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'Seselja should leave Assembly': Gallagher

Chief Minister Katy Gallagher says former ACT Opposition leader Zed Seselja should leave the Legislative Assembly as soon as possible after his triumph in the Canberra Liberals Senate preselection at the weekend.

Ms Gallagher called for a "clear exit strategy" on Monday from the Liberals MLA and said Mr Seselja should not continue to draw an MLA's wage while campaigning for the Senate.

But Mr Seselja said he did not have a date for his departure from the Assembly and would stay on as long as he could contribute and as long as new leader Jeremy Hanson wanted him on the Opposition's front bench.

The former Opposition leader defeated incumbent Liberal Senator Gary Humphries 114 votes to 84 in the party's preselection on Saturday.

Ms Gallagher said it was now time for Mr Seselja to move on.

"I think if you look at this from a moral point of view, we've got an MLA who has made a very public and very clear declaration that he doesn't want to be an MLA," she said.

"He doesn't want to be a Member for Brindabella anymore.

"My own view is he shouldn't sit in the Assembly and take up a seat in the Assembly."

The Chief Minister said Mr Seselja should not continue to draw an MLA's wage when his priority was to be elected to the Senate.

"He's said that in every interview, he's going to be door knocking, he's going to be campaigning, he's going to be running grassroots campaign strategies," she said.

"They take time and I don't think it's again fair or reasonable for the people of Canberra to believe that he will be doing that in all the time that he's not an MLA."

But Mr Seselja said he would stay on as long as he could serve the people of Brindabella.

"That's obviously a completely new standard that Katy Gallagher's trying to set," he said.

"For as long as I'm serving the people of Brindabella and doing my job and my leader here wants me to continue to serve on his front bench, then for as long as I can make a contribution I will and I'll work hard in that particular role."

The former Opposition Leader, who said he was staying on the Opposition front bench at Mr Hanson's request, denied that campaigning for the Senate would interfere with his job as an MLA.

"I certainly won't be using any Assembly resources for campaigning," he said.

"What I will be doing is serving the community as an MLA, as people would expect me to, and for as long as I'm here and I can make a contribution I will do that.

"There will be a significant period of time before the election where I will no longer be serving in that capacity."

Mr Seselja said he did not have a date for his exit from the Assembly, but it would be "well before the election" and before the campaign proper began in August.

But Ms Gallagher accused Mr Seselja of waiting for a personally "convenient" time to leave.

"I don't think there's any reason for him to use the excuse that he's got something to contribute here, that his skills can't be matched or met by a new Member for Brindabella coming into the Assembly," she said.

10 comments so far

  • Katy needs to wake up to herself. He's not campaigning. It was a PRE-SELECTION. Surely even you she can understand the difference? Maybe it she got on with trying to do something positive for Canberra people would have a reason to pay attention to what she says.

    Date and time
    February 25, 2013, 2:01PM
    • Why should he leave? He has a family to support and needs a salary. Would you resign if in the same boat Katie and have no money coming in for the next 7 months? Very doubtful. Don't dwell on this, go and do your job and sort out the hospitals.

      ex Labor supporter
      Date and time
      February 25, 2013, 2:15PM
      • Because, quite obviously his focus is not going to be on local issues now he's had a taste of the power of potentially becoming a federal MP. Anyone that thinks this wasn't an ego driven lust for success after failing to win government locally needs to wake up. This is typical Liberal party win at all costs, to hell with the fallout, politics. Fortunately I won't have to have the ethical dilemma of wanting to vote Liberal at the federal election but having to vote for Zed.

        Date and time
        February 25, 2013, 2:39PM
    • Of course he should leave. As a Brindabella constituent I hope he loses the seat in the election.

      Money man
      Date and time
      February 25, 2013, 3:38PM
      • why should ACT ratepayers subsidise Zed's campaign for the senate? he should resign now and let someone who wants to be an MLA get to work.

        Date and time
        February 25, 2013, 3:38PM
        • Typical Zed, focussing only on his own self-interest and convenience. He's made it clear he's not interested in being an MLA or representing the people of Brindabella. He's got a law degree and has PS experience. There are plenty of jobs he could get outside the Assembly. He should move on asap instead of sponging on ACT taxpayers.

          Date and time
          February 25, 2013, 4:01PM
          • Money Man, Alum & Trish, in a word CORRECT, this is a man that has accomplished absolutely nothing in his political career.
            Sadly where I am it is the other way about, we are stuck with the parachuted academic.

            MIKE the HAMMER
            Date and time
            February 25, 2013, 6:02PM
        • Certainly not inspirational politics. Expect we will see more of this (another poor example of process was nomination of NT senate candidate Nova Peris).

          Date and time
          February 25, 2013, 4:44PM
          • He should leave. I think it is a massive conflict of interest. There is no way he can commit the time needed to a campaign and do his job as an MLA. When he does a press interview, is he doing it as an MLA or as a federal senator elect?? I think the lines are blurred and he needs to make a decision.

            Leave now
            Date and time
            February 25, 2013, 5:03PM
            • Zed might want to read Section 44(iv) of the Constitution before thinking he can continue in the ACT Assembly

              Date and time
              February 25, 2013, 5:22PM

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