26 November 2023

Seselja to forsake the ACT for Senate run from border base

| Ian Bushnell
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Zed Seselja

When former Senator Zed Seselja lost his seat at the recent Federal election, it was the first time the Canberra Liberals lost Federal representation. Photo: Region.

Former ACT Senator and Canberra Liberals powerbroker Zed Seselja has confirmed his bid for a political comeback by running to fill Marise Payne’s vacant NSW Senate seat.

In a video pitch to NSW party members, Mr Seselja said he and his family would be leaving the ACT as part of the “exodus out of Canberra into regional New South Wales”.

But they won’t be going far. In the video, Mr Seselja is standing by the Queanbeyan River in the border city where he intends to make their new home.

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Mr Seselja, who lost his Senate seat to Independent David Pocock in one of the upsets of the 2022 federal election that swept Labor to power, makes no bones about who he is appealing to in the party, ticking off a range of right-wing aspirations and grievances.

“We have to fight against cancel culture, the attempts by the government to censor opinions that they don’t agree with,” he said.

“We need to stand up against the woke indoctrination of our kids in schools and against the left-wing bias of the ABC.”

He advocates for nuclear power, strong borders and a strong military, as well as defending freedom of speech and faith, alluding to the Albanese Government’s plans to curb misinformation and disinformation online.

But he also criticises the current levels of immigration, saying they are putting too much strain on Australia’s cities, making it increasingly difficult for young people to be able to afford a home.

Mr Seselja has some party heavyweights in his corner, including former prime minister Tony Abbott, who calls him an experienced conviction politician who won’t need training wheels in Canberra.

“He’ll be an absolute rock-solid member of Peter Dutton’s team. And that’s what we need with a united, cohesive, committed team in the run-up to the next election, which is absolutely winnable,” Mr Abbott said.

Others going into bat for Mr Seselja are Queensland Senator Matt Canavan, federal frontbencher Angus Taylor and rising MP Andrew Hastie.

Mr Seselja says the way the Voice referendum was defeated should be the template for a Coalition victory at the next election.

“I believe the success of our party in prosecuting the case against the Voice is a demonstration that when we stand up for our values, we can bring the Australian people with us,” he said.

The Liberal hard man issued a clarion call to the party to reassert its core values.

“So now, we as a party have a choice to make,” Mr Seselja said. “Do we retreat and become just a pale imitation of Labor or a lighter shade of teal? Or do we fight?

“I believe we should fight and fight hard for conservative and Liberal values. And bring the Australian people with us.”

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Mr Seeslja is in a field of 10 for the Senate seat and faces stiff competition from former NSW state minister and South Coast MP Andrew Constance and former Wentworth MP Dave Sharma.

Ms Payne, a moderate, retired on 30 September after more than 26 years in politics.

The NSW Liberals’ Senate ballot for pre-selection will be held on 26 November.

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We got Steve Whan in the NSW Government now we might get Zed as a Federal senator. Oh dear why can’t these guys just retire from politics.

Bit like ScoMo, purplevh – can’t get a job outside of politics so they just keep hanging around like a bad smell.

Capital Retro3:34 pm 18 Nov 23

I doubt if any of the “haters” posting on this thread (plus the ones sending letters to the Canberra Times) have ever met Zed and they are just following lefty dogma. The word dogma fits because according to all the haters Zed follows some sort of evil religious dogma. It’s just co-incidence that 50% of the general population follows the same principles and values that Zed does.

I have known Zed and his family for 30 years and I have never met anyone so sincere and hardworking as he is. I used to help his ACT Legislative Assembly office before I left the Liberal Party. I have not been motivate to return to Liberal Party since then.

The truth is that the left will always attack their political opponents when they are outstandingly good and pose a threat to the hate side of politics. John Howard and Tony Abbott are previous victims of these hate campaigns.

Time for all you haters to take a good look at yourselves.

@Capital Retro
Your loyalty to Mr Seselja is admirable, however, there is nothing in your post that gives me cause for self reflection.

I am more than happy with my negative position towards Mr Sesleja – he continually failed to represent the will of the ACT people on a number of issues, and was rightly turfed out at the last election.

So now he’s heading to Queanbeyan in the hope that he can rekindle his flagging political career via the back door. As long as he’s not pretending to represent the people of the ACT, I wish him well.

As for your assertion that “50% of the general population follows the same principles and values that Zed does”?
On religion – false. Of our 25 million Australians, according to the 2021 Census, 43.9% identify as Christian, down from 52% in 2016 and 61% in 2011. The figures show a steady decline in Christianity – a trend that has continued since the 1960s.
On political ideology – false. AEC figures show, that at the last Federal election on a two-party preferred basis, 47.87% of voters favoured the Liberal/National Coalition compared to 52.13% for Labor.
So who are these “50% of the general population”?

Oh and you are definitely entitled to your opinion that Tony Abbott was “outstandingly good” – it’s a shame that not even the majority of his own party, let alone a majority of Australians, agreed with you at the time he was turfed out of the PM position by his colleagues.

Half the population does not follow Zed’s principles and values, or we’d all be in real trouble. Zed’s branch-stacking to get in over Humphries remains the stuff of ACT Liberals legend. His parents are migrants but he doesn’t want other migrants. He got a cheap loan for his education but he doesn’t want anyone else to have one. He wants to be in government but he doesn’t want to represent his electorate, and indeed went to special trouble to legislate against ACT citizens.
Howard is perhaps the most destructive politician in Australian history, awful as treasurer and prime minister. From trashing the economy, the outright lies about ‘children overboard’, ignoring the biggest protests in Australian history to participate in the illegal invasion of a foreign country, I don’t know what you liked about his work. He thoroughly deserved the distinction of being the only prime minister to have lost his seat entirely.
Abbott I find puzzling. He seems to really want to help – I respect his involvement in church, politics and volunteering – he’s just not very good at it, maybe too argumentative or combative to be an effective leader.

Ian De Landelles10:14 am 18 Nov 23

Given Mr Seselja’s obvious determination to continue his political career, one can only assume he will return to Tuggeranong, and seek preselection for the 2024 ACT Assembly election, should his tilt at the Senate vacancy be unsuccessful. His factional control over the numbers in the local Liberal Party branches, means his preselection would be assured, and his all important name recognition would make his return to the Legislative Assembly a moral. Whether his return to the Assembly would enhance the Liberal Party’s chances of returning to office, is another question altogether.

HiddenDragon7:47 pm 17 Nov 23

His chances of success in the preselection are reportedly quite good, which does raise the possibility of Zed turning up, some way down the track, as Minister for Territories with all sorts of opportunities for revenge – or, then again in that event, we might finally get an improved rail line to Sydney (even if it stops at Queanbeyan).

Aside from the local interest (or lack of), the choice made in this preselection process surely gives some clues as to whether the Liberals think they have a realistic chance of winning back any of the Teal seats in the next few electoral cycles.

Canberra’s gain could well be NSW’s loss. Don’t slam the door on your way out, Mr Seselja.

He must be so proud of his record in making the ACT Liberals unelectable! And the reference to Liberal core values is kind of ironic – Menzies declared war against fascists.

Go with god
But GO.

By the sounds of it, just more of the same from the last time he was in Parliament…. hopefully the Good folk of New South Wales will see through him and not give him the time of day

“Liberal hard man” – really?

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