10 April 2022

Senate poll tremors but shifting Zed will need a political earthquake

| Ian Bushnell
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Advance Australia ads

Screenshots of the Advance Australia ads that share Senator Zed Seselja’s opinion of his opponents. David Pocock has lodged a complaint with the AEC. Images: Screenshots.

When thinking about the ACT Senate race, the old, apparently misconstrued Mark Twain quote comes to mind: reports of Zed Seselja’s demise may be exaggerated.

But the polling reported last week has sure got people exercised or excited, depending on your political leanings.

Senator Seselja himself says he is not going to sugarcoat the findings in a social media response that is also a pitch for donors to his campaign fund.

Admitting his seat is in danger, the Liberal, who for some is the Dark Lord of ACT conservative politics, says this will be his toughest campaign and needs all the help he can get, especially to reach his $75,000 funding target so he can ward off his Green and ‘quasi-green’ rivals.

Yes, the polling – a caveat here, the Climate 200 group commissioned it, and it has provided seed funding to both independents David Pocock and Kim Rubenstein – is interesting only six weeks out from the 21 May election.

The combined Green-Independent vote exceeds Senator Seselja’s primary vote of 24 and 25 per cent, and the Pocock vote is a solid 13 per cent and 11 per cent.

READ MORE Zed warns voters of ‘extreme green’ risk after Pocock polling shock

At this stage, the Greens remain the biggest threat to the Senator, but Pocock has managed to capitalise on his profile as a former Wallaby captain but also as someone prepared to act on his beliefs, especially about climate change.

In the ACT, where climate science is generally not doubted, Pocock, who is also campaigning heavily on integrity in government, is appealing to voters unwilling to shift to Labor or the Greens.

Tellingly, his response to the extremist tag is that he is a pragmatist who wants to make politics about people and the community.

For Liberals weary of the climate wars and the Coalition Government’s seeming indifference to proper governance exemplified in how it uses the grants system as its own slush fund, Pocock offers an alternative.

That appears to have rattled the Seselja cage, hence his linkage of Pocock to the Extinction Rebellion mob.

New ads from the right-wing Advance Australia group, of which former Liberal MLA Vicki Dunne is director, depict Pocock unbuttoning his shirt to reveal a Greens T-shirt beneath.

Pocock has lodged a complaint with the Australian Electoral Commission. Advance Australia previously caused a storm with its provocative, doctored image showing China’s President Xi’ voting’ for Labor.

There is no suggestion that the Senator is linked to Advance Australia but the sentiment is shared.

The Greens launched their campaign yesterday and Senate candidate Dr Tjanara Goreng Goreng (15%, 14% in the polling) believes this time the party has its best chance of upsetting Senator Seselja.

But it is a familiar story – optimism fuelled by poll results that aren’t reflected on election day.

READ ALSO Zed Seselja is the worst and that’s great

The fact is it is very difficult in the ACT to break the Liberal and Labor monopoly on the two Senate seats.

Usually, Senator Seselja maintains his core vote of just under the 33 per cent quota and preferences do the rest.

It may be closer this time around, and there is no doubt that climate change and integrity are key issues in the ACT.

He can’t afford to ignore the challenge, even if statistically, and with Antony Green’s calculus, the odds are against him being dislodged.

He is playing the national security card, saying now is not the time for change and that the Greens, and by association Pocock, want to slash Defence spending.

But defence procurement is an ongoing mess and Senator Seselja is also the Minister for International Development and the Pacific, on whose watch the Solomons got into bed with China.

So in politically savvy Canberra, those lines of attack may not get him very far.

With the House of Representative seats a formality, Zed’s Senate fate is the main game in town this election.

If he is ousted, it may reflect something more seismic happening across the country, but for now, the Senator remains favoured to stick around.

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Mr Pocock not green ? He’s greener than a gum leaf.
How many greens have committed to having no children !

“”8 Dec 2019″”
“”Wallabies star David Pocock and his wife Emma vow not to have children because they want to save the planet “”
“”David Pocock and his wife Emma said they have decided not to have children “”

One of the first things Pope Francis did after his election was visit the refugee camp at Lampedusa. His committment to care for refugees has continued. Seven years ago he issued Laudato Si ‘On Care for Our Common Home, an Encyclical, the most formal Papal teaching. It urges action on climate change, and has been strongly followed up. The Vatican website (laudatosiactionplatform.org) urges cessation of fossil fuel use, ethical investment and similar actions. The site invites people, parishes, schools and dioceses to sign up with their seven year action plan. Zed’s religion does not seem to include following the Pope on these issues.

Capital Retro10:25 am 12 Apr 22

How many refugees are being cared for at the Vatican?

El Papa is just another virtue signaler living in a bubble trying to deflect his guilt for the child abuse sins committed by his priests.

Zed lives in the real world.

Retired celebrities looking to cash in on their fame have never delivered anything in politics.

Mal Meninga was probably the best, and most honest example.
Peter Garret probably the worst.

Deliver nothing, top up their superannuation and then disappear!

While I 100% support all things environmental, the Greens always take everything 10 steps too far and make it very hard to vote for them.

When you boil it down the Greens arnet all that green, they are just anti mining and have little to offer in terms of alternative incomes for Austrlaia other than letting migration rip.

What did Zed do before politics? Has he even ever had a real job?

Capital Retro2:54 pm 12 Apr 22

“While attending university, he worked at Woolworths Supermarkets from 1995 to 1998; at MacKillop Catholic College (now St Mary MacKillop College) in 1998 as a cleaner; at the Australian Fisheries Management Authority from 1998 to 1999 as a legal assistant; and at the Commonwealth Department of Transport and Regional Services from 2000 to 2004 as a policy officer, lawyer, and then a senior lawyer.”

Probably more work than you will ever do, Sol.

Capital Retro,
Well done on copy pasting from Wikipedia.

But you do realise what you just posted shows that Zed has very little real world employment experience right? Like a lot of politicians he hasn’t done much else.

Whether that’s necessarily a good or bad thing is debatable.

HiddenDragon7:42 pm 11 Apr 22

People who are variously shocked, offended and bewildered by the survival of a politician like Zed Seselja in what is relentlessly portrayed as a nation-leading (if not world leading) centre of progressivism, need to reflect upon the results of the 2017 same sex marriage survey, in which Canberra’s then two federal electorates ranked only 12th and 13th in the nation in support for the proposed law change and almost 10% behind the two most supportive electorates.

The vote against same sex marriage in the ACT in that survey was remarkably similar to Zed’s primary vote level in the polls quoted in this article. Add to that a protest vote by moderates who may not share all (or any) of Zed’s social views, but are seriously fed up with the unapologetic incompetence and revenue-gouging extravagance of the ACT government, and yes, Zed will not easily be removed.

Ironically, if the ACT government had managed to deliver the nation-leading public education system which this town could and should have, and fewer parents thus felt the need to send their children to religious-oriented non-government schools, there might be less support for Zed’s views.

As expected a pile on against the only prominent conservative incumbent.

There was a comment on this article stating “I wonder what the stats are in Canberra for middle class, Caucasian, religious voters? I feel that is Zeds demographic”

I am a religious, middle class person who is not Caucasian. Zed will definitely be getting my vote.

Since, some people keep wanting the prime minister to apologise for everything and anything, has Pocock apologised for all those international flights he took during his playing career? After all his main concern is global warming. As an independent, what are his policies on defence, the economy, manufacturing and Australian self sufficiency?
As most Australians continue to buy Chinese made solar panels and wind turbine blades made using coal, what is he going to reverse the hypocrisy.

Capital Retro6:12 pm 11 Apr 22

Well said. Prepare for the pile on.

Capital Retro9:55 am 11 Apr 22

“I’m really loving the Advance Australia ads.”

They are the only party with a plan to repay our sovereign debt. Why do you find that funny?

Zed is almost certainly going to win and despite the authors assertions, Climate Change is unlikely to shift many votes in the ACT.

Until Zed’s opposition fundamentally understand why people vote for him, they will struggle. You can’t push further to the left and expect that will garner votes.

Capital Retro10:28 am 12 Apr 22

I have to agree with you chewy.

The Facebook Frenzy on this thread shows the damage that social media has done to a lot of people in Canberra.

Great, Canberra’s Biggest Loser (Vicki Dunne) running the smear campaign can only help.

An unbroken 20 year track record of helping the Libs lose ACT elections and taxpayer funded junkets with no life or political achievements. Just like Zed.

Personally I think it’s in our self interest to vote in at least one liberal. Going completely labor/green would just encourage one side of politics to take us for granted and the other side to move the govt departments out to the regions as fast possible.

This a good point although anyone but the ALP or Greens would suffice.

If people stopped blindly voting for the ALP, then we might get more attention from the pork barrelling committees that operate on all sides of politics.

Zed will get back in. So would anyone else who the Libs nominate for the ACT Senate. You, me or a drover’s dog. It is pointless making personal attacks on Zed because people are voting for him because he is not Labor/Greens. The independents are just a sideshow of yappy chihuahuas drawing votes off each other.

Capital Retro8:30 am 11 Apr 22

The Liberals are also running Kacey Lam-Evans for the Senate.

The Libs give non Labour/ Greens voters a difficult choice between the unpalatable and the unknown.

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