ACT News

License article

Humphries' anger burns on but no challenge likely

Dumped Liberal Gary Humphries says he remains angry about the process used to replace him for the Senate race but will not contest any further preselection process.

He said he was no longer on friendly terms with his former protégé, Zed Seselja, who won Saturday's preselection ballot to be the Liberals' main candidate for the ACT Senate elections.

Senator Humphries said on Monday he believed the result would have been different if so many of his supporters had not been denied the vote.

Former Senator Margaret Reid was among the long-time party members told they could not vote.

Mr Seselja said he would resign as a member of the Legislative Assembly before the "election period" begins for the federal poll in September.

He dismisses as a "disaffected rump" forces within the Liberal party who have launched action which could lead to his preselection victory being overturned.


However Senator Humphries said the preselection process was very badly flawed.

"Flawed or not, the party has spoken and it's time for me to move on ... my role of the dice was on Saturday," he told the ABC.

"I was angry that I thought there were things very seriously wrong with the preselection process.

"On Saturday itself a large number of people arrived to vote having been informed that they were preselectors, and were told without any warning that they weren’t preselectors.

"People who'd been members of the party for accumulatively centuries - centuries of party membership was knocked back through that process, I don’t understand why."

Senator Humphries said he would not run for the federal election in any form including as the Liberals' number two Senate candidate.

"Having me at number two on the ticket presents a distraction for our number one candidate," he said.

"I think it wouldn’t be appropriate to have a retiring senator as number two.

"There's too much danger that people would decide to reorganise the ticket as they saw fit and that's obviously not helpful in getting a message across to the party voters that we want them to vote in a certain order."

Senator Humphries said he would be prepared to campaign for the Liberals' candidates in lower house seats in the ACT.

He said Opposition Leader Tony Abbott had commiserated with him about his dumping.

The federal leader said despite concerns about the process, he accepted the outcome of the vote.

“There’ve been some arguments over whether the operation of the rules allowed everyone to vote in the preselection who would’ve like to have voted," Mr Abbott said.

“I accept the democratic outcome. I’ve got to say I’m very disappointed for Gary, who’s been a terrific contributor to our front bench. He will remain on our front bench until the election."

Mr Abbott would not comment on any potential challenge to the result, and instead said the focus should be on the upcoming election.

"I always think it’s best if the members of the party are focussed on campaigning," Mr Abbott said.

Mr Seselja said it would be up to Senator Humphries to decide how to be involved in campaigning.

Asked about Chief Minister Katy Gallagher's call for him to quit the Legislative Assembly as soon as possible, he said: "Certainly it will be well before the election period commences."

with staff reporters


Comment are now closed