Zed Seselja. Photo: Katherine Griffiths
Zed Seselja has sought to mobilise more public support for his bid to win the ACT Senate nomination for the Canberra Liberals.
ACT Liberals MLAs backed their former leader on Tuesday as the party’s number one Senate candidate and in a letter to the party’s membership called upon preselectors to do the same in Saturday’s vote.
The ACT division’s former president Winnifred Rosser has also written to members urging them to vote for Mr Seselja over incumbent Senator Gary Humphries.
Canberra Liberals leader Jeremy Hanson. Photo: Katherine Griffiths
“While I respect the work that Gary Humphries has done over many years for the Liberal Party both as Chief Minister and Senator, I am now urging members to support Zed Seselja as the number on Liberal Senate candidate,” Ms Rosser wrote.
“I believe Zed has the drive, the energy, the capacity and the track record to deliver the best possible result for the Liberal Party in the ACT at a federal level.”
Ms Rosser said Mr Seselja had united and “rebuilt” the party as Opposition leader and had led the party to its greatest number of seats in the Assembly at last year’s territory election.
Mr Seselja’s Assembly collegaues wrote that their former leader “had the runs on the board to be an effective advocate in the Senate for the Liberals and the ACT.”
As internal feuding over the party’s management of the preselection process continued on Tuesday, new Opposition Leader Jeremy Hanson described the preselection as “democracy in action”.
“I think these preselections are difficult,” Mr Hanson said.
“You’ve got democracy in action here.
“You’ve got two candidates.
“But I’m very confident that once we have a result on Saturday that the whole party will unite behind that candidate and take on our real combatants, the Labor Party and the Greens.”
Mr Seselja welcomed the support of his Liberals Assembly colleagues.
“I think it’s a very rare thing for a party room to have a unanimous view on something like this,” he said.
“These things are contentious, there will always be differing views within political parties on these issues.
“But to have the entire parliamentary party, many of whom I have worked very closely with over the last few years, it’s a great honour and I’m certainly humbled by it.”
The former leader said the ongoing public commentary about the preselection had been “unhelpful”.
“There are some people who are determined to play these things out in the paper, particularly the behind the scenes details,” he said.
“I think we’ve got a process, it’s a good process.
“I’m not going to be making comments that are in any way destructive to my opponents or the political party of which I’m proud to be a member.’’