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Sheikh indifferent to choice of Liberal rival

Greens candidate Simon Sheikh at the National Press club.

Greens candidate Simon Sheikh at the National Press club. Photo: Melissa Adams

The Greens' ACT Senate hopeful for this year's federal election says he has taken no interest in the bitter preselection struggle engulfing the Canberra Liberals.

Former GetUp! activist Simon Sheikh says it makes no difference to him who he faces in the fight for the territory's second seat in the upper house when the nation goes to the polls in September.

The Greens and the Liberals have battled it out for the seat in the past two elections with incumbent Gary Humphries coming out on top both times.

The 10-year Senate veteran is being challenged, for the first time in his upper house career, by former local leader Zed Seselja and the party has descended into an ugly war of words over the management of the preselection process.

But Mr Sheikh said on Tuesday that he had no preference between the two candidates and instead went on the attack against both Liberals.

"I often get asked if I would prefer one candidate over another from the Liberal Party and the answer is, I wouldn't because Gary Humphries couldn't get Tony Abbott to change his breakfast order and Zed Seselja is Tony Abbott-lite," the Greens candidate said.

"The only way to protect Canberra families from Tony Abbott's job cuts is to vote for the Greens."

Asked if he thought the Liberal bloodletting was helping his own chances, Mr Sheikh said the election was a "long way out."

"We're a long way out from the election but presumably that's at the back of their minds," he said.

''We don't take much of an interest in it, our campaign is already up and running. Just tonight [Tuesday], at the Palace Electric Cinema, we're having our first meeting and more people are coming out tonight to commit to volunteering for our campaign than are voting in the Liberal Party preselection.

"The rest of the community are getting on with their everyday lives or with the political campaign they are volunteering with."

Mr Sheikh said 360 potential Greens activists had pledged to attend Tuesday evening's event in Acton with former Greens national leader Bob Brown.

Senator Humphries shot back at the Greens, branding the party "pathetic".

"Today [Greens leader] Christine Milne announced the end of her formal alliance with Julia Gillard but then went on to say that the Greens still guarantee supply and confidence - that's pretty pathetic even by the Greens' standards," he said.

"Let's not forget that the Greens have voted with the Labor Party for budget measures that have seen thousands of public servants lose their jobs. The Greens' crocodile tears aren't washing with voters.''

Mr Sheikh described his party leader's move as the end of the "happy relationship" between the two parties.

"What we've said is that it's the end of any happy relationship," he said. ''In Parliament, we've always stood for our own values and our own policies but we have tried to be friendly in our approach to delivering stable government. From today we will continue to deliver stable government but we will be even stronger advocates because there is such a great difference between the Greens and the Labor Party, and an even greater difference between the Greens and the Liberal Party."

6 comments

  • Of course he says he's indifferent, but he will have some sort of an opinion one way or the other and doesn't want to risk building support for the candidate he thinks will be harder to beat. Rather than being fully honest he is already practising the political art of spin.

    Commenter
    Not surprised
    Location
    Canberra
    Date and time
    February 20, 2013, 7:09AM
    • Hang on a second, didn't the greens just split with Lab because they chose the miners and jobs over the green agenda?
      And now the green candidate for the ACT is claiming the greens are they only way to protect ACT jobs? Why are jobs in Tas not important but in the ACT the are?
      How does that work? Is this just another example of how mixed up and confused the greens really are?

      Commenter
      dhv
      Location
      ACT
      Date and time
      February 20, 2013, 7:28AM
      • I'm terrified of Canberra loosing tens of thousands of jobs if Tony Abbott controls both houses of parliament. Thank god Simon Sheikh, a community campaigner, will stand up for Canberra. That's why I'm not suprised Green's members far outnumber those able to vote in the liberal parties mud slinging preselection.

        Commenter
        Soccerfan
        Date and time
        February 20, 2013, 9:24AM
        • Oh puleeeezzze.... Not that old chestnut again! Soccerfan sounds like a registered member of the Greens, doing his/her best to terrorise ACT Federal public servants! We all know that both sides take a blow torch to Canberra during the early months of a new government with the hope that we forget about it by the time the next election rolls around. Soccerfan shoudl be more 'terrified' by the thought of Sheikh being let loose in the Big House with his wacky Greens agenda.

          Commenter
          Bronte
          Date and time
          February 20, 2013, 1:17PM
        • Well I'm not a member of the Greens but your comments have made me think about it. I'm just speaking to facts about job cuts. And Simon's agenda is one of standing up for communities like he always has so don't known what you're on about Bronte, keen to hear your factual agruments, rather then baseless rhetoric. This is an important election after all. We need to have these discussions

          Commenter
          Soccerfan
          Date and time
          February 20, 2013, 2:52PM
      • Let us examine the watermelons track record for jobs. Fisheries jobs gone with marine parks, rural jobs gone in the murray darling parks, Tasmaina, and the list goes on.
        I suppose Simon will be arguing hardest to save Defence jobs? Police perhaps? Customs? I dare say if it's not related to social welfare or immigration it will be open slather under the greens. Even environment jobs would go as we all know the real agrenda for greens is social engineering not saving the planet.

        Commenter
        David
        Location
        The real world
        Date and time
        February 20, 2013, 6:52PM
        Comments are now closed
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