Senator Zed Seselja has brushed off a challenge for the Liberals’ No 1 spot on the Senate ballot for the next federal election in Sunday’s preselection vote.
Former naval officer and current Department of Defence employee Sam Fairall-Lee took on the right-wing party power broker but the sitting Senator easily accounted for him 178 votes to 47.
It is believed moderate Mr Fairall-Lee had the backing of former senator Gary Humphries whom Senator Seselja ousted in a bitter preselection contest in 2013.
Luke Hadfield was named as Seselja’s running mate.
Senator Seselja said: “I look forward to continuing to be a strong voice for the ACT in the Morrison government, and building on the more than $1 billion in new investment in the ACT from the Federal Government.”
Mr Humphries has been outspoken about the ACT election loss, largely attributing it to the right’s stranglehold on the party.
Some in the party had seen this vote as a rushed contest so Senator Seselja could secure his position before any serious challenge could be organised.
The party’s AGM immediately followed the preselection contest on Sunday and current division president John Cziesla fended off a challenge by Brindabella candidate James Daniels 111 votes to 62.
The party is conducting a review of the ACT election campaign but it may not be completed until the New Year.