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Sheikh wins ACT preselection after internal Greens stoush

Date

Chris Johnson

Anna Rose with her husband Simon Sheikh, and Federal Greens leader Christine Milne.

Anna Rose with her husband Simon Sheikh, and Federal Greens leader Christine Milne. Photo: Jeffrey Chan

The Australian Greens believe an ACT Senate seat is winnable for them at the next federal election and that high-profile campaigner Simon Sheikh is the man who can deliver it.

The former director of social issues at lobby group GetUp! was officially endorsed by the Greens on Thursday to represent them in a bid to snatch the seat currently held by the Liberal Party's Gary Humphries.

The preselection contest sparked Greens infighting last month when opponent Kate Hamilton described Mr Sheikh as a ''celebrity candidate''.

But the former GetUp! director won preselection convincingly with three quarters of the vote and Ms Hamilton has now publicly thrown her support behind him.

Mr Sheikh, who recently joined the Greens and moved to Canberra, said his campaign would begin immediately and he was confident of engaging well with the local community.

But Senator Humphries said the Greens were ''out of touch with reality'' and had chosen a blow-in to campaign in the ACT.

''To the Greens, Canberra is just another notch in the belt,'' Senator Humphries said.

''By preselecting someone who has lived here for a month and a bit, the Greens have shown just how out of touch they are when it comes to the real issues facing Canberra households and businesses.

''The Greens will again throw resources, money and a parachuted candidate into the ACT campaign to attempt to clock up another seat in Federal Parliament.''

But Mr Sheikh said he had been involved in many issues-based campaigns in Canberra aimed at improving the lives of local people.

His many visits to the capital, he said, caused him to fall in love with the ACT. He said as soon as he left GetUp! in July, he and his wife, Anna Rose, decided Canberra was the ideal place to raise a family.

''I'm looking forward to spending the weeks leading up to Christmas continuing to support and engage with the diverse and vibrant communities in Canberra,'' Mr Sheikh said.

''I've been overwhelmed by offers of support and am grateful for the positive response of the ACT community. We'll begin doorknocking this weekend and continuing our presence at community events.

''While many politicians who represent Canberra in Federal Parliament do so by toeing the party line, I'll do it by running community campaigns, just like I've always done.''

Mr Sheikh said he would be campaigning hard to highlight the ''terrifying prospect'' of public service job cuts Canberra could face if Opposition Leader Tony Abbott won government.

Greens leader Christine Milne welcomed Mr Sheikh's candidacy, insisting that he could win the Senate seat.

''The ACT is going to make history here in the federal election,'' she said. ''Fifteen hundred people in Canberra have to change their vote and we will get an Australian Greens senator.''

31 comments

  • No thanks!!

    Commenter
    makingmatter
    Date and time
    December 06, 2012, 10:44AM
    • Ah well. You probably won't voting Green anyway - just needed to get that out there, did we?

      Commenter
      Xavier
      Location
      Dickson
      Date and time
      December 06, 2012, 11:23AM
    • No thanks. Yes I just wanted to get that out there. Not that the greens will care what the people of Canberra want anyway. They will probably again want to "suspend democracy" when this ring in is rightfully rejected by the people of Canberra.

      Commenter
      WotTha?????
      Date and time
      December 06, 2012, 11:36AM
    • @WotTha??
      Pity for you we have no Tea Party extremists to represent your ideals in the Senate. Oh, that's right, we do, the Liberals.

      Commenter
      yumq
      Location
      cbr
      Date and time
      December 06, 2012, 2:33PM
    • you want extremist, try the greens. Oh, you do

      Commenter
      WotTha?????
      Date and time
      December 06, 2012, 4:17PM
    • yumq...The Liberals are so centered compaired to the American Tea Party, your just showing your ignorance, but what would we expect from a Green.

      Commenter
      Watermelon
      Location
      CBD
      Date and time
      December 06, 2012, 8:07PM
    • Whether you like him or not Sheikh has built up a public profile nationally and if he wants to be a Green then deserves to be parachuted into a candidate's spot ahead of a local.

      He seemed to pursue a bit of a radical agenda at GetUp, and it could get worse if he made it into Parliament.

      Another Green in Parliament really doesn't sound like a good idea, it seems to cause paralysis especially in the Senate.

      Commenter
      Hacka
      Location
      Canberra
      Date and time
      December 06, 2012, 10:43PM
  • The parachute opened early and landing was off the mark, but safe. Another Sheikh-down by green head office?

    Commenter
    Old Hand
    Location
    Tally Room
    Date and time
    December 06, 2012, 12:07PM
    • Brilliant, Old Hand. See all Simon had to do was start up an on-line lobby group for Greens causes, con enough subscribers into handing over their cash to run stacks of press ads over a couple of years on a range of issues, gaining a high media profile and a whole lotta networking with Greens heavies, then hey presto, ya get parachuted into a safe Green Senate spot and ya set for life as Senator Sheikh-down. It's called Old Doctor Bob's money spinning business plan. Simple, Simon is not.

      Commenter
      democracy sux sometimes
      Location
      hobart
      Date and time
      December 06, 2012, 12:43PM
  • YAWN.

    Commenter
    NITRO GANGSTER
    Location
    ACT
    Date and time
    December 06, 2012, 12:32PM

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