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Greens have faith in ACT Senate seat

Greens candidate for the Senate, Simon Sheikh.

Greens candidate for the Senate, Simon Sheikh. Photo: Jay Cronan

Greens' candidate Simon Sheikh says the party's polling in Canberra gives him more confidence for the difficult battle to win an ACT Senate seat in the election.

After his campaign launch at the Shine Dome on Sunday, he strongly criticised Liberal candidate Zed Seselja as the ''captain of team negative''.

The function was attended by about 180 supporters, many of whom have been sent to Canberra's outskirts to galvanise support for the party.

"We are the underdog at this election, there's no doubt about that. But this is a winnable election,'' Mr Sheikh said.

"At the last election the Liberals broke quota by just 38 votes, making this the tightest Senate race in the country.''

Mr Seselja is the former ACT opposition leader who defeated the incumbent, Senator Gary Humphries, to become the Liberals' leading candidate for the Senate race.

Mr Sheikh was critical of Mr Seselja's performance.

"The people of Tuggeranong, for example, are deeply disappointed that at one stage they had the member for Brindabella and the next day he was gone,'' he said.

"So we're appealing to these voters on the issue of trust: if Gary Humphries couldn't trust Zed Seselja, how can Canberra families?

"Zed Seselja is captain of team negative. He's captain of the three-word slogan team and he takes a leaf out of Tony Abbott's book.

"Here in the ACT we are the most intelligent community in the country. At the territory election we rejected the three-word slogan of the Liberal Party. I think we will see the same thing happen here in the ACT [Senate race].''

Mr Sheikh said the polls showed Mr Abbott had a good chance of winning the election.

''But no matter which of the old parties wins, we mustn't be rewarding them for the policies they're taking to this election,'' he said.

"We can't be rewarding them for taking a policy of cutting jobs, so many jobs that it will hurt our community and send it into recession.'' Mr Sheikh predicted the Greens would eventually have a good chance of winning the lower house seat of Fraser, covering northern Canberra.

''It's one of those seats like Melbourne and Grayndler that in time we've got a good chance of winning because we've got strong candidates … our internal polling is showing we're on the up and up here in the ACT,'' he said.

The terms of territory senators end with a general election, unlike state-elected senators who have a six-year term.

The quota to win one of the two Senate seats in the ACT is one-third of the vote.

The Labor Party's strong support means it is assured of one seat, and the Liberal Party has always scooped the other spot.

At the last election the Liberal Party's Senate team won 33.35 per cent of the primary vote. The result was higher in the 2004 and 2008 elections.

In an earlier election, the Liberals' Margaret Reid did have to rely on One Nation preferences to be returned. At the last territory election, the Greens' team in the Legislative Assembly was reduced from four to one.

The survivor, Shane Rattenbury, now a minister in the Gallagher Labor government, said the Senate race gave ACT voters the chance to ''stamp our foot, to make a presence on the national stage - to say, we won't be just ignored in the ACT, we won't be taken for granted, we're not just a safe Labor seat,'' Mr Rattenbury said.

"This Senate seat is winnable. I have been campaigning with the Greens since 1992 and this is the biggest, most professional, most organised campaign there has been.''

25 comments

  • Are Simon Sheikh's candidate signs he has littered from Monash to Gunghalin legal?

    Commenter
    Sharron
    Location
    Canberra
    Date and time
    August 12, 2013, 8:26AM
    • Just as legal as the signs the Liberals littered Canberra with during the 2012 ACT election.

      Commenter
      Pippa
      Date and time
      August 12, 2013, 8:55AM
    • Yes, unlike many of the ACT Liberals' signs at the 2012 ACT election, Simon Sheik's signs comply with the ACT Code of Practice for the Placement of Moveable Signs in Public Places which can be viewed on the TAMS website.

      Commenter
      Canberran
      Date and time
      August 12, 2013, 11:34AM
    • Thank you Canberran.

      Commenter
      Sharron
      Location
      Canberra
      Date and time
      August 12, 2013, 11:55AM
    • My concern is not where the signs are placed but the fact the are on WOODEN stakes and printed on corrugated PLASTIC so essentially a tree was cut down to make the stakes to put up the plastic signs that will take 1000's of years to break down after a months use. Just goes to show how credible the Greens really are!

      Commenter
      Milo11
      Location
      ACT
      Date and time
      August 12, 2013, 12:05PM
    • Who says the signs are going to landfil? For all we know they will be shredded and recycled same too with the stakes.

      Commenter
      Jimmy
      Date and time
      August 12, 2013, 3:09PM
  • Remember well good voters, a GREEN is only Green on the outside, vote at your peril.

    Commenter
    OLD DOG
    Date and time
    August 12, 2013, 9:32AM
    • What does that even mean?

      Voting Green cause the two old parties have had their chance in Canberra and not really done much for us. Both Lib and Lab just offer boring cookie cutter politico hacks who really bring nothing new to the table. Simon has a really interesting background and I think is more likely to shake up things in the Senate than that liar Zed.

      Commenter
      Gus da bloke
      Date and time
      August 12, 2013, 10:02AM
    • What OLD DOG means is they are "watermelons" - green on the outside, ( communist ) Red on the inside. The "green" name shouldnt be used...

      Canberra was just as well run by the NCA.

      Commenter
      Realist
      Date and time
      August 12, 2013, 10:19AM
    • Nonsense! This is the same tired old scare-mongering anti-Greens propaganda the right has been falling back on for years.
      I'm 71 years of age, care deeply about social justice, peace, democracy and the environment and am anti-communist. I am also a Green. Hardly a "watermelon". Get over it, OLD DOG. This is the Greens' century.

      Commenter
      Green
      Location
      Canberra
      Date and time
      August 12, 2013, 11:52AM

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