Abbott says Liberals earned right to first shot at power
ACT Opposition Leader Zed Seselja has the moral right to form government after Saturday's election, according to federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott.
''The largest party in the [Legislative] Assembly has a moral claim in the right to form government,'' Mr Abbott said yesterday.
''The people of Canberra have decisively rejected the Greens and I think the people of Canberra don't want to see more Labor-Green coalition government.
''I really think that it's important that Zed Seselja be given a chance to form a government in Canberra.''
However, Prime Minister Julia Gillard said the election result was a clear vote of confidence in Katy Gallagher and the Labor Party.
''Katy Gallagher has led a positive campaign in the ACT based on a clear agenda for health, education and jobs,'' the Prime Minister said.
''She has been shown to have the support of Canberrans for another term in government.''
Greens federal leader Christine Milne was disappointed in her party's performance - the Greens lost half their representatives in the election result.
''But it came off a very high result for us in with 2008,'' she said.
''The main lesson out of this campaign has been that a simple negative message does cut through.''
Mr Abbott would not say whether he believed the Canberra Liberals should do a deal with the Greens to form a minority government.
''If the Greens keep Zed Seselja and the Liberals out, this will be a sign that a vote for the Greens is a vote for Labor and a vote for Labor is a vote for the Greens,'' he said.
''It will be a sign that the Labor Party and the Greens are essentially one political unit.''
ACT Liberal Senator Gary Humphries said the election delivered another message about the performance of the Greens.
''They are identified very much with the Labor Party federally, and in the ACT and Tasmania they have seats in Labor Party governments,'' Senator Humphries said.
''Their capacity to be simultaneously inside and outside the tent is weakening.
''My interpretation of what happened is there was a big shift away from the Labor-Greens axis which has governed the ACT for the last four years.
''I think the Greens need to assess this phoney position that they sit in the political centre and look to one side or the other as if they're making a decision each time about whether they'll back the Liberals or the Labor Party.
''It is increasingly clear they are behaving more like the outsourced Left of the ALP.''
Liberal Senator Arthur Sinodinos, who is the opposition parliamentary secretary to Mr Abbott, said the swing to the Canberra Liberals showed voters were wary of the Greens and had responded to the opposition's campaign on living costs.
''It's our highest primary vote ever in the ACT and in the outer suburbs, parts of Canberra that are more like the rest of Australia, there swings were around 10 per cent,'' Senator Sinodinos said.