Poll showing primary vote collapse puts Zed in ‘danger territory’

Ian Bushnell 6 March 2019 169

Senator Zed Seselja: this could be his toughest fight.

New polling on the coming Senate vote in the ACT would have set the alarm bells ringing in Zed Seselja’s office, according to political observer John Warhurst.

Polling conducted for UnionsACT at the end of January and released at the weekend shows the Liberal vote collapsing and Senator Seselja at risk of losing his Senate seat.

The ReachTEL poll shows the Liberal party Senate primary vote is at a record low of 22 per cent (a quota is 33 per cent), with 58 per cent of ACT voters disapproving of the senator, and more than 65 per cent not believing he has done enough to deserve re-election.

UnionsACT is conducting a ‘Dump Zed’ campaign and will launch a massive TV and community campaign in March, to remind voters of Senator Seselja’s key role in promoting Peter Dutton’s failed bid to become Prime Minister, as well his failures on climate change, penalty rates, and marriage equality.

Emeritus Professor of politics at the ANU, John Warhurst said that despite it always being a steep challenge to unseat a Liberal senator, Senator Seselja would not want his primary vote to be languishing down at 22 per cent.

“That’s danger territory for him,” he said.

In 2016, Senator Seslja relied on preferences to be re-elected but his primary vote was closer to 30.5 per cent.

Noting the entry of independent candidate businessman Anthony Pesec, Prof Warhurst said the key would be to what extent dissatisfied Liberal voters, when it came to the crunch, voted for someone else and to whom they gave their preferences.

He said all preferences would likely be distributed and it would be crucial how that panned out.

“Even the Green preferences don’t go any more than 85 per cent to Labor,” he said.

Senator Seselja had a high profile and name recognition but possibly for the wrong things in the eyes of many ACT voters.

“He got a lot of publicity over the Turnbull thing, opposing same-sex marriage, and being accused of not representing the views of the ACT,” he said.

Prof Warhurst said the apparent drop in support would be due partly to the general swing against the Government around the country and a bigger swing against the Liberals in Canberra, following Senator Seselja’s support for Peter Dutton and his high-profile role in the Turnbull coup.

“It may be more personal towards him in the Senate and not more generally with the Liberal candidates in the ACT,” he said.

But the other candidates, especially the Greens’ Penny Kyburz, may need a perfect storm to topple the Senator.

“It’s just an extremely difficult thing for opponents of Zed to pull off because of the fact there’s only the two Senate seats to get the Liberal vote after preferences down below a third [of the vote for a quota],” Prof Warhurst said.

“You have to have a combination of circumstances, and I would say that would be a very strong Labor vote, anti-government vote overall and also an anti-Zed vote on top of that.”

And while Prof Warhurst expected Labor to win come May, he did not think the voters are waiting with the baseball bats ready.

“It’s not all done and dusted. I think Labor will win but whether it’s squeaking over the line or like in the Victorian election a really really decisive victory I’m not too sure and that would make a difference to the ACT,” he said.

So much was going wrong for the Government with resignations and the like but it has put out a positive message with new climate change policies for example, as well as the negative fear message.

“Morrison is very active but whether he’s cutting through I doubt it,” Prof Warhurst said.

For Senator Seselja, the weight of evidence would be that he was likely to get back ”but the alarm bells would be ringing and he would be reading that poll and getting worried and getting ready to really campaign hard”.


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169 Responses to Poll showing primary vote collapse puts Zed in ‘danger territory’
Adrienne Sykes Adrienne Sykes 12:19 am 05 Mar 19

Wonderful news tha Zed may not be in Parliament soon. He is too religious.. is anti abortion and was anti same sex marriage....therefore we dont want him and his out of touch views...

    Lee Capocchi Lee Capocchi 4:39 pm 05 Mar 19

    Probably thinks George Pell is a saint and donates to his defence fund.

Michael Totterdell Michael Totterdell 11:54 pm 04 Mar 19

He's always last if at all for me, nothing's changed.

Darren Condon-Green Darren Condon-Green 11:43 pm 04 Mar 19

Look I have to say that I am fed up to the back teeth with these so called Liberals

I have been a strong supporter of Malcolm Turnbull who at least was smart the rest of them are dumb and Australians would be dumb to vote in Shorten and his mob but you know what bring it on so we can get rid of the Abbotts and Duttons of this world Labors economic strategy is rubbish but we need to cleanse us of the right wing looneys in the Liberal Party to bring some sense to it all

Maybe even Shorten may bring some order

Help is all I can say

Anthony Wazza Anthony Wazza 11:38 pm 04 Mar 19

Jesus wept!

Timothy John Morton Timothy John Morton 11:21 pm 04 Mar 19

Zed does not deserve another go.

It doesn't matter which side you are from (I have voted and agitated for both major sides and minor parties) - Zed does no nothing for the ACT. He's there to engage in the Canberra bubble. He is part of the problem.

If you vote Liberal normally then vote below the line and put Zed last.

Hans Dimpel Hans Dimpel 10:49 pm 04 Mar 19

He wants abortions to be illegal which makes them dangerous. He didn't vote the way the ACT wanted him to vote in the marriage survey because he puts his church ahead of the people. He didn't stop Barnaby moving a department from Canberra. if anyone else did their job so badly, they would be sacked.

    Tara Cheyne Tara Cheyne 11:12 pm 04 Mar 19

    Hans Dimpel and he didn't vote for ACT to be able to determine its own legislation for voluntary assisted dying

    Tracy Gorman Tracy Gorman 11:34 pm 04 Mar 19

    Decisions based on an individuals personal religious beliefs have no place in parliament. He represents the Canberra people as a whole. Not just the percentage that share his beliefs.

    Douglas Roth Douglas Roth 2:20 am 05 Mar 19

    yeah, you'd think.....

    Dale Tomes Dale Tomes 2:30 pm 05 Mar 19

    Tracy Gorman exactly right. He doesn't deserve to stay I say. His arrogance at ignoring the people of Canberra will catch up with him 👍

Heidi Livermore Heidi Livermore 10:41 pm 04 Mar 19

Woo hoo!

David Chadwick David Chadwick 10:17 pm 04 Mar 19

Z won't loose his seat it will be taken away from him by hard working men and women who are sickened by his hard right and socially conservative politics. He has knowingly joined with the forces of regression against the forces of progress. His world view is authoritarian and controlling and he has sought to impose his obscurantist views on others especially the LGBTI community. Z has made his political bed it is time that bed was remade with rainbow sheets.🌈🌈🌈🌈

Pat D Rose Pat D Rose 10:12 pm 04 Mar 19

Zac Norman Zeds dead baby

    Zac Norman Zac Norman 10:14 pm 04 Mar 19

    Whos this guy?

    Douglas Roth Douglas Roth 8:53 pm 05 Mar 19

    Well, given Pulp Truth is Stranger than Pulp Fiction, are we going too far to excoriate Zed to death in his political life?🤔

Julie Wood Julie Wood 10:06 pm 04 Mar 19

Good news story 👌🏼

    Chris Tazreiter Chris Tazreiter 10:14 am 05 Mar 19

    Julie Wood I so agree. His representation of the people of Canberra has been a disgrace. It’s his way or the highway. Well let’s show him the highway. I don’t support either side, so this is not coming from a Labor voter.

    Milivoj Michael Rajic Milivoj Michael Rajic 6:18 pm 06 Mar 19

    Maybe a one more union member would be great.

John Hargreaves John Hargreaves 10:06 pm 04 Mar 19

and... while we're at it, and without any substantiation cos I'm not Croatian, I was told by one of the Croatian community leaders the other day that Z has been MIA except for big occasions where media are possible. Just sayin'

Jeffery Shelley Jeffery Shelley 9:54 pm 04 Mar 19

Who voted for him anyway?

    Luke Murphy Luke Murphy 10:16 pm 04 Mar 19

    Jeffery Shelley only absolute numpties.

    Douglas Roth Douglas Roth 2:39 am 05 Mar 19

    cardboard cutouts, nodders, I don't know: truth is stranger than fiction.

John Hargreaves John Hargreaves 9:52 pm 04 Mar 19

people should check out a small 'l' liberal - Anthony Pesec. Croatian Aussie with good creds

bj_ACT bj_ACT 9:43 pm 04 Mar 19

Worst Senator in our history. Let’s get someone who listens to Evidence not Shock Jocks.

chewy14 chewy14 9:38 pm 04 Mar 19

Oh, a union poll?

Perhaps we can have a Greens poll to confirm this swing?

    Garfield Garfield 2:41 pm 05 Mar 19

    There was a Greens poll conducted in August last year that had the Liberal first preference vote at a similar level. I would be interested to know what lead up questions were asked, if any, before those about voting intention.

Khalid Dana Na Khalid Dana Na 9:26 pm 04 Mar 19

Vote Senator Zero last...... hes done nothing for Canberra.....

Rob Sanders Rob Sanders 9:19 pm 04 Mar 19

Best thing I've read all week

Bruce Hughes Bruce Hughes 9:10 pm 04 Mar 19

Good riddance to bad rubbish !

Nathan Burraston Nathan Burraston 9:08 pm 04 Mar 19

A unionsACT poll would have been

A) leading questions

B ) surveyed in an area they have a high concentration of members.

Veerrrryyyyy unreliable data.

    Nathan Burraston Nathan Burraston 8:50 am 05 Mar 19

    Ian Goudie all I questioned was the validity of the poll given who it was conducted by.

    Ian Goudie Ian Goudie 8:58 am 05 Mar 19

    Nathan Burraston agree with that ..

Rod Holesgrove Rod Holesgrove 9:05 pm 04 Mar 19

How nice!

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