8 May 2019

Zed's independents warning as Pesec says only he can beat the Senator

| Ian Bushnell
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Businessman Anthony Pesec: “There simply aren’t enough left-of-centre voters in the ACT to elect two left-of-centre Senators. Photo: Daniella Jukic.

Liberal Senator Zed Seselja has dismissed claims from Independent challenger Anthony Pesec that only he can beat the Senator and right-wing power broker in the race for the two ACT Senate seats on offer on 18 May.

In clear pitch to Liberal voters in the ACT, Mr Pesec said in a statement today that he was the only candidate with a realistic chance of defeating the incumbent, arguing the Greens would not be able to garner enough votes from its side of politics.

“The maths is pretty simple. It is a virtual certainty that Labor will secure the first Senate seat, but there simply aren’t enough left-of-centre voters in the ACT to elect two left-of-centre Senators,” he said.

“I therefore urge voters who believe that Zed Seselja should not be returned to consider this reality.”

Mr Pesec, who has positioned himself as a small-l liberal and green conservative alternative to Senator Seselja said feedback at pre-poll booths showed that many Labor voters understood this and had given him their second preference.

He warned that a vote for any of the minor parties or ungrouped candidates could help re-elect the Senator.

But Senator Seselja said at a funding announcement for the Woden Valley Gymnastic Club at Holder today that a vote for Mr Pesec would only be a vote for Labor or the Greens.

“Traditionally the threat, if you look at the numbers, to our seat comes from the Greens,” he said. “There is no doubt that if we were to lose the seat it would probably be to a Green.

“One of the risks always for people voting for independents is that they would end up with only Labor and Greens representatives in the Senate.”

But Mr Pesec hit back saying Senator Seselja is not really aware of what is happening out on the hustings across Canberra.

“That’s unsurprising given that he’s been up in Warringah campaigning for Tony Abbott,” Mr Pesec said. “There is a clear mood for change in the electorate and an even clearer dissatisfaction with the job that Zed has done over the last term.”

Mr Pesec said the people of the ACT have a viable alternative to both the Greens and Senator Seselja for the second Senate seat.

“For those in the political centre who want to see genuine action on climate change and greater transparency and integrity in Federal parliament, I am their best choice,” he said “Zed is right in one respect – the worst outcome for the ACT would be only Labor and Greens federal representatives. The risk is not with voting for me, but rather that voting or preferencing the Greens may contribute to Zed’s re-election.”

Senator Seselja: a vote for Mr Pesec would only be a vote for Labor or the Greens. File photo.

Mr Pesec, a former investment banker and renewable energy developer, has been campaigning on climate and energy, integrity and transparency in politics and anti-corruption measures such as the need for a national integrity commission, as well as arguing that he would better represent the Canberra community’s interests.

But he has criticised Labor’s tax concession measures including changes to negative gearing and franking credits, something in common with Senator Seselja, who defended the Liberals’ strategy of labelling Labor’s revenue raising measures as taxes.

The Senator denied the Liberals were cheapening the debate in doing this, rejecting Labor’s assertion that it was axing subsidies not imposing new taxes and launching an attack on the grandfathered changes to negative gearing.

Senator Seselja said modelling from the property industry showed that people in the ACT would lose out with rents up on average $56 a week and the value of homes down on average $65,000. He said the building industry believed it would be significantly hit, predicting the loss of about 32,000 jobs nationally.

“We’re certainly not going to back away because Bill Shorten pretends that a $32 billion tax hike on housing is not a tax increase, or he pretends that he doesn’t have a plan to increase taxes on super by $34 billion. With $387 billion of extra taxes were going to argue against them very, very strongly,” Senator Seselja.

Asked what ACT rates had to do with the federal election, referring to the Liberals’ campaign signs on Canberra’s verges, Senator Seselja said Canberrans were experiencing right now what happens when Labor governments can’t control money.

“If that were to happen at a national level not only would they have a huge hike in rates they would be paying more in income tax, they would see the value of their home going down, they would see their rents going up,” he said.

“People are seeing that link, because the Labor Party doesn’t change what it does at an ACT level or a Federal level.”

Senator Seselja, who is battling a concerted Dump Zed campaign, said the feedback from pre-poll centres indicated the election would be very close, with only a few thousand votes in key seats in it.

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Karen Murphy6:34 pm 18 May 19

Well even if I’d wanted to vote for Anthony Pesec it wasn’t possible! He wasn’t on the ballot. I voted early on 10 May in Woden and was dutifully numbering the boxes on the Senate ballot as per the flyer of my party of choice. Box C which apparently should have had his name was blank. No name was printed at all. For fear of a donkey vote I didn’t put a number in that box at all. I thought he must have withdrawn and then saw his signs on the way out.

I sent him a Facebook message to tell him he wasn’t on the ballot that same day and it hasn’t been opened. I thought maybe I made a mistake, however my partner voted today in Tuggeranong and confirmed that Anthony Pesec’s name is not on the ballot paper – Box C is blank.

So I’m assuming that all the Bean Senate ballot papers are missing his name? I’m wondering how it’s not been noticed and fixed and/or why I can’t find a media story about it?

Malcolm Davies5:37 pm 13 May 19

I have to admit as a long time follower of RiotACT, primarily as a lurker, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a thread (especially in the political category) in which such an overwhelming majority of the posters were in agreement. The question remains to be seen if RiotACT-ers are representative of the minds of the whole of the ACT and the end of Zed is nigh, or is this a case of the vocal minority, and the rusted on Zed-supporting Liberals will carry the day? This particular outcome will hold the interest of many a Canberran on Saturday 18th May.

I don’t think Riotact has ever been representative of the wider Canberra community, particularly not on issues like this.

I don’t really like Zed but it seems there’s a group of people who love to tell everyone else how he’s going to lose every election, and then he goes on to win relatively easily.
The Greens are the logical danger but they really haven’t put in enough effort to win the seat this time, I’m doubtful that the result won’t be anything other than situation normal.

In the past I have voted Liberal at all my outings. I am finding it harder and harder though to support Zed. Some of his recent voting in the senate is less than desirable. And now for me, the last straw is the fact that on the Tuggeranong parkway all Anthony Pesec signs have been removed and replaced by Canberra Liberals signs. I hold political parties to high standards and in the case of the Canberra Liberals they are not being met.

Who will Mr Pesec’s preferences go to if you vote for him and he loses?

Which he will.

Zed has to go but too many people will vote Liberal because they always do.

Anthony Pesec9:05 am 09 May 19

Preferences will only go where voters who put a 1 in my box will choose their preferences should go. I am not suggesting how people voting for me should direct their preferences (other than not voting for Fraser Anning’s party at all, which I hope that most people would do anyway).

How about not dodging the question? Was a pretty simple one. What preference deals have you made? Or is answering the question too damaging?

Geez, you’d think you were already a seasoned politician with a dodge like that.

Grimm, he answered the question in his response. He has not directed preferences anywhere other than asking people not to preference Fraser Annings party. Maybe you’re unaware that prior to the 2016 election the senate voting method was changed. Its no longer a matter of putting a 1 in a box above the line and then your preferences being distributed as the candidate has decided. Voters now direct their own preferences above the line.

Anthony Pesec3:17 pm 09 May 19

As Garfield has already kindly explained, as of 2016 it can only be up to the voters to decide where their preferences go on senate ballots. No deals can be done between parties for senate seats anymore (which is a lot more transparent and a good thing, in my opinion).

I urge Canberrans not to be sucked in by Pesec’s campaigning. We need both Labor and Liberal representation in the parliament. The Independents cannot form government, they will only be an irritant.

By voting for an independent we will be locked out of decision-making by the new government. If it is a Liberal government the APS job cuts will be horrendous and funding for ACT projects will dry up. With a Liberal member we are at least able to get our case placed before the cabinet in any Budget considerations.

Don’t be fooled by empty slogans and opportunistic posturing. The choice is between a Labor government and a Liberal government. Use your brains when you vote and tune out the static.

Do you honestly think Zed has got off his knees from licking the feet of Dutton or whatever conservative buddy of his is flavour of the month to ‘get our case placed before the cabinet’.

This is the same man that voted against a bill that would have given the Territory’s citizens the same rights (through their assembly) as other states, and whose response to decentralisation when questioned was not ‘I do not support because I note the significant impact on my constituents’ but rather ‘I’d prefer decentralisation to move jobs to Sydney or Melbourne’ rather than regional areas.

Your broad point has some validity, but to think Zed will ever do anything more than the bare minimum for those he is meant to represent is laugable.

Malcolm Davies4:19 pm 13 May 19

Actually John Moulis your logic is exactly the reason we should vote for independents. Rather than have self-serving ministersial-wannabes who mindlessly vote along party lines (+1 Labor then +1 Liberal = neutral result) an independent in the Senate may well be the vote needed to carry the legislation. Rather than being ignored by successive governments as has happened time and time again, the ACT would suddenly have some clout. As an independent, Senator Brian Harradine was able to get lots of cream for Tasmania off governments of both political persuasion. Imagine if we had two independent voices in the ACT who agreed to collude on matters of importance to the ACT and on other matters were free to follow their own political flavour? I only wish there was a Labor version of Pesec so the electorate had both a conservative and left independent option.

There is literally no chance of Mr Pesec getting elected to the Senate as an independent in the ACT. Despite the wishful thinking, the numbers will never stack up.

Whatever you think of Zed, he’s right here. A large vote for Mr Pesec is far more likely to get the Greens candidate elected if it goes to preferences.

Malcolm Davies4:03 pm 13 May 19

Only if those who vote for Pesec preference the Greens above Labor and Liberal.

There’s always leakage of votes to other minor parties or other when people vote under the line or away from the major parties.

This is why the minor parties will try extremely hard to get the Liberal first preference votes below a quota so distribution of preferences is needed to achieve that quota.

There is no chance of the ACT electing an independent senator unless they were already significantly high profile which isn’t the case here.

Zed may not have done a lot for Canberra, but at least he hasn’t done anything TO Canberra. Vote in the other communists and watch the country run by unions, be taxed into oblivion so your money can be handed out to people who make poor life choices. Rents go up, taxes go up, business takes a downturn and stops hiring.

Yeah, sounds way better… For bludgers.

Pretty low bar you’ve got to jump over…

And you would argue his inaction has lead to significant repercussions for the Territory – for instance in relation to basically greenlighting decentralisation (making nothing more than a token effort to oppose it), and he has definitely voted against the Territory’s interests in plenty of cases – none more so prominent then when he opposed legislation that would have provide the Territory’s citizens with equivalent rights to residents of other jurisdictions.

The rest of your comment is just standard Scomo scaremongering dribble…

Grimm, I’d argue that pushing for an expensive survey on marriage and then abstaining rather than voting as his constituents wanted was a betrayal of the ACT community. Voting against the ACT having the right to make its own decisions on voluntary euthanasia was another thing he did to Canberra. Then there was his involvement in the plot to change PM. That bit of destabilisation has all but ensured Shorten will become PM and make changes that will negatively impact the economy. Voting for Zed after those sort of decisions he’s made is like giving in to blackmail.

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