Retired rugby star David Pocock's announcement of his intention to run as an independent for the ACT's second Senate seat in 2022 will be met with mixed reactions by the best educated, highest paid and most politically savvy voters of any jurisdiction in the country.
While, on the one hand, Mr Pocock is a local and national sporting champion, his profile does not automatically guarantee he would carry the day. Canberrans are less likely to be swayed by a celebrity candidate than voters almost anywhere else.
There is also the risk that with two independents and one Greens candidate all trying to unseat the very polarising senator Seselja they may trip each other up, allowing the incumbent to Bradbury his way into second place - and back to the Senate - yet again.
While Mr Pocock's campaign is as short on policy as it is on funding, what he has said appears to put him firmly in the Labor and Greens camps. He is for a First Nations' Voice to Parliament, for territory rights, for a Federal ICAC and for climate action.
When asked about his thoughts on climate action during an interview on Friday Mr Pocock's answer was familiar: "We've got to reframe climate action as the economic opportunity it is - it's no longer a cost, the cost is not acting". Chris Bowen could not have said it better.
Mr Pocock's history of environmental activism, including his arrest in 2014 for chaining himself to a digger at a coal mine protest, will also appeal to Greens supporters. What it won't do is to win the hearts and minds of the voters he really needs.
The only way to unseat senator Seselja is to steal some of his base; that 30 and a bit per cent of Canberrans who have historically voted Liberal. Canberra has returned a Labor and a Liberal senator at every election since 1975. That is not going to be easy to change.
At this point the candidate who may have the best hope of clawing some votes off the conservative Liberal senator, who has been strongly criticised for opposing territory rights, is Professor Kim Rubenstein, the respected academic and public policy expert who announced her intention to stand for an ACT Senate seat on August 21.
Professor Rubenstein and Mr Pocock have both said they have had or are having discussions with the Simon Holmes a Court-backed Climate 200.
What is happening in the ACT is an interesting microcosm of the emergence of what Professor John Warhurst has described as "credible independent candidates" targeting LNP MPs across the country.
While he, and others, have called this a watershed moment and likened it to the formation of the Australian Democrats or the Greens, it remains to be seen if a sea change in how Australian's cast their votes is about to take place.
What we do know is that more and more voters are becoming disenchanted with the major political parties and perceived corruption and self-interest in politics generally.
Both the LNP and the ALP are aware of this and, especially in the case of the Coalition, are running scared. This is why the Liberals dropped their voter identification bill in order to get the ALP on board for tightened political donation laws during the last sitting of Parliament.
While it is unlikely that we are looking at the beginning of the end of the era of two-party politics in Australia this emergence of grass roots candidates can only been welcomed. Politics is important and elections do change the country. People need to be involved.
And, even if few or none of the independents do get up, they will have helped bring about reform by exposing existing political establishments to a challenge they don't want or welcome but do need.
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