22 September 2021

New poll suggests Zed's Senate seat may be vulnerable

| Ian Bushnell
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Zed Seselja

ACT Liberal Senator Zed Seselja will still be hard to budge. Photo: File.

A new poll has again given hope to the ACT Greens that they may oust Canberrals Liberals Senator Zed Seselja when the federal election is held.

The Australia Institute-commissioned poll from uComms found that just 29 per cent of voters would support Senator Seselja which, if translated to polling day, would mean the Liberals would fall well short of a quota and have to scramble for preferences.

The Liberals need to win 33 per cent of the vote to attain a quota. In 2019, Senator Seselja and running mate Robert Gunning managed 32.38 per cent, slightly down on 2016.

The telephone poll of 1057 respondents from 3 August found the Greens would garner 21 per cent, an Independent 6.9 per cent and Pauline Hanson’s One Nation 4 per cent, although One Nation did not contest the last election.

The unknown factor is the entry of Independent Kim Rubenstein, who announced her candidacy after the poll was taken and is attempting to ride the wave of support for independents generated by the likes of Member for Indi Helen Haines and Member for Warringah Zali Steggall.

The constitutional lawyer, who has now obtained the necessary 1500 members for her Kim for Canberra party to be listed above the line on the ballot paper, is hoping to pull voters away from both major parties, but any drift of moderate Liberals to her could pose problems for Senator Seselja.

The Greens team of Penny Kyburz and now MLA Emma Davidson could manage only 17.7 per cent in 2019, despite the Dump Zed campaign which highlighted Senator Seselja’s hardline conservative positions.

Greens candidate Dr Tjanara Goreng Goreng will be hoping early polling will be reflected on election day and that moderate Liberals, upset at Senator Seselja’s stances on issues such as voluntary assisted dying, will find somewhere else to park their vote and preference flows will favour her.

But the magnitude of the task in the ACT should not be underestimated, and shifting that solid core of Liberal voters would be a seismic change.

Moreover, most of the 4 per cent who say they would vote for One Nation are more likely to back Senator Seselja.

Australia Institute executive director Ben Oquist said the poll numbers give a fillip to those who think winning the second seat is impossible. However, he still thinks it is a herculean task, particularly under the new Senate voting system where a lot of votes can be exhausted.

“You might not need to get to a full quota to win, but it does show that the seat is theoretically winnable for either the Greens or an Independent,” he said.

Professor Kim Rubenstein

Professor Kim Rubenstein wants to ride the independent wave. Photo: Kim for Canberra.

Mr Oquist said Professor Rubenstein was bringing a lot of energy to the contest, but she will need more momentum to be competitive come election day.

He said Senator Seselja’s stance on the ACT’s right to debate voluntary assisted dying Territory could be a vote changer as it cuts across other issues.

“I do think the issue of Territory rights is gaining salience with the electorate,” he said. “The idea that the Territory doesn’t have the same rights to legislate this as other jurisdictions has really come to the fore as most other states have voluntary euthanasia laws in place. It’s going to start to look ridiculous that the ACT can’t even debate it.

“ACT politicians who don’t stand up for the right to at least debate it are going to look awkward at the very least.”

Australia Institute polling also shows that an overwhelming majority of Canberrans support the ACT’s right to debate voluntary assisted dying legislation.

But Mr Oquist also believes that some of the floating One Nation vote will go to Senator Seselja and bolster the election day result.

Senator Seselja said he had delivered record infrastructure and health spending in the ACT and tax cuts for Canberrans as a member of the Liberal-National Government.

“The biggest threat to our prosperity and security is a Labor-Greens Coalition Government with a Senate majority,” he said. “That is why I will be working tirelessly to ensure we continue to deliver for Canberrans and retain this crucial Senate seat.”

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Go you little greenies.

All voters should look closely at the actions of Federal Liberals prior to and post the royal commission into banking and financial services before deciding whether they will serve your interests.

HiddenDragon9:23 pm 23 Sep 21

“But Mr Oquist also believes that some of the floating One Nation vote will go to Senator Seselja and bolster the election day result.”

So polling places will be the exception to the ACT government’s policy of no “vaccine passports”……….?

In the ACT Assembly, where the Libs haven’t been in power for an eternity, they still continue to secure sufficient seats to force the ALP to sell their souls to the Greens to form Government.

The Senate has maintained the status quo for a substantial amount of time. The chances of the ALP, Greens or an Independent taking the Lib Senate seat is nothing more than wishful thinking.

Peter Curtis6:44 pm 23 Sep 21

So what are Kim for Canberra’s policies?

Capital Retro7:09 am 24 Sep 21

“Climate change, gender equity, citizenship, refugee policy, economic and cultural renewal, and a First Nations Voice to Parliament are on her agenda; so are allowing dual nationals to stand for parliament and making Australia a republic.”

Yawn, so another virtue signalling vanity project appealing only to left voters.

Zed can safely roll over and go back to sleep.

that’s just terrible!

“This survey was conducted using an automated telephone & SMS based survey systems among 1,057 voters. Telephone numbers and the person within the household were selected at random. The results have been weighted by gender and age to reflect the population according to ABS figures. Please note that due to rounding, not all tables necessarily total 100% and subtotals may also vary. Copyright uCommunications Pty Ltd.”

There are many faults in this type of survey:
– the sample size is small;
– the results are weighed, which means manipulated because it is an unrepresentative sample.
– only the opinions of those who respond to robo calls and SMS spam messages were counted. This introduces a sampling bias because the opinions of those who screen out automated phone calls are not counted.

Two valid conclusions to draw from this type of survey are that (1) Greens supporters are more likely to respond to automated telephone & SMS based survey systems and (2) journalists continue to unquestioningly report opinion polls despite their proven unreliability.

Capital Retro6:22 pm 23 Sep 21

And not phoning fixed line phone numbers would eliminate a lot of conservative voters.

I don’t know why you write new articles on this issue, when you could cut and paste from the multiple other articles written on this exact topic over the years.

“Left leaning organisation finds that Seselja’s seat is in danger, Greens and new Independent thoroughly agree”.

Rinse, repeat, it might even end up being correct at some stage.



Capital Retro11:43 am 23 Sep 21

I’ve never been contacted by Australia Institute polling and I don’t know anyone else who has.

Similarly, never heard of Professor Rubenstein.

Predictions of doom for Zed are a regular thing but just like climate change disasters, they never happen.

This sounds more like push polling by that independent candidate. The fact is that Zed will win again because he is the only representative in the ACT who doesn’t support so-called “action on climate change”. In other words a carbon tax or an emissions trading scheme which will cost heaps and be a detrimental impost onto the working man.

With a renewed push in the media to promote climate change – including for the first time News Corp newspapers and Sky News – there will be a lot of people seeking a candidate who reflects their own views on climate change. And no, yet another independent candidate who supports action on climate change is not the answer.

Here we go – so the international scientific community, the UN, all the major world Universities, NASA, The EU, CSIRO, the US military, the UK & US Met Bureaus have got together to fake Climate Change just to rip off John & other working men.

Nonsense. That might be a factor for you and a handful of other people out there, but the short and straight of it is the composition of the ACT composition has a large proportion of people that simply vote ‘insert labor/liberal/green’ here, and as a result, you could put ‘Ipeefreely’ on the ticket and he’d still get elected.

The fact is, for a political town, a large proportion actually don’t give a stuff about local politicians.

So your “research” has proven all the experts wrong then. Wow.

I wish he would go, but yet again this seems to be most likely RIOTACT political gaming in trying push change by claiming the change will happen.

Hopefully at some point the Liberals will realize that he is harming their brand and get rid of him.

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