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Who will win the second ACT Senate spot?

Liberal candidate Zed Seselja.

Liberal candidate Zed Seselja. Photo: Rohan Thomson

For ACT voters, there's only one game in town – who will win the second Senate spot?

The territory is allocated two places in the upper house, whereas the six states have 12 Senators each, regardless of population.

Canberra's population of about 380,000 is represented by two Senators and Tasmania's population of about 512,000 by 12 Senators. Go figure.

Greens candidate Simon Sheikh.

Greens candidate Simon Sheikh. Photo: Rohan Thomson

Is that fair? Hardly. And the result? The voters in Tasmania have the greatest influence of any state of the composition of the Senate.

But we digress.

In Canberra, Labor's Kate Lundy is a shoe-in for the Senate.

At the 2010 election, Labor's ACT Senate team led by Senator Lundy scored around 93,000 votes, with 76,000 for the Liberals led by then Senator Gary Humphries and 52,000 for the Greens led by Lin Hatfield Dodds.

With two Senate spots on offer, the quota for a win was set at one third of the votes, 76,423.

Lundy and Humphries were elected.

This year Zed Seselja won a preselection ballot to become the Liberal's Senate candidate, ending Mr Humphries' decade-long career in the Senate.

Mr Seselja ran a high profile campaign last year for the ACT Legislative Assembly when he was ACT Opposition Leader.

For this election, therefore, he already has much-needed name recognition.

But wait. In case you've been overseas, the Greens are running a high-intensity campaign, led by Simon Sheikh, former front man for activist group GetUp.

He has followed Mr Seselja's example from last year, with a proliferation of signs on road sides.

The Greens are campaigning hard on their desire to "Abbott proof" the Senate.

Running in their favour are the Coalition's late cuts to foreign aid and the decision to increase the so-called efficiency dividend on the public service, in addition to the 12,000 positions to be abolished nationwide through natural attrition.

Going against the Greens are the core support for the Liberal party in the ACT and the nationwide swing to the Coalition.

Both the Liberals and the Greens say it will be a close race, but they would say that, wouldn’t they?

We won't know the result until later tonight because the votes for the ACT's two lower house seats are counted first and phoned in from polling booths around Canberra.

Then, Australian Electoral Commission officials will tally up the two-candidate-preferred vote in each polling station after the distribution of preferences.

Only then will they turn to counting the Senate vote.

The Canberra Times will publish results from the crucial Senate race as soon as possible.

However, if you voted before today, your vote won't be counted tonight, a curious situation that may be rectified for future elections.

On the bright side, the ballot paper handed to you for the ACT Senate was not as long and cumbersome as that given to NSW voters.

7 comments so far

  • On the last point - surely it is time to move to a partial preferential system. It is silly to ask us to either vote above the line, for 20-100 random candidates after we have exhausted our true preferences, or accept being disenfranchised.

    Date and time
    September 07, 2013, 5:10PM
    • Please, please, make it Seselja. The time for green radicalism is OVER!

      Mr Gillespie
      Date and time
      September 07, 2013, 5:57PM
      • Sooo.... Zed's filthy cynical overthrow of a perfectly good bloke for his own greed and self service counts for zilch. reap what u sow, my friend.

        Date and time
        September 07, 2013, 7:18PM
    • Only 27 choices in the ACT Senate - hardly onerous but the battle was one for who got 27th.

      Outraged of Palmerston
      Date and time
      September 07, 2013, 6:08PM
      • Not true, Nick. Rules say "up to 3 sequencing errors below the line R fine, and that you only have to number 1 through 9 for your vote to be valid - see yesterday's CT - the truthmeter...

        Date and time
        September 07, 2013, 6:19PM
        • Please, please, make it Seselja. . . . not for me . .

          Date and time
          September 07, 2013, 8:14PM
          • The one thing that really annoyed me when I went to vote was the fact that I couldn't put Zed last on the ballot paper - I just had to put Rise up Australia last. I am not a liberal voter but I do think Gary Humphries was a good senator for the ACT and the way he was treated by ZS was absolutely disgusting. Funnily enough, I wasn't the only person who did the same. I have a small business and there are a lot of people out there who don;t like what happened. I believe Zed will suffer for it, and I hope after early votes are counted, he loses the senate seat. He deserves it for his actions. He is a nasty piece of work.

            Date and time
            September 08, 2013, 10:57AM

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