Independent candidate David Pocock has officially won the second Senate seat in the ACT after the Australian Electoral Commission distributed preferences this morning.
Labor’s Katy Gallagher had already achieved a quota to retain her Senate seat.
It is a remarkable achievement for the former Australian rugby captain, who was pushed over the line mainly by Greens and Kim for Canberra preferences to become the ACT’s first Independent Senator.
The Liberals’ Zed Seselja attracted more primary votes than Mr Pocock but could not muster enough preferences from the likes of the United Australia Party candidates to salvage his seat.
The official declaration of the poll will be made at the AEC tomorrow morning.
In a statement, Mr Pocock said that for the first time, the ACT would have an independent voice representing the community in the Federal Parliament.
“I acknowledge the work of outgoing ACT Senator Seselja after nine years representing us and wish him and his family all the best,” Mr Pocock said.
“Thank you to everyone who put their trust in me to represent you. It is an incredible honour to be able to serve a community I love.
“I am committed to being accessible and accountable to Canberrans.”
Mr Pocock flagged the first of what will be quarterly town hall meetings in July.
“Our campaign aimed to make politics about people. We built a policy platform off the back of thousands of conversations about the things that matter,” he said.
“We kept it positive. We talked about the issues and the ideas for the future we want and it clearly resonated.”
The result ends Mr Seselja’s three terms in the Senate, during which his conservative social views became increasingly out of step with ACT voters.
In a statement, he thanked ACT voters for the honour of being a Senator and congratulated the winners.
Mr Seselja defended his record and achievements for the ACT, and the Coalition Government’s performance, particularly in steering Australia through the pandemic and cutting unemployment.
He also said the Liberal Party would be back.
“To our supporters, I know the loss of government federally, and the loss of the ACT Senate seat, is a bitter blow. I also know that in politics, things change very quickly. People will write off the Liberal Party as they did in 2007, but we will be back here in the ACT and nationally,” he said.
“Finally, I thank my family. They are the most important people in my life and I’m pleased that as we end our journey in politics, our adventure together as a family will continue. I look forward to continuing to find new ways to serve my community and support those closest to me.”
Senator Gallagher congratulated Mr Pocock on a successful campaign. “I look forward to working with you, both in the interests of the nation and the people of Canberra,” she Tweeted.
She also acknowledged Mr Seselja’s service to the Canberra community, the ACT Assembly and the Australian Parliament since 2004.
Both Senator Gallagher and Mr Seselja phoned Mr Pocock to congratulate him as soon as the result was announced.