate change and to restore trust in federal politics through the establishment of a comprehensive National Integrity Commission with retrospective powers.

Illy Roumian Illy Roumian 8:59 am 02 May 19

Does ‘pragmatic on economic issues’ means neoliberal now? He is against franking credit reforms. Billions of dollars a year which we have to borrow to pay. I would prefer more social workers and nurses in parliament than investment bankers or party apparatchiks.

    James Daniels James Daniels 11:27 am 02 May 19

    Labor's franking credit changes address a symptom and not the root of what they see as a problem - wealthy retirees paying little to no tax. They will hit low & middle income earners proportionally harder than high income earners. They will disadvantage investing in business compared to investing in property or other investments, weakening our economy and reducing housing affordability. Self managed super funds will lose most or all of their franking credits while industry funds will retain most of theirs, so its a clear attack on people's choice to manage their own retirement rather than pay others to do so. The institutional members of Labor (Unions) have officials holding board seats on industry funds and earn revenue from those appointments. Changes to the tax system that push people towards industry funds are a clear conflict of interest for Labor.

    Alex Satrapa Alex Satrapa 12:23 pm 04 May 19

    Which middle and low income earners are getting franking credit refunds on zero taxable income?

    James Daniels James Daniels 11:11 am 05 May 19

    Alex Satrapa its not just zero taxable income, but any taxable income where the average marginal rate is under the compay tax rate can be affected. Let's start with small business owners trying to live off past profits while they're trying to ride out a downturn in business due to a nearby major construction project or while they're taking risks and trying to expand the business. I saved and bought some shares while I was still studying and working part time so I would have been impacted. Retirees drawing down super pensions of 50-80K p.a. are middle income and they'll be hit proportionally harder than retirees drawing down larger pensions. Someone who has been injured and unable to work and living off the earnings from investing a modest lump sum compensation payout. Someone who is burned out, stressed or depressed and unable to work any longer but has been able to save enough they're not eligible for government assistance and can just scrape by on investment earnings. Someone who has some savings and had to stop working early to look after a sick or disabled relative again having too much they're not eligible for government assistance. The bottom line is that high income earners are subject to a higher average tax rate than low & middle income earners. They will therefore receive more benefits from franking credits under Labor's changes than lower income earners.

Justin Watson Justin Watson 8:39 pm 01 May 19

We just need to do two things. Vote Robert Gunning ahead of Zed Seselja. Then if you can vote for a good independent first, then put your favourite party ahead of your less favourite parties. Putting the second Liberal candidate ahead of the first means we will get a better Liberal candidate than Zed if the Liberals win the seat. It actually happened in Tasmania at the last election when the local liberals promoted a candidate ahead of a sitting member that was liked, so she managed to get voters to preference her ahead of the other person and got elected from 4th position ahead of the 3rd position candidate. Also voting for an independent first doesn't waste your vote, but it sends a message that Canberra isn't a safe Labor and Liberal seat in the senate and to stop taking us for granted.

Julia Graczyk Julia Graczyk 7:41 pm 01 May 19

It's a big ask to win that second ACT Senate seat from the Liberals. But I agree Pesec is an interesting prospect for the reasons in the article. It will be a good race to watch.

Hans Dimpel Hans Dimpel 7:40 pm 01 May 19

A vote for Seselja is a vote for Dutton as Pm and Barnaby Joyce as deputy PM and further cuts to ACT jobs as they move departments out of Canberra. Vote independent\, and the Canberra Bashing will end.

Helen Kvalheim Stephenson Helen Kvalheim Stephenson 7:13 pm 01 May 19

Be with it just to get rid of the Zed!

John Moulis John Moulis 3:45 pm 01 May 19

I’d like to know who is financing Pesec. Corflutes, flyers, ads. More than I’ve seen for the local Liberals or Labor.

Pesec is saying he is an alternative to Zed but he is pushing the same “climate change” c@#p as Labor and The Greens. In a post “climate change” society where the latest poll says that 53% of Australians no longer believe in the discredited theory, the last thing we need is more of the same. We’re over it.

If there is an alternative to Zed it would have to be a conservative without the homophobia to maintain the left-right balance in the Senate. I refuse to countenance the possibility of wall to wall left wing “climate change” representation in Parliament in the ACT when there are a lot of people here who do not subscribe to that doctrine.

    Anthony Pesec Anthony Pesec 4:36 pm 01 May 19

    Hi John – I am mostly self-funded, though I have also received a modest financial contribution from Alex Turnbull and a number of small donations from individuals across Canberra. Unlike the lies that the Canberra Liberals have been spreading, I have absolutely no association with, nor am I receiving any funding from any of the following:
    – GetUp
    – UnionsACT
    – ALP (nor any other political party)

    Anthony Pesec

    Capital Retro Capital Retro 5:27 pm 01 May 19

    Who is Alex Turnbull?

    Camm Camm 7:30 pm 01 May 19

    Malcolm Turnbull’s son.

    Capital Retro Capital Retro 8:17 am 02 May 19

    Well, if one of the Turnbulls is involved, Mr Pesec is actually a Labor candidate.

    Anthony Pesec Anthony Pesec 2:01 pm 02 May 19

    Please note that my running mate is the former, and longest-serving, President of the Canberra Liberals, Gary Kent. I am strongly opposed to a number of Labor policies including their flawed policy on franking credits and the changes to negative gearing which I think are highly risky in an already falling property market.

    Capital Retro Capital Retro 4:20 pm 02 May 19

    Both Gary Kent and the Turnbulls have an axe to grind with the Liberals. With respect, you are a bit naive if you didn’t know that.

    GaryKent GaryKent 10:41 pm 02 May 19

    Dear Capital Retro

    How about letting the readers of Riotact into the big secret of your special connection with the Canberra Liberals? Hundreds of loaded posts over many years but no transparency. I still have the record as the longest serving Liberal President and am proud of my achievements in this role. But the Division of which I was proud to lead no longer provides an effective opposition to the ACT Government or effective Federal parliamentary representation. It has effectively been taken over by a gang of hard right careerists who have destroyed its corporate governance and electability. I am proud to support Anthony Pesec, a self-made man with real life experience and business success and a passion for important issues like climate change and Territory rights. For me, at least, the quality and integrity of our parliamentary representatives is paramount.

    Capital Retro Capital Retro 7:34 am 03 May 19

    Like you, I have no connection with the Canberra Liberals.

    Like you, I do have an axe to grind with them. Thanks for confirming your position.

    Garfield Garfield 3:52 pm 02 May 19

    Great attitude Capital Retro, if someone doesn’t support the Liberals they must be Labor. I’ve never voted Labor in my life, but recently I’m finding it very hard to vote Liberal. I support letting people choose how to live their own lives, which is called liberalism, but too many in the Liberal party don’t seem to, being opposed to issues like gay marriage and voluntary euthanasia. I approach climate change as a scientific issue that conservatives should be working towards mitigating, because a big part of conservatism is about being prepared for potential challenges, but instead too many Liberals are in denial or claim its some conspiracy to get grant funding. Shorten’s economic and tax policies will damage the economy, cost jobs and reduce standards of living, but the Liberals keep moving further away from the centre and many long term voters like me. I feel as though I’ve been abandoned by my party and am sitting in a gaping chasm between 2 unattractive options. Having Alex Turnbull support some moderate independent candidates gives me a choice and some hope for the future. The Liberal party needs to remember its a broad based major party and cater to the sensible centre, or its going to be in opposition for a long time while Shorten messes up the country.

    longlunch longlunch 6:04 pm 02 May 19

    Couldn’t agree more Garfield. I also have always voted Liberal (except for a short time when I lived in a rural area and voted Nationals) and never voted Labor in my life, but now I am really struggling with what our once great party has become.

    Sir Robert named it ‘Liberals’ deliberately as he did not want it to be a Conservative Party. Unfortunately it has now been hijacked by a very noisy minority.

    I have absolutely zero time for Corey Bernadi but I can at least respect the fact that his views were not in line with traditional Liberal Party philosophy (or voters) so he left and formed his own Conservative Party. I wish the rest of his ilk (Dutton, Abbot, Zed, Sukkar, Corman, Hastie and a few others) actually had the strength of their convictions and did the same so our party could get back to its roots.

    Gilavon Gilavon 6:33 am 02 May 19

    Alex Turnbull is Malcolm’s son, he’s a Singapore-based merchant banker. He’s doing his best to destroy the Libs, financing independents. Like his father he’s venting his spleen on the Libs for sacking his dad.

    Capital Retro Capital Retro 11:45 am 02 May 19

    I thought offshore funding for political candidates in Australia had been banned.

    Anthony Pesec Anthony Pesec 1:59 pm 02 May 19

    Alex Turnbull is an Australian citizen. The foreign donations ban only applies to entities that are controlled by, or related, to foreign governments.

    Camm Camm 7:32 pm 01 May 19

    If you’re going to spout crap, at least try to be factual.

    The annual Lowy Institute Poll on Australian attitudes to the world and global issues for 2018 showed that only 10% of Australians think Climate Change is crap, 59% think its serious, and 31% thinking it is an issue that should be dealt with.


    John Moulis John Moulis 3:08 am 03 May 19

    The Lowy Institute is a left wing think tank and cannot be taken seriously. The poll I cited was independent and not push-polling by “climate change” activists.

    JS9 JS9 10:12 am 03 May 19

    Care to provide an actual link to the poll then John?

    John Moulis John Moulis 12:07 pm 03 May 19

    It was all over the media last year. I’m not a geek, I don’t keep links. It was reported in the Daily Telegraph, The Australian, and Andrew Bolt wrote a column about it so I assume it was a Newspoll. Scroll through Andrew Bolt’s articles and you will find it.

    JS9 JS9 12:52 pm 06 May 19

    Your the one that raised it John – you should find the link – or did you just magically remember the 53% number off the top of your head? Or is it just like many other statistics out there?

    The only 53% i could find related with any climate change research from last year was the 53% in this report: http://www.tai.org.au/sites/default/files/180911%20-%20Climate%20of%20the%20Nation%202018%20%5BPRINT%5D.pdf

    Which found 53% of people though Government weren’t doing enough.

    And you whine about a left wing think tank that you consider can’t be taken seriously, but then suggest Andrew Bolt is the source of your information…..

    Gavan Kelly Gavan Kelly 9:16 pm 05 May 19

    Reported Turnbull son Alex.Lib in disguise

bikhet bikhet 3:27 pm 01 May 19

I’ve heard nothing from the Liberal candidate for Bean (and I like the name) but would have voted for them regardless in preference to Brodtmann who was a nullity as a local representative. On the few times I met her she always gave me the impression she thought she had better things to do than talk to voters. So far Smith has been missing in action too, so don’t know much about him.

The recycled Gallagher will probably get in, more’s the pity, but I’ll be voting for Pesec, if for no other reason than to give Zed a poke in the eye.

Kent Street Kent Street 1:31 pm 01 May 19

“Polling conducted for UnionsACT”
Who would trust those results when it comes to anything to do with Zed.
This is the same organisation that had their foot soldiers out a few weeks back handing out ‘Dump Zed’ pamphlets.
Might as well have a “Fraser Anning conducted poll” on the popularity of certain religions.

    Garfield Garfield 3:49 pm 01 May 19

    The poll was conducted by a professional polling firm, not Unions ACT themselves. I know someone who was polled and the first question straight up was who do you intend to vote for in the Senate for the ACT? There were no lead up questions prior to that to try and manufacture a result the unions wanted.

Capital Retro Capital Retro 1:00 pm 01 May 19

“Zed is a former Liberal Leader of the Legislative Assembly Opposition who did what?”

It’s hard to “do anything” when in opposition so I’m trying hard to remember also what you did John, when you were in government and a minister at that..

    bikhet bikhet 3:15 pm 01 May 19

    Banned fireworks!

    Kent Street Kent Street 3:18 pm 01 May 19

    Well, I can remember him screwing up the GDE and then peddling untruths about it.

    Kent Street Kent Street 8:00 pm 03 May 19

    referring to John Hargreaves screwing up the GDE, that is.

    watto23 watto23 8:44 pm 01 May 19

    He lost the 2012 election, so spat the dummy, quit the local ACT government and then took the job of hardworking Gary Humphries who stood up for Canberra. Since then all we’ve had is someone who refuses to say anything against the Liberal party policies that affect this city and has done nothing of note for this city while being in federal government. He is a politician in it for himself and thinks he can do whatever he wants until he decides to retire. The sooner we get rid of him the better off Canberra will be.

    longlunch longlunch 9:47 pm 01 May 19

    One thing he did do in the Legislative Assembly was betray the people who voted for him to do a job representing them.

    They elected him on the understanding that he would perform the job he was elected to do, but less than a year later he decided to quit that job.

    I’ll give him credit though, since then he has at least been consistent in betraying the people who elect him…he has not once stood up for Canberra or reflected the wishes of those who elected him!

    Garfield Garfield 3:32 pm 02 May 19

    Less than a year? He was quietly rallying his supporters to win the preselection from Gary Humphries less than 3 months after he was elected at the 2012 ACT election.

    Maelinar Maelinar 3:06 pm 02 May 19

    Hargreaves was behind those stupid Txt and ub next signs as well that serve no discernible purpose other than to confuse me until my vehicle has passed them.

    From memory the fireworks ban was because of his personal cat. Sensible decision making in action right there on display.

    Both of these were just a few months before he retired.

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