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Humphries' anger burns on but no challenge likely


Ross Peake

ACT Liberal Party has dumped long-serving Senator Gary Humphries.

ACT Liberal Party has dumped long-serving Senator Gary Humphries. Photo: Jay Cronan

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.

Zed Seselja after voting was completed for the the Liberal Preselection held at the Eastlake Football Club in Griffith.

Zed Seselja after voting was completed for the the Liberal Preselection held at the Eastlake Football Club in Griffith. Photo: Jay Cronan

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


  • ZED lost my vote when he announced he was dumping the voters of Brindabella after only 4 months of being elected to the seat.

    Another Grumpyoldfart
    Date and time
    February 25, 2013, 10:16AM
    • Mr Humphries you are a man with principles and integrity and it is a disgrace that you have been excluded by what is a sham process. I could not bring myself to support your successor and many in the community you represent feel the same way. How could one support a candidate that treats his own in this manner. I shudder to think how I might be treated as a mere constituent and voter. If these ore the type of people he has surrounded himself with then the Canberra Liberals have no future. A very sorry day for Canberra.

      Date and time
      February 25, 2013, 10:29AM
      • Wow...the Libs have faceless men too !

        Peoples Republic of O'Connor
        Date and time
        February 25, 2013, 10:43AM
        • Yes - who'd've thought it? Funny how only people like Shorten and Howes are called faceless men and yet we actually see their faces every day.

          Date and time
          February 25, 2013, 12:34PM
      • I consider this Karma for you Humphries, taking into consideration the dreadful manner in which Senator Margaret Reid was so unceremoniously dumped. Take it on the chin and move on, just like the former good Senator did, and very graciously too if I may add.

        Julie Coker-Godson
        Batemans Bay
        Date and time
        February 25, 2013, 10:46AM
        • Julie, Margaret Reid was not dumped, and Gary Humphries had nothing to do with her leaving the Senate. She retired. Furthermore, Gary was one of EIGHT Liberals who stood for the Senate number one slot at that preselection, and won fair and square.

          Date and time
          February 25, 2013, 11:47AM
      • "Zed Seselja after voting was completed..." (photo) looks so smug and self-satisfied. Can we vote for this guy who engages in back room ambushes against his long-time mentor, abandons his Brindabella constituents and puts himself and his own ambitions ahead of everything else? What is he ever likely to do for the ACT?

        Date and time
        February 25, 2013, 10:52AM
        • He's a politician - what did you expect? A moral ethical stance?

          Date and time
          February 25, 2013, 12:35PM
        • ....back room ambushes? how do you think Julia got in. Anyway Humphries is past his used by date, time for a change and some new thinking - good on ya Zed have a go.

          Date and time
          February 25, 2013, 1:17PM
      • Its a sign of the vicious times ahead.

        Politics is no longer about the electorate but personal gain. Foul underhanded deals, back stabbing, close reading of the rules to exclude contenders and vicious reprisals.

        There is no hope for the electorate.

        Date and time
        February 25, 2013, 11:31AM

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