24 May 2022

Independent's Day: Senator Pocock will be good for Canberra

| Ian Bushnell
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David Pocock

David Pocock appears to have done the impossible. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

David Pocock’s achievement in the ACT Senate race is a tremendous result for him personally, for Canberra, and is the wake-up call the local Liberal Party needed.

The second Senate seat will go to preferences, but the great majority of them will flow one way – to Mr Pocock, who is less than 2,000 votes behind Senator Zed Seselja, who is pinning his slim hopes on pre-polls and postal votes.

I thought it couldn’t be done.

But cometh the hour, cometh the man.

Perhaps it could have also been cometh the woman, with the Greens’ Tjanara Goreng Goreng and the other Independent Kim Rubenstein in the mix to exploit the palpable antipathy towards Zed Seselja and join the clutch of women Independents that so decimated the Liberals’ blue-ribbon seats.

READ MORE Liberals poised to lose all ACT representation as historic Pocock upset in Senate looms

Senator Seselja’s opponents ticked off on the key issues – climate change, integrity, territory rights and a fair share of infrastructure spending.

But Mr Pocock brought something extra to the campaign, charisma if you like, a strong, articulate and dignified presence in the face of dirty campaign attacks via corflutes or robocalls, and a highly mobilised support team.

Leadership on the football field does not always translate to other arenas, but the former Wallaby skipper showed that his skillset extended beyond rugby.

I suspect that the more people Mr Pocock met, the more he impressed, and that clearly developed momentum.

Mr Pocock has “presence”, doesn’t appear to be easily fazed. In the ruck and maul of the new Senate, where the crossbenchers will be able to wield considerable power, he should be able to find friends, make alliances, negotiate firmly and deliver for Canberra.

Don’t expect rivers of cash to flow for a new convention centre or stadium, although let’s not rule them out, but given the ACT’s new political landscape, it will be in the Albanese Government’s interests to keep Mr Pocock on side and not take Canberra for granted, as the previous government so obviously did.

It will certainly also help to have Senator Katy Gallagher as a senior minister, and the pair of them should make formidable advocates for Canberra, along with the Labor MPs.

Labor is likely to reach 76 seats to form a majority government, but there will still be a big crossbench. In the Senate, where legislation lives and dies, the Greens and Independents will hold the whip hand, although they will certainly not operate as a bloc.

The new government will have to collaborate, compromise, make deals, be creative and become a problem solver, something Mr Albanese is not new to and appears to already understand.

Throughout the campaign, some, particularly the usual suspects in the Murdoch press, argued this would mean chaos and instability.

(And a word of warning to Mr Albanese, don’t pay much attention to those foaming mouths who will try to corral the new government while plotting its downfall from day one.)

READ ALSO Local Liberals have nobody but themselves to blame for the Zed disaster

It may get messy, real democracy usually is, but out of it could come good, inclusive policy and a change from the zero-sum game that pitted people against each other and meant a decade has gone by without any movement on key issues.

Mr Pocock says he is committed to a different way of doing politics, and while on the surface he may seem the antithesis of the professional women who took their revenge on the Prime Minister on election night, he will bring his own brand of soft power to the Parliament.

He is a diversity champion who called out homophobia on the rugby field. He supported same-sex marriage and backs women’s rights and gender equity.

He is also committed to an anti-corruption commission, sustainability and greater action on climate change.

Mr Pocock, while being his own man, will not be out of place among those other Independents and Greens coming into the Parliament.

His success, therefore, is part of a bigger change in the Australian polity. During the campaign, when it became apparent that Mr Pocock did indeed pose a threat to the status quo, I said that if he did manage to pull it off the result would have to be part of a seismic shift in the political landscape.

That earthquake has come to pass.

It opens up a whole range of new possibilities – for Canberra and the nation it serves.

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A Nonny Mouse5:27 pm 26 May 22

At last enough people have woken up and we have had the climate election. I hope the government is emboldened to get on with ambitious climate action. We can be proud that Australia should no longer be a hand-brake on international action.

You might be rich enough for the sky high prices coming our way, but many aren’t. They can’t afford solar, or EVs

HiddenDragon7:22 pm 23 May 22

The federal ALP governments elected in 1929, 1972, 1983 and 2007 (the WW2 government being a somewhat different set of circumstances) were all mugged by economic reality.

Only one of those governments had the skill, cohesion and, to some degree, good fortune, to survive and prosper politically in tough economic times. It remains to be seen how well the Albanese government will deal with what is coming Australia’s way, but the expectations it has raised, particularly by following the LNP claim that we can simply grow our way out of massive national debt (while also pretending that none of that debt was due to the commitments and spending trajectory bequeathed by Rudd and Gillard), mean that it will have a lot of explaining to do to disillusioned voters when the honeymoon is over.

With that sort of background, if David Pocock can get even one or two small wins for the ACT, he may be around for some time – by 2025, the ACT Liberals are unlikely to have redeemed themselves in the eyes of sufficient numbers of ACT voters, and Katy Gallagher will be tarnished by some of the nasty medicine she will inevitably have to dispense as Finance Minister.

The ABC was reporting yesterday that it appears that the ALP will need support of the Greens AND Jacqui Lambie’s expected 2 seats, to pass their legislation or the support of the LNP.
Given that Albo has said he won’t do deals with the Greens, it would appear that he’ll be negotiating with the LNP.

I’m just not sure how Mr Pocock becomes relevant or a benefit to Canberra?

@kenbehrens I didn’t hear the ABC report, but it’s a ludicrous proposition that the government would negotiate with the opposition before exhausting the possibility of securing cross bench support. If (and it still remains if) Pocock is successful, his single vote will be very much alive, as was Jacqui Lambie’s vote in the previous parliament – especially if Albo sticks to his stance on not negotiating with the Greens.

Just Saying,
Not sure if you’re aware of the likely Senate makeup but if we just base it on current projections, Labor would hold 26 votes and the Greens 12.

If that was the case, Pocock and Lambie become irrelevant because the ALP would need either the Libs or the Greens (or to split them which is unlikely)

Hopefully the Greens only get 11 or the ALP get 25. Then Pococks vote might hold significant value.

Although as a politician of “integrity and principles” surely he wouldn’t compromise his values to get bribes for supplying that vote. You know, the very type of behaviour he was campaigning against…..

Check your own math on the likely makeup … 26 Labor plus 12 Greens = 38 … which is half of the total of Senators (76) … therefore Lambie’s or Pocock’s vote is very much in play … assuming Labor won’t negotiate with Malcolm Roberts the continuing One Nation Senator
… and as I’ve said on so many occasions – it’s your opinion (read previous statements that your opinion doesn’t interest me) that negotiation is a bribe

Just Saying, it’s not my opinion, it’s Pocock’s own Statements on his position on integrity and principled government opposed to the previous government.

Or are you saying we shouldn’t believe what he said before the election becaise he was just trying to get elected?

Actually, come to think of it, that fits nicely. Pocock should fit right in.

As I’ve always said.

I don’t say this lightly – but now you are just lying. Yes he did take a stance on integrity and principled government, but where did he ever say that he would “… get bribes for supplying (his vote) … ” – which has been your argument all along.

Just Saying, I’ve already explained this to you and then asked specific questions of you. You then conveniently disappeared. So I’ll ask them again.

Pocock has said that he wants to do politics differently and bring integrity and principled government back.

But then on the other hand he has promoted things like getting a new stadium for Canberra and higher infrastructure spending here, despite robust assessment methodologies already being in place for such things.

So how exactly does he get that additional funding without compromising on his values and principles?

What does he trade?

Because if those projects and spending already made sense, they would already be funded.

So he either drops the pretence around being different than other politicians or he won’t achieve anything.

If he purely argued for more integrity and better assessment structures, he couldn’t then take the populist route of claiming he will get additional spending for things like stadiums.

The positions are mutually exclusive.

It’s the exact same problem the Greens have had in the past, if they stick to their pure ideological positions, they achieve nothing. If they compromise, they might achieve things but would have to admit that pragmatism trumped ideology.

I’m happy if Pocock gets in and is an extreme opportunist to benefit Canberra. But it would make it clear the election bluster was just that.

Simple question. Where did he say on his website he would “get bribes for supplying (his vote) … ”?

For someone who’s Just Saying, you sure do a lot of dodging simple questions.

Bribe : noun

“money or favor given or promised in order to influence the judgment or conduct of a person in a position of trust”.

Once again, what is Pocock going to give up

You are the one dodging. I’ve called you a liar. Prove you are not by answering my simple question:
Where did he say on his website he would “get bribes for supplying (his vote) … ”?

Just Saying,
What on earth are you on about? Where have I claimed he said anything about getting bribes for supplying his vote on his website?

If you claim I am lying, provide a direct quote and link please. However We both know that no such statements exist. What was that about lying?

Also strange that you’ve previously talked about corruption by other political parties here, does it only count if they announce their hypocrisy on their websites?

I’ve spelled out the logical position above and previously as to why Pococks statements around integrity and principled government don’t mesh with his other populist statements to get elected. The points that you continually dodge and the questions you refuse to answer (it’s obvious why).

I also find it hilarious for you to claim this when you personally said that Jacqui Lambie was the example of how independents can exercise power. You know, the same Jacqui Lambie that has regularly bargained her vote on issues she had previously opposed in the exact way I’ve described.


You stated your (unsubstantiated) opinion that if Pocock negotiates with the government and achieves an outcome, then he’s getting a bribe. When challenged you further stated that it’s his position on integrity and principled government.

Let’s just look at the facts of who said what.

You stated, as an addendum to a comment about the relevancy of Pocock’s vote:
“Although as a politician of “integrity and principles” surely he wouldn’t compromise his values to get bribes for supplying that vote” (chewy14, 8:54 pm 24 May 22)

To which, after shooting down your mathematical gaff in that post, I replied: “…it’s your opinion (read previous statements that your opinion doesn’t interest me) that negotiation is a bribe” (JustSaying, 10:59 pm 24 May 22)

And you came back with: “… it’s not my opinion, it’s Pocock’s own Statements on his position on integrity and principled government …” (chewy1, 48:26 am 25 May 22)

I haven’t fabricated anything.

Just Saying,
Thanks for confirming that you can’t substantiate you claim that I said anything like your claim of:

“Where did he say on his website he would “get bribes for supplying (his vote) … ”?”

Well done.

I’ve provided the logical progression of the points repeatedly, to which you’ve provided no counter.

How exactly does Pocock achieve his stated goals without compromising his own position of integrity and principled government?

And if you do want specifics from his website, perhaps you should read it?

In particular, from his own website.

“My commitment
The practice of pork-barrelling marginal seats at the expense of genuine needs-based investment in so-called ‘safe’ seats like Canberra has got to stop.

So it would seem he is directly against pork barrelling and supportive of needs based investment yes?

But then on the same page, he reiterates his push for new stadiums, convention centres etc. being made a priority for Federal Funding.

He also said our housing debt should be wiped.

All things that have either been thoroughly assessed as unviable or have no benefits analysis completed. All things where no true “needs based assessment” has been made. We have an entire Federal government department to thoroughly assess these things you know.

He also references these types of facilities in other states as “good” examples, when most of them were literally were only funded because of the pork barrelling he claims to oppose.

So which is it? Pork barrelling is bad? Or perfectly fine as long as we are the ones getting it?

Should we have needs based assessments with well structured methodologies or should we push unviable projects because it benefits us?

You can’t have it both ways.

Well actually I suppose you can, but it makes you a hypocrite exactly like almost every other politician.


I gave you the proof you demanded that you stated he would “get bribes for supplying (his vote)” but you choose not to accept it. That’s fine – because, as I have pointed out on many occasions, I don’t care what you think. You are an irrelevant nobody, where as, Pocock is potentially the next Senator for the ACT, which makes him a relevant somebody – particularly if he is successful and does become the second representative for the ACT in the Senate.

You suggest that the initiatives he has stated he will pursue are not worthy/viable of pursuing … well that’s also fine, because you are entitled to your opinion. No doubt your expressed your opinion, on his platform, last Saturday along with every other Canberran eligible to vote. I accept that you didn’t vote for, or preference, Pocock – that’s your democratic right. But if you are trying to convince me that he is an unworthy candidate, you are wasting your time, because, apart from the fact that your opinion matters nought to me, the die is already cast.

I’m going to await the result of the count, and if he is successful, will be happy to see him working for what he has promoted as his platform for Canberra and I have no issue with acceptance of his position on intergirty and principled government. History will judge his performance – and if in 3 years time, I don’t believe he has worked to deliver on his platform, then I will cast my vote accordingly at the next election.

Just Saying,
You lied and weren’t able to substantiate your claim. Also LOL at you now trying to bring some weird class or status game in to play. Pocock was a “somebody” well before this. Either way, it’s a very strange point to make when arguing with a stranger on the internet.

You have steadfastly refused to answer clear questions on the issues raised because it’s obvious you can’t answer them without admitting youre wrong.


“I accept that you didn’t vote for, or preference, Pocock – that’s your democratic right. But if you are trying to convince me that he is an unworthy candidate,”

This is another incorrect statement. I filled in my entire ballot below the line and my vote may well end up with Pocock depending on where the count ends up.

And I don’t think he’s an “unworthy” candidate, well at least no more unworthy than any of the others.

My entire point is and always has been, his stated positions are no more logical or principled than those politicians he has attacked. He has clearly exploited populist positions throughout the campaign which are extremely hypocritical in nature.

ie. He’s just another politician. No more, no less.

I have answered all of your reasonable questions however you haven’t liked my answers. I gave you proof of what you stated about bribery (I did forget to mention that you even provided a definition of the term to support your allegation he will get bribes) – again you didn’t like my proof. The fact that you consistently don’t like my opinions has given me numerous sleepness nights, but I have come to terms with it and … actually you know that’s BS. Reality, I’m just over your maniacal obsession with having your opinion accepted as the only opinion – because you have only ever presented opinions not facts. I no longer have any interest in flogging this dead horse, you can have the soapbox all to yourself.

Not a fan of Seselja, but I don’t have a good opinion of Pocock either. Having attended some of his events, I doubt he’s ever had an original thought, but is good at spouting platitudes.

I suspect his most apt platitude will be “The winners can laugh and the losers …” – oh who cares!

I’ll admit this is a result I didn’t think possible, until a week or so ago when he announced support for voluntary assisted dying. That would have brought across many Lib voters given Zed’s intransigence. Anyway congratulations and best wishes to him. However, with a Labor majority his influence will be minimal and his supporters will be disillusioned in three years time when they work out the climate has its own, truly, independent mind and will do what and when it wishes irrespective of ants making impassioned speeches in a parliamentary anthill.

Labor may have a majority in the House of Reps but will still rely on Greens/cross bench support to get legislation through the Senate – so there is potential for Pocock’s vote to count. Nevertheless I think one area he will garner support for Canberra is territory rights, particularly as Gallagher agrees – which will be a huge step forward from the non-action during Seselja’s term of ACT (non) representation

The climate has no mind, Acton. On a sufficient scale of activity, actions have consequences conforming with the physics, like rain eroding a rock. We can contribute to changing things. Disposing of Seselja in favour of someone who favours action was a small component of that though each of us needed similar votes from others for that achievement.

@phydeaux … well said

Capital Retro2:52 pm 23 May 22

With the ruling power in Australia now mandating “action on climate” all we are waiting for now is climate to change the way it has been predicted to for the last 20 years.

Meanwhile, we will have most of our disposable income taxed away in the name of “decarbonisation”

Time to accept the, so-called “silent majority” have had their say on climate change action, Capital Retro. You can spread your gloom and doom negativity as much as you like, as part of the vocal minority.

Capital Retro6:30 pm 24 May 22

Like (man made) climate change, the concept of “silent majority” is a myth.

We do agree on one thing, Capital Retro, the “silent majority” oft referred to by your beloved Sky News is a myth … and while you might like to think that “(man made) climate change” is a myth, the vocal majority of Australians gave that one a massive kick to the kerb on Saturday – meaning denialists like you are just part of a diminishing and discredited minority (be it silent or vocal).

Capital Retro5:12 pm 26 May 22

Let me know when it is going to get warmer then. I am actually looking forward to that day.

Hmmm, Capital Retro, your comment may explain your climate change denialism. It’s not only yourdogged inability to accept the science, it’s also your lack of understanding of basic mathematics principles – in particular averages. Credible and proven climate change action science is concerned about an increase

Cont’d of average global temperatures plus changes in weather patterns. So by all means tell us about a particularly cold morning – the evidence proves average temperatures around the world are rising.

So the moral of the story we’ll all have inclusive climate friendly language. Won’t actually do anything and many of us will end up statistics on the road somewhere because those maintaining the roads and other things like boarders didn’t seem important enough to keep.

An independent wont do anything for Canberra.

The left waged an identity politics war the same as biden did. Biden won but will get heavily smashed at the midterms and followed by impeachment.

Been reading too many US right wing internet sources it seems.

Capital Retro2:54 pm 23 May 22

Is that what you read, M123?

Capital Retro8:02 am 23 May 22

Jo Hann, who are the the Gina Rhinehart funded candidates?

Unlike Holmes a Court, who has openly and honestly declared his financial support for the Climate 200 candidates, Capital Retro, we won’t know how much Gina Rhinehart’s mining company kicked into the Liberal party coffers, until after the results are in and the AEC issues its donations report. Does open declaration of financial support bother you?

Capital Retro9:57 am 23 May 22

I’m not interested in your red herring ploy JS. Holme’s a Court/Climate 200 made payments direct to independents, not a political party.

Jo Hann needs to name them or it will be accepted as a fake claim.

Actually, Capital Retro, David Pocock was a party (candidates David Pocock and Clare Doube) at the election, hence the ability to vote for the David Pocock party in the Senate above the line. So whose claim is fake?

Capital Retro12:06 pm 23 May 22

I think you will find he had received Climate200 money before he became “a party”.

So, who are the Coalition candidates who received money from Reinhart?

Every Liberal candidate received money from the big bucket to which Rhinehart contributed – just as every Climate 200 backed candidate received money from their big bucket, to which Holmes a Court contributed. The difference is, we know exactly who has contributed to the Cimate200 bucket (https://www.climate200.com.au/our-donors) – it will be several months before we know who has contributed to the Liberal bucket and thereby each candidate.

Capital Retro2:58 pm 23 May 22

Is that the best you can do JS? And Jo Hann, why won’t you tell us who the candidates are?

I probably could do better, Capital Retro, but that was all that was needed on this occasion.
PS Jo Hann is on Facebook not here

Capital Retro7:19 am 23 May 22

Thank you, Comrade Ian.

Senator Pocock will ensure that the cabbage we are allocated is of high quality and the queues that we have to access it from are not too long.

Frank Spencer8:01 am 23 May 22

What about the carrots and kale?

Capital Retro9:10 am 23 May 22

They will be reserved exclusively for the Inner North Politburo.

Capital Retro, you can always start your own queue to dish out sour grapes.

Capital Retro2:45 pm 23 May 22

Sweets are yet to be determined, JS.

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